St Kitts PM standing firm
BELMOPAN – Prime Minister Dean Barrow has defended his decision to cut short his visit to St Kitts and Nevis where he had been attending the inauguration of the head of the Caribbean Court of Justice, Sir Dennis Byron, in order to hold talks with rival gangs.
Barrow led a high level team that included Minister of Police Doug Singh and Brigadier General Dario Tapia to the talks on Friday.
“Well the meeting came about after I spoke to the Minister of Police from abroad when I learnt that there had been the threat issued on the media and when I learnt from the Minister that there was information to suggest that the threat was real,” Barrow told reporters following the talks.
“I felt that it necessitated me coming back to Belize and cutting short the mission I was on in St Kitts.
The minister agreed; he put together the logistics of the meeting, extended the invitation to the gang leaders.
The primary purpose was to diffuse the situation in terms of the threat that had been issued.”
Barrow said that while one of the gangs had given an undertaking “it was nevertheless necessary to confirm that undertaking in today’s meeting and to go beyond that”.
He confirmed that meeting had been held with the rival gangs.
“We agreed with both sides that there is a need for a face to face dialogue and all parties meeting with government – of course with the state acting as facilitator and that will take place today.
“The idea is to try and forge some kind of a truce and that was made clear to both sides – both sides expressed that willingness to talk about exactly that objective. Whether we will actually be successful coming out of that meeting on Sunday [today] is another matter, but given where we are, it is certainly worth the effort and I certainly am absolutely committed to investing my time in the process to try and achieve the outcome that we all desire,” Prime Minister Barrow added.
The government had undertaken a similar initiative in January last year and Prime Minister Barrow said it was important for there to be peace in the country. (CMC)