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Apr 30, 2010

Students and residents rally against crime wave at La Isla Bonita

rallyNo area of Belize is spared of crime, and in La Isla Bonita, youths joined other residents to rally against the crime wave. They came out this morning in large numbers under the scorching sun and took their message through the streets of San Pedro as they lashed out at the growing problem in that tourist destination.  Marion Ali reports.

Marion Ali, Reporting

The unyielding sun did not stop San Pedro residents, primarily students and neighbourhood watch groups from taking to the streets to display their utter displeasure with what they say is a growing crime rate on the island.  Armed with placards denouncing crime and violence, youths from more than ten educational institutions marched from the old football field near the airstrip through the streets of San Pedro for an hour before returning to the same location for a rally.  While marching may have been a welcomed ease from classroom work, Principal of San Pedro High, Emil Vasquez, says he feels the significance of the event will go a long way in he youths’ own lives.

Emil Vasquez, Principal, San Pedro High School

“For our students we want to stress the importance of trying to live in a violent-free society, noh.  We start from school trying to practice a violent-free community within the school.  But obviously within the community in the larger scale we also need to teach them that.  They want to live in a violence-free society.”

Marion Ali

“How effectively do you think the march this morning will impact their personal lives?”

Emil Vasquez

“I think young people nowadays need the guidance.  I think it is up to the community leaders to organize things like this for them to the way to go.”

But while expressing one’s opinion through action may be a good thing, for the families of murdered San Pedranos, the community also depends on the authorities to play their part before it causes a real dent on the fragile tourism industry.

Virginia Wallace, Relative of Murder Victim

“Related to John Saldivar, the one that got murdered in February last year.  He was my son-in-law that was murdered because of the crime in San Pedro and all the things that have been going on in the island.  So I really don’t know how to express myself but San Pedro is getting very violent with young teens, youths and a lot of things on the island, people being assaulted and lots of violence on the island.  I don’t know what they can do about it.  Some tourists have been attacked on the island, we know that, it’s going to start affecting.”

Maria Mai, Held Up at Work

“I was at work for Thanksgiving night like twenty to ten when this guy came in with a hat/cap and he actually came up to me with a gun.  It was frightening but thank God nothing worse happened to me.”

Marion Ali

“So he robbed you of?”

Maria Mai

“Well he went with all the cash from the cash register and my phone.”

Marion Ali

“I’m sure you have a totally different perspective now on these types of crimes.”

Maria Mai

“Yeah, every time somebody comes into the store I would always feel afraid.  If someone strange comes walking up and down I’m always alert.”

Virginia Wallace feels that although the economy is currently in dire straits, youths are involved in crime because they simply want to be.

Virginia Wallace

“It’s just people who are lazy that don’t have nothing better to do.  For me they are lazy and they don’t try to find a job, they just want to live the easy life and rip each other off and they just hand around doing nothing.  If you really want you can get a job, even if it’s a small little thing but you could still do it.”

Meanwhile, Officer Commanding at the San Pedro Police Station, Superintendent Dennis Arnold, says they are doing their best with what they have to put a lid on crime on the island.  He urges more people to assist the Police by forming neighbourhood watch groups in their areas.  Marion Ali for News Five.

News Five would like to thank Coral Cable Vision of San Pedro for providing us with images of today’s march and rally on the island.

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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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5 Responses for “Students and residents rally against crime wave at La Isla Bonita”

  1. Rizzo says:

    Channel 5,

    I recommend that you put a poll out there on who should carry weapons in Belize. It seems like everyone in Belize have fire arms. How about they scrutinize who should actually own one. My visit to Belize and talking to old friends all had guns and were all licensed or so they say. The time will come when some individual will start taking their own actions.

  2. OriginalWoman says:

    GO STUDENTS!!!! GO PARENTS AND OTHERS WHO ARE CONCERNED!!!! WE NEED TO SEE MORE RALLIES LIKE THIS TAKING PLACE ALL OVER BELIZE, ESPECIALLY IN THE CITY…MAYBE ONE EVERY MONTH…

    THE RECENT CRIME WAVE IN BELIZE IS DISCOURAGING ME FROM MAKING A VISIT!!!!

    SEEMS LIKE, OUT OF NOWHERE WE BECAME A PEACEFUL COUNTRY, TO WHERE WE ARE NOW…ALMOST SOUNDS LIKE JAMAICA OR TRINIDAD…AND THIS PISSES ME OFF!!!

  3. jon jon says:

    you knw what i really like what these guys are doing, but it makes no sense you do it because it wont solve anything

  4. g martinez says:

    Where there is hope,there is a chance jon jon…..the rallies represent hope!!!!

  5. Love says:

    :*There are certainly a lot of dliates like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

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