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Mar 22, 2010

Hundreds of Belizeans march against violence

peace rally 2The change of weather at the latter part of the weekend did not change course for some people who had already made plans to be heard against crime.  More specifically, the organizers and members of the newly formed Belizeans for Justice proceeded with a peace march and rally.  The event had a full agenda, with prayers, the Belizean National Anthem, poems, songs and speeches.  And As Marion Ali discovered the spirit and determination of the marchers to literally ‘weather the weather’ superseded the temptation to yield to the inclement weather, courtesy of Mother Nature.

Marion Ali

“In a heavy downpour this Sunday evening this unrelenting crowd, determined to express the utter dismay and displeasure at crime and violence in Belize, took to the streets – marched from Central American Boulevard with its junction at Caesar Ridge Road onto the City Centre where they had a Peace Rally.”

Marion Ali, Reporting

Even from before the march began, ominous rain clouds hovered low as we spoke to the participants.  And when the skies finally opened up with winds so strong that they snapped umbrellas, it could not stop the hundreds of peace advocates.  Some went in vehicles but the majority footed the one mile distance singing to music from reggae legends, Bob Marley and Lucky Dube and gospel artist, Calypso Rose.

Yolanda Schakron, Aunt of Late Chris Galvez

Yolanda Schakron

Yolanda Schakron

“I think the rains are just blessings and it just signifies our tears that we have shed for our children, you know.  I am so happy, happy, happy.  Thank God! “

Joan Sutherland, Mother of Late Allen Sutherland

“The good Lord is crying on us, we mothers don’t need to cry anymore.  The rain shows us that he heard our cries, he sees our tears falling, so he’s showing us that rain cannot stop us.  This is the beginning.”

For the participants, it was the beginning.  Like the late Therese Felix and colleagues did in October of 2007 under “Mothers Organised for Peace”, this time it was the beginning of a new initiative started by Yolanda Schakron, a grieving aunt who along with relatives of fallen victims, formed the Belizeans for Justice Association, which spearheaded Sunday’s event.  For them, it was much more than a symbolic event – it was the start of an ongoing effort to restore sanity to our streets.

Yolanda Schakron

“We are very determined to fight and bring back Belize to the way it was.  We have a lot of people that are joining the organization and we are not going to give up.”

Elena Montes, Mother of Late Dual Wagner

“We’re begging them to stop the killing and let’s move on with peace.”

Carla Sebastian, Aunt of Late Teddy Murrillo

“We don’t expect a change overnight but we’re hoping that as we stand united together something will be able to come out of it.”

Danalyn Murrillo

Danalyn Murrillo

Danalyn Murrillo, Mother of Late Teddy Murrillo

“If we see something on the street that is not right, stand up, make a call.  Stand until somebody come to help. Stop looking at violence, stop looking at corruption in its face and smiling as if it’s not happening.  We need to make a stand.”

And make a stand was what they did, some carrying placards like these ones: “Thou Shalt not Kill” and “Will your lawyer talk to God for you?”  And while many of the messages were meant for the criminals, there were also those for the policy makers and politicians alike.

Joan Sutherland

“Mothers like me, I want justice.  That’s all I ask for – justice, nothing else.”

Lois Nicholas, Mother of Late Barney Cunningham

“I haven’t seen one Minister get up on the TV nor the Prime Minister get up and address the problem. So I don’t think so but I hope that it would send a message because it has to stop.”

While the politicians agreed that the violence has to stop, the current Minister of National Security feels that because of the contributing factors to crime, change won’t come anytime soon.

Carlos Perdomo, Minister of National Security

Carlos Perdomo

Carlos Perdomo

“It’s a big issue so it will take a long time, it will take governments, it will take many years for real drastic changes.”

Oscar Rosado, Former PUP Standard Bearer

“It’s time all of us listen.  And we’re here to work with the government, with the opposition, with the police. My dad was also shot nine years ago, thank God he’s alive.  So we have been affected by violence and I have felt it.”

Zenaida Moya Flowers, Mayor, Belize City

“I had two cousins who I grew up with killed. I had two nephews gunned down as well and so it is close to my heart.  I have a lot of young boys who lived around my house growing up, a number of them, I can’t even start to count the number of them who have been killed.  Some of our staff members have been killed as well. We don’t need any more violence right now.  It could be your mother, it could be your sister, your uncle, we need to stop the violence.”

peace rally 1Carlos Perdomo

“We have to support something like this.”

Marion Ali

“While a lot of them are glad that you’re here to support them personally, they are also critical of the justice system and the government for, in their words, not doing anything.”

Carlos Perdomo

“Of course, but I don’t think we are not doing anything.  We’re doing quite a bit, it’s just that it’s been a pattern of behavior for many years.”

Yolanda Schakron

“This affects everybody, P.U.P., U.D.P., black, white, this is across the board so I’m really thankful that they have come out here with the people, especially the ones that are in power right now, we put them there and we expect them to be here for us when we need them.”

In the future, the Belizeans for Justice Association will hire the services of an attorney to chart a way forward in working closely with the police and the government towards improving the current image on crime.  Marion Ali for News Five.

The Belizeans for Justice Association will soon start to offer counselling for grieving families and will meet again to determine its way forward.  It will also at a later date, introduce its website that it was designed by activist, Erwin X.

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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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13 Responses for “Hundreds of Belizeans march against violence”

  1. Redbwai says:

    Marching and chanting won’t do a darn thing to relieve the crime situation in Belize. Mr. Perdomo better get off his behind and start doing what he is being paid to do. Bring back capital punishment…but wait….capital punishment didn’t go anywhere. So why aren’t they enforcing it? Start hanging them again or the people will start taking matters into their own hands since the police can’t seem to do a thing these days. What Belize needs is a vigilante group to sweep the streets of belize city clean of all the good for nothing unproductive criminals off the face of the earth.

  2. FULLER says:

    How amazing Perdomo comes out to this march like he realy cares, when he is the same one who gave that bs report of inquiry about Chris Galvez death i`m sure those people were told to come up with nothing on that report, as far as i`m concern it`s the same circus just different clowns UDPor PUP.

  3. Belize It says:

    I’m very happy to see everyone coming together this way, including Mr. Perdomo. Despite the haze of criticism that Minister Perdomo has been lost in, I think there is one key aspect of his personality that can really bring about change. When I was at SJC , Mr, Perdomo was president of the college. His speech skills were excellent. He could rally us and bring out the SJC spirit like no other. I’d like to see Mr. Perdomo giving public talks more often and to more unreachable crowds, I think he could make people change. Go out and talk Mr. Perdomo.

  4. Louisa Maria Cortez says:

    Belize is like hell this march will do something I’m sure something will come out of this march God is with us who can be against us damn England need to get there all over again and make some changes in that country.

  5. Louisa Maria Cortez says:

    I am just glad that I was born in valencia,Spain I watch Belize news every night and I’m glad that America the country I live in is not like this

  6. ALICE says:

    MS. CORTEZ:

    I also live in America—not sure what part you may be residing in. But have you even watched the evening news lately—-the most demonic types of crimes being committed by mere minors in middle school (not to mention the remainder in the rest of the society)? I am a middle school teacher myself, and the horrors I hear of everyday are abominable! Not that this in any way condones what’s occurring in my beloved native land of Belize—-but because our nation is so small, the actual and evident effect is compounded. Sadly enough, I do believe that the powers that be could have already/and still can put an end to this crime situation if they want to. But again, many in power stand to profit from its proliferation, hence the deaf ear and blind eye that are being turned away. At this point, God alone can help us, if we would return to him. Belize has sadly, turned its back on her creator. Good news is, He is waiting with open arms to receive her if she will return. My beloved Belizeans, return to righteousness!

  7. Lula says:

    Anybody who KNOWS Mr Perdomo (Belize It) will know that HE DOES CARE…Fuller stop bash something that was very positive…..REDBWAI go do some research and find out exactly why we can’t hang people before yu say it with such ease…if it were that easy to hang people…don’t you think it would be happening!!!!! The march made many feel PROUD…stop being so hateful!!!

  8. Elgin says:

    Alice:I totally agree wit your statement Queen very inspiring.

  9. Robert says:

    I agree with MS CORTEZ, God’s people can reign in life by ONE: Jesus Christ. Belizeans (of any belief) can make the changes by voting out of office those who are weak on crime and those who are soft on police abuse (one encourages the other). When I first visited Belize,12 years ago, it was such a peaceful place.( I know the core and majority of Belize/Belizeans are still among the most peaceful, hospitable and industrious people in the world)
    AN OBSERVATION: THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND IS ON BELIZEAN DOLLARS, why doesn’t Great Britain aid Belize more in defending her borders, whether it’s against drugs or incursion from any outside powers? God bless Belize forever!!!!!!

  10. Robert says:

    I am sorry, I was actually agreeing with Alice. I mistook the heading MS CORTEZ for the writer of the comment. PLEASE revise!

  11. Jennifer Williams says:

    the men in Belize need to spend more time with their boys before it’s too late. Boys are looking for positive role models. MEN step up PLEASE. Real men SEEK GOD.

  12. OhBelizeMyPoorBelize says:

    Does anyone know the address for the website?
    On another note, i dont know why they insist on hiding the identities of these underage killers…i say if they are evil enough to commit these crimes then the country need to see their faces and know their names, dont allow them to hide behind the word “minor”…..

  13. Bryan says:

    What is the address for the website mentioned here “The Belizeans for Justice Association will soon start to offer counselling for grieving families and will meet again to determine its way forward. It will also at a later date, introduce its website that it was designed by activist, Erwin X. ”

    Thanks.

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