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Jun 25, 2012

Belize City Primary Schools protest against crime

Last week residents of the twin-towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena came out in full force to protest on the eve of the arraignment of alleged predator of young girls, Bert Vasquez, who is also the suspect in the murder of Jasmine Lowe. This morning in Belize City, another demonstration was held. Three schools banded together in an impressive show of unity to signal that they too are fed up with crime and violence. Their students have fallen victims to the street violence. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.

 

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

Students from Muslim Community Primary School, St. John Vianney Primary School and the Port Loyola Pre-school lined Central American Boulevard this morning. It was a human chain symbolizing protection for Belize City and it was done under the theme “Taking Back Our City, Reclaiming Our Streets, Empowering Our Children”. The anti-crime event was organized by the Muslim School and Principal Lana Ahmad explains why it was necessary.

 

Lana Ahmad

Lana Ahmad, Principal, Muslim Community Primary School

“The purpose is to send the message we are not in support or we’re not condoning and we’re against what is happening in our society today; all the crime and the violence which is totally out of whack. We are not in support of it; it’s affecting us, it’s affecting our children, it’s affecting our school and we are no longer—we noh have anymore, not tolerance because nobody tolerate it from the beginning, but we noh have the energy. We want peace and we want order once again in our society. We need that.”

 

Felix Sutherland, the principal of St. John Vianney, supported the demonstration because several of his students have been affected by the crime wave.

 

Felix Sutherland

Felix Sutherland, Principal, St. John Vianney Primary School

“It is very important because a number of our students were direct victims of murders. During last year I had three parents from one class that were murdered. This year, the trend seemed to continue; we had Mark Lewis and Mr. Matura; they were both parents at St. John Vianney School. So it’s an ongoing cycle and we must put an end. I think it’s very important that the students come out to see that there’s people power in all that we do and at this early age, we must not only concern with the three R’s but we must try to take back our society and we must do it as a whole group.”

 

The students of both primary schools were vocal in sending their own messages against the violence that is affecting the city.

 

Natasha Thompson, Student, Muslim Community Primary School

“We have a demonstration about the criminal how he is taking down the people of our country today and here they come together as one and they unite and they chased away the criminal.”

 

Delahnie Bain

“So what do you think that message is to the Belizeans?”

 

Natasha Thompson

“I just want tell dehn dat enough is enough and dat we noh want tolerate dis no more. Why dehn just unite as one?”

 

Christina Morales, St. John Vianney Primary School

“Fi stop di violence and mek everybody live eena peace.”

 

Lisbeth Escobar, Student, St. John Vianney Primary School

“Fi mek people stop dis thing right yah because weh dah di point fi kill people? All ah we supposed to be together; we dah sisters and brothers so we suppose have peace.”

 

Arnelle Marciano, St. John Vianney Primary School

“Stop the killing of the innocent children and the innocent citizens of Belize City.”

 

Darcy Gordon, St. John Vianney Primary School

“That killing is not the solution for their problems and fi mek dehn stop it.”

 

Jordan Archer, Student, Muslim Community Primary School

“I want to say to all the criminals, let’s stop the crime and come in unity and in rights and mek we gather as one country and peace.”

 

Anwar Ahmad, Student, Muslim Community Primary School

“Mek di criminals just stop di crime and di violence mek Belize live in peace.”

 

Lana Ahmad

“Having the kids out here, which is the last part of our theme; empowering. The key word is empowering our children. Our children, if they see us as the adults feeling helpless, looking helpless, just talking about things and not actually doing something, we are not helping them. When they see us along with them, organizing and getting out and voicing, demonstration against what is not right, we are empowering them for them to understand after me and you dead and gone, they can do something.”

 

The cry is for peace and the communities will have to unite for the cause. Ahmad feels that the city residents can learn from last week’s events in San Ignacio.

 

Lana Ahmad

“Here in Belize City, we need as black people especially who are more affected to understand, let’s learn something from the other cultures; put aside wi petty differences and lets come together because it’s what is affecting us because we’re divided. We’re divided; nobody really cares.  When you come together as one group, you will find that ideas abound and you know what when you come together, you form a union and unity brings strength.”

 

Felix Sutherland

“It’s an ongoing battle and we cannot give in. we must assert ourselves and take back our community. Sitting down, doing nothing is not good enough; we’ll only decay further. So we must take a proactive approach to try and move forward to try and stem the scourges of crime, in particular murder.”

 

While there have been several protests before today’s human chain and there are certainly more to come, Ahmad says that change will only come if the people continue to fight for it. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

 

The Muslim Community Primary School had a peace march following the murder of student, Daniel Matura in late May. A tree planting event will be held in July and a massive human chain, including all schools is planned for September, to continue emphasizing the need for unity against crime and violence.

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2 Responses for “Belize City Primary Schools protest against crime”

  1. Karla Heusner says:

    It is so sad to see how the children of Belize are still being victimized by street gangs and child murderers. The news has not changed one bit since the late 90′s in this respect, BUT it is heartening to see the children protesting and articulating their concerns, and standing up with the support of school officials. How sad that they continue to pay for the inability of authorities to get control of the crime situation.

  2. OriginalWoman says:

    CUDOS TO ALL THE STUDENTS AND ADULTS WHO MARCHED WITH THEM. CONTINUE TO MARCH AND DEMAND AND RECLAIM YOUR STREETS BACK FROM THE CRIMINALS. MARCH ON, ORGANIZE MORE MARCHES AND MORE, UNTIL YOUR VOICES ARE HEARD!!!

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