Gangsters march for peace—but where next?

gangsters march

Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams

PRAYER ALERT on gangsters march. Sixty gangsters from 14 different gangs met in Belize City on April 12—but not for a showdown. Amazed onlookers watched the gangsters march for peace from Raccoon Street to Central American Boulevard and then down Cemetery Road. They had removed their gang colors and wore T-shirts saying “Walk for peace, we are humans.” They had agreed with Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams to march together with a full police escort. ACP Williams said, “They want the madness to stop.”

Belize City is one of the most dangerous cities of its size in the world. The murder rate has already risen so high this year that even the gang leaders can bear it no longer. Ellis Meighan, leader of Ghost Town Crips, said, “We’re tired of seeing men go down and innocent people getting shot… We want keep the peace and bring no more killing into the street.

One of his rivals, Brandon “Battery” Smith, leader of PIV Bloods, said he and Ellis “just reasoned about what was going on.” They agreed they “want to see what’s better for Belize and the youths.” South Side Gangsters leader Alex Underwood said, “I’m trying to make a difference in life and work with [ACP] Williams to ease down on the violence.”

Former gang member Deshawn “Jawhi” Morris acted as mediator. He called the gangsters march for peace “a great first start to show the community that people that normally cannot coexist are able to even walk together. That’s a great first step.”

But gang leaders give most of the credit to ACP Chester Williams. They praise him for persistently reaching out and bringing them together. Yet the police department has reassigned Williams to Belmopan, and put Marco Vidal in his place. Will that mean that this gang truce will collapse as it did in September 2011? Gang leaders fear that their new relationship with Belize’s police force will change, considering its widespread reputation for brutality. We must pray believing that God will show the way out of this vicious cycle of gang violence and police oppression

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DailyInsight. Anger over one hurt can produce more hurt and anger in vicious cycles. Cry out mercy instead of revenge (See 1 Sam. 20:30-33).

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