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May 15, 2018

Belmopan Mayor’s Rude Awakening: House “Shot Up” in the Dead of Night

Belmopan’s Mayor Khalid Belisle was awoken on Monday night to the sound of gun blasts. Located on Cohune Walk in the capital, there were at least four bullet holes on the concrete structure of his house and another four shots to a car parked on the street in front of the mayor’s house. Belisle retired for the night at around ten o’clock and thirty minutes later, he heard the gunfire.  A total of eight expended shells were recovered from the area. While Belisle says he has no clue as why his house came under gunfire, this is the second time in recent years that the house of an elected official has been targeted.   In January of 2013, someone also took aim at the Belize City house of former Prime Minister Musa.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano speaks with Mayor Belisle about Monday night’s shooting.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Belmopan Mayor Khalid Belisle is perhaps the most affable of the municipal leaders in this country.  So when he woke up this morning and realized that his Cohune Walk residence was in fact the target of an unidentified shooter overnight, Belisle was understandably shaken up.  It was the first time that he had heard the sound of gunfire, let alone being the objective of an unknown attacker.

 

Khalid Belisle

Khalid Belisle, Belmopan Mayor

“The past few hours have led me to come to believe that several shots ended up being fired in the direction of my home last night, sometime around 10:30 or shortly before that time.  My fiancée and I were upstairs, [had] fallen asleep not too long previously, and we heard four loud bangs, at least that’s what I could count.  Those bangs jerked us out of our sleep pretty much instantaneously.  I flicked the light on in the bedroom, [because] it had sounded to me like the bangs were actually made against the sliding glass door that leads out to a balcony off the bedroom and so I immediately headed in that direction.  I flicked on the lights of the balcony to make sure that nobody was actually on that upstairs verandah.  No one was there.  So I told my fiancée to sit tight in bed.”

 

While his wife-to-be remained inside the bedroom, Belisle contacted several friends, including a fellow councilor who lives several blocks away, via a Whatsapp chat group.  Incidentally, the salvo of gunshots was also heard from a distance.  The mayor then summoned another of his friends to come over and take a look at what was going on.

 

Khalid Belisle

“At that hour of the night, in that lighting, there wasn’t much to be seen.  And so, it was during the conversation, as he was idling in his vehicle there, that my colleague pointed out a flat tire on my fiancée’s car and asked me if that had been like that the entire time, to which I responded no.  But at that point, you know, we’ve been having a little issue here and there with flats on her car, so I said well, she just picked up an innocent flat on the way home.  He would go on to point out another mark on the front passenger door where the paint had been peeled off, but again, you know, not having made that connection in terms of what had just transpired and what might have happened to the car, I said well, maybe she had an innocent bump.  Somebody bumped into her innocently, that happens.  You know, these things happen in the course of everyday life.  He would leave and I would return into my home and go to sleep quite soundly, to be frank with you.”

 

That was until this morning at first light when he went outside to repair the flat tire.  Someone whom he had called to assist with the tire made the observation on the vehicle.

 

Khalid Belisle

“It was in the process of me coming back inside and him waiting outside and starting to work on the car that he would see a hole in the bumper of the car which he would then follow through the other side into the tire.  And upon removing the tire itself then [he] realized that there was a hole in the rim of that wheel and so that’s when it got real and we started putting the events together: these loud bangs sounded like gunshots, you have a hole in the rim.  That’s when he started looking around the house to see what else he would find and that’s when he discovered the pockmarks in the wall of the house on either side of the front door, pockmark on the fence outside.”

 

It was at that point that Belisle decided to call Belmopan police to the scene of the shooting.

 

Khalid Belisle

“After coming to the realization of what had seemingly transpired, that’s when I phoned the police again and they dispatch the scenes of crime team, as well as, I believe, we were visited by gentlemen from the CIB for them to start looking at what had transpired.  They came, they did the scenes of crime work.  By the time they got here, myself, the other traffic officers who had come over to lend a hand had already found five or six of the expended shells concentrated in one particular area.  And it was one of the scenes of crimes or CIB officers that eventually would go on to say that six just didn’t feel like a proper number to him, he said we’re looking for two more, as though he knew that eight would have been in the clip.  So they continued looking and maybe about eight to ten feet away from the concentrated five or six shells they did find two more, so it did bring the total of expended shells to eight.”

 

The question on everyone’s mind, more so the mayor himself, is why?  What could he have possibly done to make himself, his loved ones and his neighbors potential victims of a targeted attack?

 

Isani Cayetano

“I wouldn’t want to, you know, cast aspersion or push speculation where it doesn’t necessarily need to go; however, might it be a situation where perhaps you fell out of favor with the squatters recently, where persons were forced, after having been given due notice of eviction to remove their properties or what-have-you from land owned by the Belmopan City Council?”

 

Khalid Belisle

“I have a hard time making that correlation Isani, particularly because of how that particular situation unfolded.  Most people are understanding of the fact that what they were doing or had done is illegal in this country.  We as a council worked as best we could with several of them to assist them in the dismantling and assist them in transportation of the materials that they managed to recover to wherever it was that they would hopefully reconstruct or to a place of safekeeping… So I’m very reluctant to, as you said, cast aspersions on anybody in relation to this incident and that being connected to the removal of the squatters.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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1 Response for “Belmopan Mayor’s Rude Awakening: House “Shot Up” in the Dead of Night”

  1. Beverly says:

    Who writes these headlines. This is hardly a “rude awakening”. This is attempted murder. You headline seem to glorify this action. Belizeans need to wake up and understand that you are under attack by a bunch of illiterate, undereducation and disenfranchised tugs. Why can’t we rid outselves of these fools and the families who weep for them and defend their criminal activities? Belize needs to rid itself of these tugs and show them no mercy. What happened to the forensic lab we were supposed to get? We need a government that will act on its word and put an end to this in the streets and in the justice system.

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