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Apr 14, 2011

Tertiary level students march across Belize City for Peace

Last week, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced the introduction of tough new anti-crime laws.  But the violence and lawlessness continue unabated and criminals roam and kill with relative ease. So today while a peace march was not huge in numbers, the message from the University of Belize students was loud and clear…. they want an end to violence.  With the murder count at an all time high of thirty-seven, the students were joined by other organizations and families of victims of violence as they made their way from the UB campus on West Landivar to the Battlefield Park in the downtown area. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Over a hundred and fifty students of the University of Belize marched with placards and banners with poignant messages calling for an end to the crime and violence that is taking over the country, particularly, here in the streets of the city. While crime is a national issue, the students of U.B. felt the need to take up this initiative on their own.

Shawn Pollard, U.B., Belize City

Shawn Pollard

“Actually U.B. took up this initiative to  give students and young people to voice our opinion. Crime is a big issue in country and as students and young people, this is our first step to say we are fed up of it and we’re trying to put our input in it. So this is just a first.”

Andrea Polanco

“Do you think that you achieved what you set out to do here today?”

Jenelle Griffiths, U.B., Belmopan

“What we came out to do, is just to show the community that we care about what is happening, but it is not finished until the community hears what we have to say and we act upon it as a group, as a family together, because once the crime starts it affects all of us.

And to show that crime affects all, other organizations joined hands with the UB students this morning:

Delon Vernon, Youth for the Future

“Well we work with the V.R.U. program, that is the Violence Reduction Unit, and um we are working with other organizations to increase the peace and get rid of the violence that is happening in the streets.”

Moses Sulph

Moses Sulph, President, COLA

“I’m out here in support of trying to see how we can quell the violence that’s going on and the crime. However, I believe that the violence is just an offspring of poverty and unemployment and lack of access to education. But, ah at the same time in an effort of what we can do to support the stance against crime then that is what we should do as a nation.”

Chloe Daly, Ms. SJCJC 2011

“That crime is not the way to solve any problem; I just believe that if we have a problem with anything, we should try solve it, but not through crime with killing our brothers and sisters.”

But for some of the demonstrators today, it was more than a national issue because gun violence has hit close too close to home and nothing has been done about it:

Bernadine Cattouse, Lost Daughter to Gun Violence

I deh out yah rite now cause I done lose wah daughta by gun violence and I wah mek deh stop it cause I have more children and I nuh wah lose no mo’.”

Andrea Polanco

“Suh dis dah like wah personal thing fi yu?”

Bernadine Cattouse

Dawn Baiza

“Yes, wah personal thing, suh I wah  deh put down the gun and stop the violence.”

Dawn Baiza, Lost Son to Gun Violence

“Deh kill my son. September eighth will make three years. It’s personal for me because I haven’t gotten any justice for it, nothing, nothing at all.

And while people are asking for justice, many Belizeans said that there are things can be done to help in the fight against crime.

Farron Loriano, U.B. Jaguars Team

“A Judicial system would be much better because the penalties for the crime too low, they need to get serious about it.”

Yolanda Schakron, Belizeans for Justice

“We believe that yuh have to get to the root ah di problem, you have to clean up the corruption in the police department and you have to deal with it in a very conscientious way. You have to talk to the Belizean people we want to see a different way because right now Belizeans are living in terror.”

Selwyn King

Selwyn King, Public Information Officer, U.B.

“A number of years ago we had a crime symposium held at the U.B.  and in terms of that symposium and its outcomes maybe we need to revisit that and see how best the university can  play a significant and critical role  within this issue of crime reduction.”

To help in that crime reduction is Belizean Artist, Aaron Casanvova, a former “street bwai”, who knows about crime and violence all too well:

Aaron Casanova, Artist

I drop outta school, I run come out yah I get shot eight times, I been to Jail like nine different times. It nuh mek no sense, out yah nuh got nothing but yuh education and think ‘bout wah future.  When will the ghetto youth put down the glock cause down eena Belize come like down eena Iraq? Mi seh put down the gun and the violence, who nuh deh ah dead house get a jail sentence.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

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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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11 Responses for “Tertiary level students march across Belize City for Peace”

  1. BZNinCALI says:

    Poverty did not turn us into criminals, so stop making excuses. Senseless greed is killing us. It is true that we need more access to higher education & job opportunities for those who are willing to work but we live in a society where too many of our young people do not want to get their hands dirty & too many of our boys behave like prissy little girls when they are not projecting that thuggish demeanor. We were dirt poor years ago, had no TV, if we owned a 2nd pair of shoes, they were our church shoes & if we were in High School/College, our parents splurged & spent the $5.00 at Bata for the tennis shoes we needed for PE. We bitched about the meager pay we received when we entered the work force but we stretched it as best we could & even managed to save a dollar or two. Bling was a luxury none of us would kill or risk our reputations & livelihoods for because we knew the punishment would be harsh.

    While we are addressing the lack of opportunities, we should also stress to the parents willing to look the other way, willing to beg shamelessly & curse those who refuse to give that there is nothing wrong with delayed gratification & living within ones means is not really a form of torture.

  2. RadicalBelizean says:

    I applaud these young people, very positive move. Mr PM, part of you announcement should have been an introduction of conscription (even if a temporary measure). Whereby young people can elect to stay in school and take advantage of the education available to them until age 21, whether it means that they work part time and go to school, or their education is fully funded by their parents. If not they join the army from age 18 for 3 years. This is because a significant proportion of young people age 13-21 are responsible for these murders.

    There are far too many idle people in Belize. The girls and boys start parenthood far too early, and so the cycle of poverty continues. Furthermore, some youths have never experience any form of discipline because of the issue of children who lack discipline and formal education is having children. You can spend all the money available to you fighting this crime as you have already done with no results or channel the money towards turning in particular boys to men. Years ago the girls guides, scouts and Brownies were very active in our society, I am really sure if this is the case anymore but these groups really assisted parents in instilling discipline and the getting some of the pent up anger and energy out of the system.

    With regards to financing this initiative, President Obama recently announced a commitment to fighting crime in the region and I am sure if you guys are serious to combat this ill in our society you would go to every length to seek assistance to with this problem. Our 12-13 years olds recently had their PSE results, which showed a drop in marks, and if you think the children is not experiencing anxious over this widespread violence you are sadly mistaken. I am not putting blame on any particular political party, as both sides have failed the youths of this country in the past. There is clearly a whole section of society who do not feel that they are not part of it, don’t care what laws are in place because life for them is of no value, and that is the danger.

    So while you politicians on the opposition point fingers our country is falling apart.

    Stop the hypocrisy, the corruption, and address the ills of this nation.

  3. rod says:

    where where the rest of you belizeans this was a good start for the youth in our country i am proud of you for showing courage care and this march is just the beginning even if the temp was very high now all we need is the rest of the belizean public to join in the next march next time we need to march to the pm house .

  4. Proud Belizean says:

    Good job UB! Also to the other organizations that went out in support.

  5. Earl Grey says:

    and……………WHAT DID THEY ACCOMPLISH???

    WHAT CHANGED AFTER THE MARCH?????????????

    Just asking……………

  6. MADDYVANDIJK?DERELIST says:

    Here we see a handful of youths doing the right thing, but where the rest of the other Belizeans who were not out there supporting this cause.
    One man can make a change, but
    In Belize it will take the entire country to contribute to the change.
    Belizeans you still have the ultimate human freedom in your hands, the power to choose, to respond, to change. Use it.

  7. mylegacyb4mypeople says:

    Congratulations, good work UB but did you guys sent out an invitation to the general public to join in the march against violence, if you did not then I think that you should have since the fight against violence should be every citizens concern and that is the biggest problem in Belize everyone wants recognition for themselves one of the reason why the society is so fragmented if a change is to be made there will have to be unity, united we will stand, divided we are going to fall. Remember, My Legacy B 4 My People.

  8. lynne says:

    Earl Grey is an SOB!!!!!! THEY ARE TRYING YOU IDIOT!!!! wHAT ARE YOU DOING???????

  9. shock says:

    When we go to the doctor these days for an illness, in many cases the doctor run test to find out the real cause that contribute to the illness. The law of cause and effect. The cause of the the break down of law and order in Belize styms from many factors; there is no one fit all solusion. But for sure, we need to find out what is the real cause for such hatred in the society. The first respondent in this blog expressed how us older Belezians cope with the hardships we experienced and live with dignity. Part true, as there were nuch fights that took place in the streets of Belize in by gone days, but it was mostly fist fights and some fence pailings and even a broken battle, not the kind of fights that sent someone to the cemetary. Furthermore, ordinary individuals did not have access to conceal fire arms, and those that had 12 & 16 gauge shot gun were mostly in the country side, however the willful killing of another numan being 99.9 percent of the time resulted in hanging, which for sure was a deterent not to kill someone.

    We were not created with fear syndrom by mistake. Our Creator knew exactly that free will had to be balance with fear to keep us from destroying ourselves, thus leaders of society including the home must know how to intlegently use a certain measure of fear to keep free will human being from destroying ourselves until we reach the level of good rational reasoning. When there is no fear, love, nor respect then society is up against a demond gone wild. It is obvious that certain eliments of the youths in Belize have no fear, self respect, love nor respect for others. Therefore what may seem as drastic measures must be taken to keep this comparatively small portion of the society from destroying the peace that the majority deserve.

    I have no doubt that the crime of killing in Belize can be minimize, but it will take non political measures to bring it under control, but this is better said than done for many reason too many to go into at this time. Yes, poverty can be blame for much of the crime, but a good spiritual insight can off set such belief, because as a Christian nation we should be mindful that our master Jesus reminds us that man shall not live by bread alone. He also admonish us that his spirit of peace transends all material possesion. If anything is lacting in our youths, it is the Godly spirit that can help them to deal with the challanges of a complex world.

  10. SW@GVILLE 812 says:

    I LOVE WHAT THESE STUDENTS ARE DOING AND AM I WITH THEM IN SPIRIT,BUT WE AS BELIZEANS NEED TO ORGANIZE OURSELVES AND MARCH WITH THEM.UNITED WE STAND DEVIDED WE FALL.OUR COUNTRY IS FAR TO BEAUTIFUL TO BE THE WAY IT IS.NOTHING WILL CHANGE BECAUSE OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU EARL GREY.ATLEAST THEY TOOK TIME TO SHOW THAT THEY CARE ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING.EVERYTIME YOU HAVE PEOPLE DOING SOMETHING POSITIVE, THEIR WILL ALWAYS BE A SARCASTIC PERSON OR A HATEFUL PERSON WHO HAS SOMETHING NEGATIVE.JUST LIKE THE GOVERMENT PUTTING A BAN ON DARK TINT,WHAT IS GOING TO CHANGE????

  11. dot says:

    WE SHOULD BE PROUD OF THE STUDENTS WHO IS PROACTIVE FOR PEACE. TAKE A FEW GOOD INDIVIDUALS TO MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE! “THE BRAVE” …. AND WE AS A SOCIETY SHOULD BE PROUD OF THEM! LIVING IN FEAR IS NOT LIVING…FEAR THAT YOU MAYBE THE NEXT VICTIM, OR YOUR RELATIVE, OR YOUR FRIEND. PRAYER BRINGS A BLESSING TO EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING. FAMILIES, SCHOOLS, AND AS A NATION, WE SHOULD PRAY…BY OUR PRAYER WE ARE GUIDED TO DO SOMETHING TO MAKE THE WORLD WE LIVE IN A BETTER PLACE….

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