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Sep 27, 2017

Students Lead Lunchtime Protest in Belize City

On the streets of the Old Capital, temperatures are rising among the younger population, which is demanding answers and action on the mysterious disappearance of one of their own. At midday today, a group of students took to the streets in protest of the way the authorities have been handling the incident. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

In the oppressive midday heat earlier today, schoolmates, as well as family and friends of seventeen-year-old Kelvin Usher, took to Belcan Bridge to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the Belize Police Department.  Kelvin has been missing since Sunday when a team of officers attached to the Gang Suppression Unit descended on a marijuana plantation in northern Belize District.  Along with his father, Cameron Usher Sr., the teenager reportedly came under gunfire when GSU personnel stormed the weed field.  Despite a massive search party being deployed into the vicinity of Lucky Strike, the sixth form student remains unaccounted for.

 

Student, SJC Sixth Form

“Kelvin is a very humble young man and for him to be gone just like that, it doesn’t make any sense.  The story that we are getting, it’s absurd and I personally don’t believe it, but like, at the end of the day, none of us were there and so this is why are out here to try and see what answers we can get from the police force.”

 

Regrettably, that arm of law enforcement has been rather quiet in the wake of Kelvin’s unexplained disappearance, adding only to the mystique of what may have transpired in that rural community over the weekend.  His colleagues at Saint John’s College are demanding answers.

 

Student, SJC Sixth Form

“As a young person I feel like we deserve the answers that we are looking for because, yes he’s our friend, and my main concern is if this happened to me I want to know what my people would do, my friends would do, my school would do.  Everyone is out here in solidarity, searching and looking for Kelvin because yes, he’s everyone’s friend and he’s a very humble person but what we are out here for is searching for answers because that’s really what all of us want.  We want to what happened, what will happen and what progresses after this protest.”

 

Kelvin Usher

What happens next, as it relates to the investigation or the search and rescue effort, is anyone’s guess.  With each passing moment, the glimmer of hope that Kelvin would be found alive and in good health continues to fade.

 

Isani Cayetano

“As a friend of Kelvin’s, what is your gut feeling at this point in time?  It’s been over forty-eight hours since his disappearance, what is your inner self telling you?”

 

Protestor 1

“I really don’t want to answer that.  I don’t want to answer that.”

 

Protestor 2

“Well, we are just trying to stay hopeful that he is alive and we are not trying to have any doubtful thoughts in our head because that is what will let us lose faith and we are just trying to stay hopeful.”

 

At a little after twelve o’clock, there were approximately fifty students gathered at the foot of the Belcan Bridge.  The peaceful assembly was visibly overseen by a swarm of police officers, both in uniform and plain clothes.  The students, however, would not be deterred.

 

Student, SJC Sixth Form

“We just wanted to show our support as Kelvin is our friend and I guess everyone is fed up of all the corruption that is happening in our government and that is going on within the police department.  And we as young people need to come out and unite as one because if we don’t start with a change then no one will.”

 

And those young people are getting support from and are being encouraged by others in the community.  Jason Jones skipped lunch to join in the chorus for answers from the Belize Police Department.

 

Jason Jones

Jason Jones, Protestor

“I’m out here supporting both parents, I know them very well from I was a young person, so I’m just out here supporting them because I don’t really like what happened.  I think at the end of the day we must let these people be held accountable for what took place.  We need the government to step up and deal with this situation because at the end of the day we don’t want this thing to get bigger than what it is already.  The students are out here, they are the future of us Belizeans, so let us support them.  I expect that Belizeans will be coming out and supporting them more and more and if I were in that shoe and it was my child, I would have wanted the same support from my people of Belize.”

 

By two o’clock this afternoon, the procession had made its way to the Queen Street Precinct where students continued their cry for answers from the Belize Police Department. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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