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Mar 15, 2011

Progresso School Building brings violence from neighbors

Progresso Village in the north is known for its pristine beaches and tranquility, but on Monday hell broke loose in the village over the perennial trouble of land. And unlike the use of gunfire in the urban warfare gripping the old capital, the weapons of choice were machetes, shovels and anything that a group of angry family members could put their hands on. Temperatures shot down considerably today, but the villagers are shocked and concerned that violence may break-out once more. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

Violent chaos erupted in Progresso Village on Monday at the construction site for a Seven Day Adventist School. Shovels, machetes, a pick axe and even cement blocks were flying as the residents working on the structure were attacked by a family that lives nearby. That family has been allowed to squat on a portion of the land, owned by the missionaries who are donating the school building, but they want to stop the project, because it blocks an area they used to access the main road.

Jacob Boot

Jacob Boot, Concerned Parent

“The land is theirs, they gave the people the land then they gave them the access. They went the proper route, went through the government, did the legal way of doing everything. The church did not come out here with swords and machetes and started fighting. They went and they did it the legal way and when they did it the legal way the people still weren’t happy.”

Hilario Davis, SDA Field Secretary, Orange Walk District

“We have a delay because of a dispute for a road and we have tried to negotiate with the implicators of this road problem and it couldn’t be solved peacefully. So we had to address this to the higher authorities. They did their part but still those implicated in it they are not agreeing to what the government has established or stipulated.”

Margarita Perez

Today the scene was much calmer, since the aggressors were not at home. And even after two people were hurt in yesterday’s brawl, the residents are determined to keep the work going.

Margarita Perez, Concerned Parent

“I’m glad that the people from states came and do this project here because no government would do that. The two parties never do nothing for the village.”

Hellen Terry

Hellen Terry, Concerned Parent

“That’s not a road and we cannot permit one family to stop a project. So all the parents are here today, except one parent that does not agree and we want all the parents that are here and agree and have their children here in school, to stand up for their rights.”

Jacob Boot

“It doesn’t make sense to us nor to me. It doesn’t because this school is not just for the Seven Day Adventist people; it’s for the community. For them to come here and I know their Christian schools are struggling back in north America because the money is just not there either, to give their money and then to have somebody stop us, which wasn’t there’s in the first place, it makes no sense.”

Hilario Davis

But the workers say the family has been interfering with the project since January and requests for police intervention were ignored until things got out of control. And even with security now provided, there is still concern about further problems.

Hilario Davis

“The risk is the violence; the violence and to attempt against the lives of some of these missionaries that will be coming here. They are international; they are studying in the states but they are from different countries and this will be a very terrible problem, not only for them but for Belize as well.”

Lynden Kruse

Lynden Kruse, Rep., Monterrey Bay Academy SDA High School

“That greatly concerns us, whether we can expect safety especially for our youths. If it was just adults, we would just ask them are you willing to put up with what could happen in a situation where something already has happened. But with the students, we can’t ask for volunteers we have to assess whether this will be safe working conditions and that is a very critical thing coming from the US. If anything goes wrong here, the news will go around the world. We can’t afford for that to happen and if it looks like there’s any possibility of that happening, we’ll simply have to go somewhere else. And it will greatly affect hundreds if not thousands of these projects in the future.”

Lynden Kruse, represents the Monterrey Bay Academy SDA school, which has completed several buildings across Belize.

Lynden Kruse

“Our group was involved with a significant school building in Hattieville, we’ve done two of them in Benque Viejo in the Cayo District, we did a three room classroom in Bullet Tree Falls. In the last two years we’ve done two two-room school projects at the Solomon School in Orange Walk and now we’re here in Progresso.”

A decision on whether the project will continue is expected in the next day or two, when a group of over fifty missionaries arrive in Belize. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

Another access road is being provided for the families who live behind the school grounds.

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15 Responses for “Progresso School Building brings violence from neighbors”

  1. Disgusted! says:

    I am completely DISGUSTED by this footage that is broadcasted for the entire world to see what a bunch of F#%@ING SAVAGES and uncivilized, third world neanderthals we really are in the face of progress. I hope the Americans do the right thing and take their humanitarian services to another country where it will be appreciated. BELIZE GONE! GONE! GONE! YOUTUBE SENSATION FOR ALL FOREIGNERS TO SEE. THIS IS THE REALITY FOLKS!!! WELCOME TO BELIZE, HOPE YOU SURVIVE YOUR STAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. BZNinCALI says:

    No good deed goes unpunished. We have the Guatemalans in Harmonyville demanding the size & location of their lots. Now we have people allowed to squat who are prepared to destroy the goodwill of a church & community & any semblance of a reputation our country still has left by expressing their stupidity through violence. These idiots are not even being asked to leave, yet, they are using might to prove themselves right.

    Boots, it’s time to crack that whip, you removed the City Council employee from the lot he took in Belama Phase 4. These ingrates need to be reminded that if this was the Government, they could & would have been booted off the land through eminent domain.

  3. MADDYVANDIJK/DEREALIST says:

    I can somehow understand the anger of the aggressors in this case.( they are also fighting for their rite of passage) GOB cannot give someone a home without access of roads.( Bad planning by the surveyors, really))
    But while these fools all decided to settle this matter in an illegal manner, This situation can easily be solved by the GOB giving the family access to different roads, and quickly.

  4. ESSB says:

    Let the law take its course. These bunch of idiots should be dealt with. It’s ridiculous how these ignorant people behave on something that has to do with progress for that community.

  5. BriteLite says:

    this is really disappointing to know that it’s happening in belize. and to think it’s a school that they’re standing in the way of progress. that’s just selfish of those squatters to help in the betterment of the future generation.

  6. Curious says:

    with this footage of machete weilding and shovels flying was anyone charged?Belize appears like Somalia , lawlessness and violence and no one in charge…..

  7. belizeanpride says:

    This is really embarrasing for the village, the country itself now after this video going viral. It’s a show of immaturity in this family of not taking time to sit and talk like adults, could be ignorance or just being insane. It’s a shame really, when foreignors come with the heart to help improve educational projects like this and these things happens. It makes us the look like uncivilized people to this foreignors. To them it might be a laughing matter as how this people act and also a threat for their safety.

  8. Lucas says:

    I know the property in question. It was bought and paid for by a now deseased S.D.A. United States Citizen named Mr. Sweet. He was a Very tall man, and even though old, he looked as strong as a Mohogany tree. By the way, he was a second world war veteran who made Belize his home. With his help and the help of others of his country people who had established a clinic not too far away, have loved and helped the people of Progresso in so many different ways. It was through his help that Progresso boasted the best village school building in the entire Belize and the villagers had free health care in the clinic. This land was not donated by the govt. It was Mr. Sweet’s private property donated for a school for the enhancement of the people of Progresso. Now what has happened is not blamed on a family, who by the way ate by the goodness of Mr. Sweet, but on the whole people of Progresso. Let us see if the people of Progresso will allow a squatter to soil the good name of the Village. In a few days a group of healther workers from the U.S. are coming to work in the District of Belize and I hope their experience in not the same.

  9. B Groovy says:

    what kind of example r these grown ups showing to the youths, when they can get there way they resort to violence …….lash de !@# in public square mek de lan…..

  10. daveyt says:

    GOB building another road for the Squatters? Better make it a one way one then – Straight to Hattieville Remada! All of those involved in the violence should be arrested and convicted of a number of offenses, then locked up for a long time. The footage can be used as evidence too, so there’s no chance of the cases fall ing through through lack of evidence either!!!! Locke them up and throw away the key!!!! What would have happened if they killed someone? GOB redecorate their house??????????

  11. shock says:

    It seem as if though satan has marshall his army on Belize in full force. Anybody who know about Seventh Day Adventist know that they are about peace; sure not everyone in the organization is perfect, but these people are about sacrifice and up lifting the human race. Around the world they are known for operating hospitals second to none. In most cases they stay out of governmetal affairs. Studies have shown that they live an average of eight years longer than the general population because of ther life style. More people amongst their organization are of higer education except for the Jews. Surely something has gone radically wrong in Belize. The country is in the grip of total madness.

  12. Also Concerned says:

    It sounds like these squatters need the education that will be available in this school building more than anyone else. End the ignorance.

  13. Elgin Martinez says:

    Why havn’t the Policemen done something?Are the waiting for this situation to turn fatal?When did we became a nation of criminals?We really need to get prayers back into our homes.

  14. Shawn says:

    can someone email me this video ?
    i want it… hehehehehehe xD

  15. Belizean100% says:

    Hey mien!!!!!! how could someone publish this???? don’t you think this is really defamatory???????? and most important how could Belizeans be able to commit an extremely disgusting act????? Hey don’t you love Belize??????????????

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