Small demonstration by Jasmine Lowe supporters in Capital
While the Prime Minister was presenting his first post election budget, outside the National Assembly building, a handful of demonstrators kept up the pressure against crime. Jasmine Lowe, the murdered thirteen year old girl from Santa Elena, was central to the demonstration. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.
Isani Cayetano, Reporting
What should have been a mass gathering outside of the Assembly Building, a nonviolent convergence of protestors from the twin towns in the west, to bring pressure on the Barrow Administration in seeking justice for the murder of Jasmine Lowe, was instead a last minute trickle of her close friends braving the unforgiving midday heat. The absence of the slain teenager’s parents coupled with anemic attendance begs the question of whether or not public interest in what has been touted as the trial of the century has indeed waned.
“What happened today as to why there is a paltry number of people out here in front of the Assembly building?”
Alberto Palma, President, Bishop Martin neighborhood Watch Committee
“Well there are several factors that contribute to that. A lot of people are working, today is Friday and it’s payday. People will go and get their pay, you know, also school is closing today so parents might be at school with their children [and] things like that. But still we are not giving up and we are here to let the nation know that we will keep standing up for what is right and we’re asking for justice and we’ll keep doing so until we get results.”
Despite the arrest and subsequent arraignment of twenty-eight year old Bert Vasquez, believed to be Jasmine’s killer, the often slow judicial process is only just taking shape. An initial court date has been set for August twenty-second, when Vasquez will make his appearance before the Supreme Court. The outcome, nonetheless, is anyone’s guess.
Cecilia Neal Flowers, Scout Adult Leader, Troop 27
“It’s not like we’re expecting a conviction right away. The thing is that it’s like [what] people had said before, you know ninety percent plus of the criminals, you know, just go in jail and they come out back and there’s no justice and we fear that. We don’t want this to repeat over and over again because, according to sources and according to the media, this guy has been convicted more than once and why is he out on bail so many times also, you know, just to go to Cayo and repeat the same thing again? Is he gonna keep doing it if he gets out?”
…and that’s the sentiment that lingers in the recesses of the mind. Vasquez has been condemned in the court of public opinion without having been tried formally. Jasmine’s friend Casey, on the other hand, is appealing to the government to earmark additional funds to be used in creating and implementing stern penalties for crimes such as this.
“What would be one of the messages you would send to the leaders of this country with regards to monies being spent on cases to be solved and crime to be curtailed?”
Casey Flores, Friend of Jasmine Lowe
“I just want to tell the leaders that we want their support and they should invest in not doing [anything] associating with the criminals, instead they should invest in having heavier measures placed on the criminals, especially those who harm [an] innocent child such as Jasmine. And I just want the prime minister to know that we want his support and the support of the entire parliament inside.”
Gone is the candlelight vigil in the wake of the gruesome discovery of Jasmine’s body, so has the flash mob that congregated at the base of the San Ignacio Police Station on the day of Vasquez’s arraignment, her memory and the relentless pursuit of justice however, remains very much alive even if it isn’t reflected in today’s turnout. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.
Twenty-eight year old Bert Vasquez has been charged with Jasmine’s murder and for allegedly assaulting as many as thirteen girls from the Cayo area.