Remember when Prime Minister Dean Barrow said that he would dispatch 15 high energy gang members to rural areas? And remember when we told you that at least five of them were coming to Orange Walk Town? Well, he wasn’t lying – he did send them. And we weren’t lying – except that they’re not coming to your neighbourhood…they’re already here. CTV-3 has received reliable reports that the ‘high-energy’ gang members the Prime Minister promised us are currently residing at the San Lorenzo Housing Site. Residents are, to say the least, concerned and the San Lorenzo Neighbourhood Watch committee has called a meeting for this Sunday to discuss this and other issues. Today we spoke to both the Mayor of Orange Walk Town and the Orange Walk Area Central Representative and asked them if they had been informed about these high energy additions to our community.

johnJohn Briceno – OW Central Area Representative

“No I was not informed and had absolutely no idea that these five high energy gang members would have been coming in Orange Walk Central and in San Lorenzo Housing Site. Now I must tell you that I am one that always believes that we should give every Belizean a second opportunity and if that is what the Prime Minister wants to do then we should support him but I am not sure that the way it is being handled is the right way. To bring these Belizeans into a new environment where they know no one have absolutely no support I am not sure that it would work. I think that the residents in San Lorenzo Housing Site have all the reason to be concerned they were not informed and then you start to hear all sorts of rumors. So as the Area Representative I will and I have to listen t the concerns of the residents of Orange Walk Central.”

Phillip de la Fuente – Mayor, OW Town

“I had heard that five of the members would be coming to Orange Walk but I have to say we were not consulted whether we would like it or not we were informed that they would be coming. Yes I am a little concerned because now we have some gang members in our community and we might not know how to deal with them, we don’t know them, we don’t know who they are and it is a concern for the community of Orange Walk.”

Both representatives say that they will be at the meeting, which promises to be interesting, to say the least.

Phillip de la Fuente – Mayor, OW Town

“I will be attending the meeting, no doubt about it; also I hope to hear from the Social Development Office who is in charge of the project of bringing the guys down and overseeing them. Like I said the Orange Walk Town Council does not know the details about the relocation of the gang members so I also will be attending the meeting to get some information.”

John Briceno – OW Central Area Representative

“Well certainly I did receive an invitation from the resident of the area where they are expressing their concerns and that they have invited the Mayor and other officials including the Deputy Prime Minster and as the Area Representative I will be there. I am hoping that in particular the Deputy Prime Minister will be able to answer the concerns of the resident of the area. The whole issue of safety, safety is major issue crime continues to escalate in this country and it almost seems as if the Prime Minister is cynically trying to remove his problem from his backyard and put it into another backyard and in the backyard of the people in Orange Walk Town. I am hoping that the Deputy Prime Minister will have some reasonable answers the will allay the fears and the concerns of not only the residents of San Lorenzo Housing Site but all the residents of Orange Walk Town.”

Reports to us indicate that invitations to the meeting have also been issued to stakeholders in the community, the Officer Commanding the Police Department, UDP Orange Walk East Area Representative Marcel Cardona and others. While Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega has been invited, we’re predicting that he will find some excuse to not be there.

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