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Oct 13, 2017

Taximan and Activist Albert Cattouse Gunned Down – Was It a Hit?

Albert Cattouse

Around seven-thirty on Thursday night, shots rang out in the vicinity of Dolphin Street near the rear of Roger’s Stadium. A well-known taxi driver and activist had been gunned down in cold blood. Seventy-two-year-old Albert Anthony Cattouse was driving his Lincoln Town Car on Hicatee Street when he was targeted by a gunman. The bullet caught him in the head and he died instantly inside his taxi, which came to a stop inside the drain. The activism community is up in arms because Cattouse, who was very vocal, recently participated in the high gas price protest last week. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Albert Cattouse, Activist [File: October 5th, 2017]

“This movement today about gas prices: this hadn’t just started; me and Moses Sulph started this at least about ten years ago. This isn’t something that’s new – we started this gas thing under the previous government because the gas was too high, we thought it was too high…”

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

A taxi operator and an activist; although Albert Cattouse was known for his convictions, his willingness to speak out for social justice and to stand in solidarity with COLA against that which is believed morally or legally wrong, never would anyone have expected that the seventy-two-year-old would have been gunned down while on the job. Around seven-thirty on Thursday night, Cat – as he was affectionately known – was driving on Hicatee Street, heading from West Collet Canal towards Dolphin Street when several shots rang out. He was hit to the head; his vehicle came to a stop inside the drain behind the Roger’s Stadium, with the headlights on and engine running. Bernadette Cattouse Coleman, whom he treated like his daughter, believes he was lured from his Lord’s Bank home to his death.

 

Bernadette Cattouse Coleman

Bernadette Cattouse Coleman, Niece of Murder Victim

“They said there was a taxi driver that got killed by Roger’s Stadium and whenever they say taxi driver, my mind goes to my uncle and so I went to Facebook because they put everything on Facebook, and I saw the vehicle.  When I saw the vehicle, I didn’t real his vehicle cause the headlights was on blocking the body. When the car door opened, it was the color of his car. So I said, [bleep] that looks like his car. So then I called his phone; normally when I call him, he answers right away. So I call his phone, seven times and all calls went to voice mail. Some lady by the name of Carol—I don’t know her last name—that’s neighbor to my uncle, because he lives in Lord’s Bank. She saw him coming down to the city at six-thirty in the evening and that is not something that he does normally; he was coming down six-thirty in the evening so obviously it seems like he got a phone call for a job. And where the thing happen, my uncle would never go back there at that time of the night. So he actually got a call and they lured him to his death.”

 

The family believes that the murder of ‘Mister Cat’ was a hit. This theory is supported by the fact that he was not robbed of any of his personal belongings, including his cell phone, wallet with money or the vehicle. Several reports say that two persons on a motorcycle carried out the crime.

 

Bernadette Cattouse Coleman

“Everything was there. So he got shot; they found one shell in the vehicle, he got shot behind his head, but then there is a hole here also. So we had to go to the hospital and they had him out here in the back of the vehicle and I looked and it was him. We spoke to the investigating officer there and he says that he things it is two shots because there is a bullet hole on his side and there is a bullet hole on the side view mirror on the other side. My uncle was the sweetest person, he was boisterous, he was loud; he speaks his mind and he speaks as he see it. He is an activist; he’s always like that. I even used to tease him and say uncle I saw you on news up front and person, you are going to get hurt. I actually teased him like that, not knowing that this day would come that I would have to see my uncle in the back of a truck.”

 

Geovannie Brackett, President, COLA

“When I heard that nothing was stolen from him, I think it is the conclusion of all of us in the activist community and family that this was a hit. Where the hit came from, now, we are going to search that out. And it just shows that we live in a very violent and lawless society.”

 

Cattouse was killed three days before his seventy-third birthday on October fifteenth. In his thirty plus years as a taxi driver stationed on the perimeter of the Battlefield Park in downtown Albert Street, he was known for his tenaciousness, specifically as it relates to social justice; our records show Cattouse speaking out from early nineties. But exactly one week before his murder, Cattouse joined the Belize Leaders for Social Justice and COLA in a demonstration over high gas prices. BLSJ defines him as a human rights defender.

 

Albert Cattouse [File: October 5th, 2017]

“The taxi man never did stand up. But the fight we are fighting with Moses Sulph, this dah no just now – dis da over ten years ago we fight this, with Moses Sulph; this is nothing new, people! I want you to learn that!”

 

Moses Sulph

Moses Sulph, Belize Leaders for Social Justice

“Belize Leaders for Social Justice and other activists believe that this can be a message sent to us and we want to make it very clear that we are not going to sit back and allow these things to happen. I think that we will be formulating a letter and sending it to the United Nation because Mister Cattouse was a human rights defender. When they kill an activist, it is an indication that they would have killed all those people they represented, because we are not representing ourselves. So when they kill an activist, it is to shut up thousands of Belizeans who are feeling oppressed.”

 

BLSJ is now offering a five-thousand-dollar reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.  Although the true motive has not been ascertained, today, other members of the activism community say they are saddened by the loss and will not be intimated by cowardly acts of violence against human rights defenders.

 

Geovannie Brackett

Geovannie Brackett

“This really hurts me to the core. I don’t take this lightly—his murder. We condemn it in the strongest and we believe that those killers…all eyewitness accounts are saying that it was two men and they rode off on a cycle. There are mixed reports if they were in the vehicle. One shell was found in the vehicle which means either the shooter was in the vehicle or the gun was placed in the vehicle. I know that he is very vociferous against corruption and the government in ways that government has messed up and a lot of people might get rubbed the wrong way. Politicians have fans and fanatics and I didn’t want to quickly use this as no stunt to be an anti-government thing.”

 

Yhony Rosado

Yhony Rosado, Member, COLA

“As an activist he was so strong. So I just hope and pray that we have not lost Mister Cattouse because of politics, because of activism, because I know for sure, if it was a politician that got killed like that, the whole city and the whole country would be moving up and down, searching every house. And because Mister Cattouse is no politician, he is no rich man; he is just an activist.”

 

Perry “Sticks” Smith

Perry “Sticks” Smith, Days of Healing

“It’s been a while that nobody get killed ina that area deh. But five minutes late Rowland Parks come to the house and say “Sticks” dehn kill wi bally. Weh you di talk about? Cattouse! No man, no man. And like everybody weh mi deh dah my yard, like over fifteen man just gone quiet cause most of them know Mister Cattouse as one of the older activists dehn and they respect him.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

 

This afternoon, the Belize Progressive Party also issued a statement on yet another senseless murder in the Old Capital.  The release says that Cattouse was “a hard-working, senior citizen and fervent activist for just causes. This is a sad day for Belize and all who stand up for Belize. Cattouse was a true born Belizean who unflinchingly stood up for what he believed, which distinguished him as being one of the few activists who did so without fear.”  The release ends by saying that it is a national tragedy and calls for persons with information to come forward and that the police department does everything in its power to arrest those responsible for the heinous crime. 

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2 Responses for “Taximan and Activist Albert Cattouse Gunned Down – Was It a Hit?”

  1. eddy ferguson says:

    All the killings in a small country like BELIZE, just seems to keep getting worst. How does the BELIZEAN people live in a country with all the killing going on around them?

  2. Marwaione says:

    And they still asking the Stupid question if they should legalize Marijuana. Drugs/Alcohol and no jobs is basis for genocide. Whenever stupid people see someone trying to make a change the other option is silence them. So sad for the country.

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