Sunday, September 21, 2008

Making Use of Ross Kemp

Considering the argument that I am about to pursue, I find it necessary to begin with a minor disclaimer: all the uproar and widespread displeasure over Ross Kemp's overblown assessment of gang warfare in Belize was completely justified and within proper context.  Belize is not a little Baghdad, where grenades are hurled on a daily basis, nor is it a place where gangs reside on every street.  Of course, if one were to journey along select areas of the south side of Belize City, which is what Ross Kemp did, it would certainly appear to be the case.  But what Mr. Kemp did was to travel to the most afflicted areas and make a generalization about the entire country.  If one didn't know any better, one would think that the gang problem in Belize extends to Corozal, Orange Walk, Dangriga, and Punta Gorda.  From my 'layman's perspective,' I don't believe this is the case, nor does it come close to an accurate portrayal of crime in Belize.    

On the other hand, above the cloud of animosity, I believe there exists immense value in Ross Kemp's affinity for sensationalism.  First, while gang warfare does not afflict every neighborhood in the country, we cannot deny that it is a major issue in some areas of the country, primarily the south side of Belize City.  But we knew this right?  We surely didn't need some outsider who probably spent less than a month in the country to tell us this.  So how does his documentary benefit us? It shows us what will happen if we don't implement effective measures to mitigate the crime problem.  I could easily envision that if we continue to take baby steps in efforts to combat crime, Belize could indeed end up exactly how it was portrayed by Kemp. However, we are not at that point just yet.  There is still time to make progress before the situation spins out of control.  I believe that our police force is making some progress, and I can only hope that they continue to do so.  While I can offer no legitimate solutions, I believe that continued dialogue amongst all sectors of our society can, and will, produce tangible progress.  

So, Mr. Kemp, while we Belizeans don't appreciate your unfair assessment, we will work to prove you wrong.    Happy Independence Day :)  


The Voice said...

This entry brought a smile to my face. Happy Independence Day to you too.

Monique said...

thanks for this glad you see it the way i do....i had to post it up on facebook as well so everyone could have a
look at it..
Happy Independence to you too!

Anonymous said...

Well said.. however i don't think law enforcement is doing enough. These are desperate times and require measures that are firm, swift and effective.

Another blog i follow (Unbelievable Belize) mentioned that all the police seem to be doing are press conferences. I don't see a solid plan to address the crime issues nor do I see some implementation to better educate our police offers in the area of collecting evidence. What i do see are very lovely vehicles that last few months before dented, crashed etc... It just seems that with the resources that are thrown at the police, they don't seem to be doing much with it.

Is there a gang unit in the police department, trained to know about gang activities and individuals? I truly don't know but would hope so. I would like to see a press conference that shows me a real plan from the police. Not one that has rhetoric about putting more men on the streets. Then show me how effective it has been with the arrests and subsequent convictions of individuals in gangs. Unfortunately, what i do get is more news about police officers being arrested for having marijuana and cocaine.