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Jun 25, 2012

Teachers and students protest against crime in Benque

The anti-crime protests that started in San Ignacio last week sparked another further west and in the City. In Benque Viejo Del Carmen, the B.N.T.U. joined students from seven schools who took to the streets this morning. The message from the hundreds was that they want to live in a safer Belize. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Students from Benque Viejo Del Carmen came out in numbers to demonstrate against the ongoing crime and violence in Belize; but more so about those directed to young school age children. President of the BNTU Benque Viejo Branch, Maria Martinez, says the crimes being committed on young children are a reality and they must speak out.


Maria Martinez

Maria Martinez, President B.N.T.U., Benque Viejo Branch

“A group of teachers said, what are we going to do here in Benque? Well it’s us teachers. I am not the B.N.T.U.; it’s all of us. So we need to stand up for the rights of our children and for what is happening because of the killing that happened to this girl Lowe in San Ignacio and also because of the sexual molestation that has been going on in our school. It is real, it is happening, we cannot hide it; children are suffering from this sexual abuse. So that’s why we found it necessary. It is time for us to do something.”


The young students, bearing placards of messages for peace, say they simply want to live in a safer Belize.


Student #1

“The crime and violence that is happening here in San Jose Succotz and Benque Viejo and other places.”


Andrea Polanco

“So do you feel safe as a little boy in the streets?”


Student #1



Student #2

“I want to help so that that nobody will be raping any girl anymore.”


Andrea Polanco

“Alright, so as a young girl do you feel safe here in your community?”


Student #2



Andrea Polanco

“What message you want to send out today, babe?”


Student #3

“Stop the violence in Belize City and all our country of Belize.”


Student #4

“I am marching for peace and so that the world and stop the crimes against children.”


Andrea Polanco

“So as a young girl, are you scared to be out on the streets anytime?”


Student #4

“Sometimes I do and like when cars stop I try to move far from it and as my parents say, don’t listen to older people you don’t know or strangers and don’t get into cars that you don’t know. We are just asking Belize to stop the violence and have peace and let the children be happy and let Belize be happy.”


Echoing the sentiments of the teachers and students are residents of the municipality, who say that it will only take a community effort to fight the criminals targeting minors.


Yoli Gamez

Yoli Gamez, Parent

“I am here in support of the children of Benque Viejo. What I actually think is that they need all of the community’s support.”


Andrea Polanco

“What is one message that you would like to send out today?”


Yoli Gamez

“To the community; that we have to be united and protect our children, we all have to be united and look after them—the whole community, not only their parents but us, the whole community.”


Samuel Bruce

Samuel Bruce, Neighborhood Watch

“I really encourage it to empower the people, to stand up for their rights, demand change and make Belize a better place to live for everyone.”


Andrea Polanco

“Mister Bruce, you think this initiative will make a difference?”


Samuel Bruce

“I think if the people remember this and truly unite without any politics—because these kinds of issues have nothing to do with politics—and with the community policing program, that’s the perfect vehicle for everyone to take part and create change from the bottom up. Because change is not going to take place from the top down; it comes from the bottom up.”


Andrea Polanco

“What’s one message that you would like to send out to the Belizean public?”


Samuel Bruce

“Stand up and get involved. Get involved and take responsibility of the problems that we have. That is the only way we are going to change any issues of crime, of corruption, things like that; where people need to stand up, get involved, defend your rights and force the change in a positive direction for the benefit of everyone.”


Martinez says that she is hopeful that the demonstration will sensitize the students and the wider public. She says communication is key in fighting sexual crimes.


Maria Martinez

“Let’s hope that they be conscious and that they speak to an adult, a friend, a teacher, especially to their parents—so that they can communicate what’s going on, what’s happening to them because apparently communication is lost. And that’s why our children are being abused, they are not taking the message and trying to say what is happening to them.”


Andrea Polanco

“Do you think the wider public is really listening to you guys?”


Maria Martinez

“Well they are, even though they are not here today because we invited them. But I know they are because families of those people who are doing the abuse are out here this afternoon, they are watching and they know what’s going on.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m 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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8 Responses for “Teachers and students protest against crime in Benque”

  1. Storm says:

    Neighbourhood Watch and Guardian Angel patrols are effective ways for the people to secure their own communities. I hope the energy to organise in the West grows and turns into real patrols on the streets. Digital cameras and radios are very effective crime-fighting tools.

  2. Rod says:

    Where are the marches in Belize city march belizeans march to them house get him out get out.

  3. karla heusner says:

    It is heartening to see such a turnout for the protest in Cayo, and also the student protests in Belize City, but how sad that our children continue to die, to pay the price for the inability or unwillingness of authorities to get the crime situation under control. Nothing has changed in the last 10 to 15 years in Belize, there has been no improvement. Children are still gunned down, still raped and murdered. It makes me so sad to see no progress at all. If anything, things seem worse for our most vulnerable cities. The cycle just repeats, over and over, with each new group of primary school students.

  4. Ana says:

    Lets not include politics in this matter-like Mr Bruce said. Something should be done with these Child molesters.Tha’ts the way to go my beautiful people in Benque Viejo.

  5. Sasha says:

    You have to involve politics because these are the same people u put in power to protect you & pass laws, if they are not doing their job then they need to be fired. West, keep protesting let them know you won’t take it.

  6. OriginalWoman says:


  7. Take a stand says:

    It is nice to see the community of Benque Viejo unite as one. Crime and violence is affecting everyone around the country. Now, child molestation seems to be the new thing. Damn it, those men should be executed.

    I must applaud the efforts of my fellow Belizeans. Not that of that white man named Samuel Bruce. A damn crook, who enjoys taking advantage of the poor people in the community of Benque Viejo with his ridiculous pawn prices-$35 dollars and killing interest.

    Mr. Bruce, I am sure that you are full of $#!%, everything is politics for you. Just know that you are a thief like those politicians. In fact, you are still in questions in the minds of many for human trafficking. Is not that one of the many reasons you move from Melchor, when that young gial gone missing?

    Belizeans, do not let this man who loves to take credit of many things if not everything that is done in Benque be involved in your activities. He’s a damn crook.

  8. Dawn Sandoval says:

    Wow “take a stand” I really feel sorry for you, if you were forced to use the services of a pawn shop, but who has the fault? The economic conditions In Benque and Belize in general? It’s our own elected corrupt officials that don’t leave anything for us! It’s not the white man’s fault he has contributed more to our community and works as volunteer on many programs to help our community, more than any of those Politicians. Best wishes ‘take a stand” maybe you can get a job with the white man at the park he’s building for our community at no cost to tax payers? Oh yea the white man has never lived in Melchor, he has lived in Benque at the same property for 22 years!

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