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Jun 29, 2018

Teens Report on how Crime and Violence is affecting their generation

The first six months of this year, has been bloody especially in the City where on Thursday night the murder of another teenager was recorded. There are more patrols on the ground and new initiatives to engage young persons, but still crime is persistent and stubborn.  Tonight, the Informed Teen reporters, or ITR’s for short, investigate how crime affects Belizean children. Here is that story.

 

Kyra Lambey, ITR, reporting

The gang warfare that has taken Belize City has been an ongoing struggle for officials and the wider society. Over the years, the gangs have evolved from red vs blue to communities pitted against communities. While the police are working to reduce the violence in the streets through mediation, increased patrols and other initiatives, there still remain the almost nightly shootouts and subsequent sirens that shatter the peace in neighborhoods.

 

(Nat Sound File : Sirens/ambulance or police)

 

Creyton Myers

“All this fighting leaves a startling reality for children living in these conflict zones. As teen reporters, we ventured into some of these communities to find out first-hand what type of collateral damage is being left behind.”

Teen Boy, Southside resident

“People judge me sake ah weh I live personally. So that make I mi have to like start defend myself too cause people just di judge me and say just cause I live back ya people say I da Jane Usher man so…i no really go bout and thing because people class me as Jane usher.”

 

Like the yellow tape cordoning off crime scenes the deep divide between neighborhoods has created impenetrable boundaries… making children prisoners of their own community. This young man chose not to appear on camera for fear of his life. He speaks of the reality of being ascribed to one particular neighborhood.

Teen Boy

“I born and grow round ya so. So I no really have ah problem with walking or riding about this area but outside. I no really go outside from my neighborhood or community.”

 

Stefan Nolberto, ITR

“Does crime affect your everyday life?”

 

Teen Boy

“Well ih affect my everyday life cause like when crime happen back ya. It mek the neighborhood dead. Nobody no really want come out or anything like that. Everybody stay een. So it affect round ya to. Bout a year or two ago, one a my lee Bredda mi get shot right by da lane deh. He ketch in ah wah lee conflict with one he own friend and bally pop wah 38 gun and shot the man right front of all ah we. Yea, dat da one ah my most gruesome experience back ya.”

 

For Shadron Gillett, his reality is similar.

 

Creyton Myers, ITR

“How gun violence affect you?”

 

Shadron Gillett

Shadron Gillett

“It affect me many ways. Cause you could go to the shop and you no know weh wah happen. You can’t really di hang out or socialize cause you never know when gunman di come and bullet no got no name so if the gunman no meet target ih wah shoot anybody.”

 

For young Kenya Smith, gang violence has led to different kind of imprisonment.

 

Kenya Smith

“Almost every night we hear gunshot by the area weh I live …(sigh)…ih bad. Crime affect me like when I hear gunshots and like if any one of my family members deh pan di street and I woulda feel like da deh cause they deh pan di street di same time. It affects because I wah think dat da deh and i wah start worry. Me?  Me run underneath my bed cause if the gunshot deh close to fi we house me run under my bed so it can’t catch me. My ma run eena ih room.”

Teen Reporter

“So your ma mek you go outside da night? (subtitled)”

 

Kenya Smith

“No mam”

 

Teen Reporter

“What time do you have to stay inside? (subtitled)”

 

Kenya Smith

Kenya Smith

“5 o’clock, miss. My ma send we da shop from 4.”

 

Teen Reporter

“And after 5 what? (subtitled)”

 

Kenya Smith

“We stay inside.”

 

Sadly, this fear has manifested into a reality for young Kenya.

 

Kenya Smith

“They shot my pa pan boulevard. (looks away) My ma come and she told me, I mi feel depressed cause… I mi love my pa.”

 

Innocent children who’ve become prisoners to their neighborhood and even their homes. This is not a reality that those working to protect us say they want to see continue.

 

Margaret Nicholas, Executive Director, NCFC

Margaret Nicholas

“Our mandate is to definitely ensure that children are safe and protected. We are very cognizant of the situation at hand where a lot of our children are being violated where families are in torment and trauma and so we are hoping that through our strategies that we have put together that we’ll be able to end this scourge of violence.”

 

Inspector Elroy Carcamo, Officer in Charge Community Policing, Belize District

“One of primary functions is prevent and detect crime and in our main role as community policing we find ways to prevent crime by looking at that we initiate different programs that will be suited within areas where we have crime. And we see how best we can best work with the communities in that area to help minimize the crime and violence.”

 

The youths we spoke to have found a positive outlet through these very same

programs.

 

Teen Boy

“CYD usually come ya. Whenever they usually go thing fi mek we do. We usually go out there and thing. Like what? Like when. They have activities and thing they usually mek we help them but dat da barely sometime.  so what you think the community police could do differently fi stop all the crime weh di happen back ya? Have more like they tournament and thing deh weh bring the youths them together.  That da one thing and one way fi mek thing try get betta.”

 

Kenya Smith

“I am in the G.R.E.A.T. program. It help me too be better because they encourage you fi no go eena gangs, no fi follow friends and fi be your own person and no fi hang with the wrong set of friends.”

 

Shadron Gillett

“I woulda set up wah lee checkers or chess with my friend they. I would go play football. We do that every evening and weekend and we would go swim. We do most of the sports we barely wah deh bout pan di street. You wah always meet we pan wah field somewhere.”

What does the future look like for these youths? Here’s what they had to say:

 

Kenya Smith

“I would a wah change all the gun violence weh di happen and mek the gang people weh eena gang mek they become friends and mek belize be like Belize like one time.”

 

Shadron Gillett

“How do you see our country in the next 5 to ten years for now?

Well younger generation the di come up they wah have to face it. ih wah worser than how it deh right now.”

 

Teen Reporter

“Do you have the advice to keep them out of the gang?..”

 

Inspector Elroy Carcamo

“So most of my youths them we like play sports so I always ker they go play fi stay out of it.”

 

Teen Boy

“Back ya got some nice people. Positive people wet want better fi di community too. Thats about it. Back ya, no everybody bad tho, back ya do got some people weh wah see positive fi di neighborhood.”

 

Teen Reporter

“You have kids? (subtitled)”

 

Teen Boy

“No mam if I do I no want they grow up back ya. Because I no want they live the same life weh I live have to lock up no ride bout so…”

 

Children have right to play. Children have a right to a safe environment. We must all do our part to ensure that.

 

Margaret Nicholas

“This problem that we are faced with is everybody’s business and we have a collective responsibility and we are parents and brothers and sisters and as a community we need to come together.”

 

Reporting for News 5, we are the Informed Teen Reporters.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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