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Oct 9, 2012

Shutdown of Cayo as residents protest against crime

Heading west, a business shutdown is being planned for Thursday by a coalition of neighborhood watch groups called the Solidarity for Peace Movement. If all goes according to plan, most of the business community will be closed for the day to protest the wave of crime and the recent murder of Suzenne Martinez. Simultaneously, two universities and a junior college will be holding another event. But on Wednesday night a public meeting will be held, which the attorney general has been invited to attend. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

On Monday, a peaceful demonstration was staged at Columbus Park in front of the San Ignacio Police station. Simultaneously, the residents made demands to the Prime Minister—eight to be exact which included the removal of the D.P.P.

 

Alberto Palma

Alberto Palma, President, Bishop Martin Neighborhood Watch Committee [File: October 8th, 2012]

 “The people have decided that they will give the Prime Minister until Wednesday morning to give us an answer. And if nothing is done, then on Thursday morning, people are asking for the shutdown of Cayo District if nothing is done. The people are asking for a forensic lab in Belize because one of the problems that we have is because everything has to go to another country. To get the results, it takes like three or four months for that to come. By the time that is here, the criminals are already out on the streets doing crime again; that is one of the things that is causing the problem. Number two, we are asking the government to equipment the police department with everything that they need so for them to do their job in a better way. the police do what they can do, but they only can do so much with what they have. So we are demanding from the government to put in more resources into the police department; give them the tools that they need.”

 

Duane Moody

Duane Moody

“In a little over twenty-four hours, Cayo’s Center for Employment Training is expected to be filled with residents from the twin towns of Santa Elena and San Ignacio as the Attorney General, Wilfred Sedi Elrington, will meet the residents to heart their concerns on the growing crime in the west and the justice system.”

 

And as of seven a.m. on Thursday, a business shutdown is scheduled to begin. The residents, as well as the Town Council, want solutions to the spike in crime.

 

Shary Medina, Councilor

“We decided, as a council, to go ahead and be in solidarity with the shutdown. We are not forcing any business or anybody to shutdown. We are saying that we, as a council, will close. We want to encourage the community at large to join us in unity and come out there; join the ones who will be out there in front of the Columbus park so that we can have a peaceful rally.”

 

This movement has garnered the support of many businesses including the Chinese community from that municipality says Councilor Shary Medina. Businessman, Alberto Palma, has already made the sign that he will be closed for the day.

 

Alberto Palma, Owner, Palma’s Lumber and Furniture Sale

“It’s just the things that are happening in our community and all over the country—the crime, the murders. In fact we have Minister Penner saying yesterday that he is going to be out there with us; he is in solidarity with us too. We are in solidarity with the people’s movement.”

 

Duane Moody

“Why sir? What is the importance of this? I know it is a loss of business; a loss of profits, you know. So why?”

 

Alberto Palma

“The way we see it, and I think that everyone should see it this way; life is more important than business and money. So we are going to be closing and we are asking the business community and  we think that we have the support of the business community.”

 

Shary Medina

Shary Medina

“We are saying, you know what, let’s put the money aside for Thursday and think about what we want to gain. We want to make sure that our community is back the way it used to be once upon a time—peaceful. We want to bring back that peaceful San Ignacio/Santa Elena. We don’t want the crime to continue in our twin towns.”

 

Carla Smith, Manager, Adorn Fashions

“We gonna fully support it and we have to slow down the crime. We need to slow down the crime and I hope the whole country should help us with this—the whole country because dah every district di goh through this. So we really need the country’s support of this.”

 

Monday’s protest and the proposed shutdown are in response to the recent murders of UB student, twenty year old Suzenne Martinez, and thirteen year old Jasmine Lowe.

 

Alberto Palma

“Everyone is asking what we can do? What can we do? But I think that by uniting and coming together, we can make a change; we can make a difference.”

 

Carla Smith

Carla Smith

“For the criminals to know that we are serious; we are serious. We want capital punishment; we need it.”

 

Shary Medina

“Once we let the criminals out there know that we mean business, then they will know how far to come. And they will know which line to cross. And we at as a council will not tolerate them.”

 

In light of the murders, the University of Belize, Galen University and Sacred Heart Junior College will be holding a torch run from Belmopan to Columbus Park also on Thursday starting at eight a.m.

 

Shary Medina

“On Thursday when they have the shutdown, these schools are doing a torch run beginning from Belmopan where students from UB will begin and then they will join the students in Galen. Galen will follow all the way through to Sacred Heart Junior College and the torch will be run up all the way in front of the Police Station by the Columbus Park where a gathering will be held and a rally and I believe that there will be some speeches based on the same violence and crime.”

 

Duane Moody

“The youths, the future of our country, they are making their voices heard.”

 

Shary Medina

“Yes and I believe so. Yesterday I was witness to that. I was out at the Columbus Park in solidarity and I witnessed and I said to myself, mien look at those students. Look how many students are there out of school just to fight crime. They want to make a difference in their community. They want to let the criminals know hey we are young, but we will not tolerate you. So the torch run will be handed to Suzenne’s mom on Thursday. She will be lighting a bigger torch and it is just like a small memorial for us to remember that Suzenne’s gone, but no matter what; the torch will be lit to show that we will not give up—that light will take us through the tunnel.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

 

This past Monday, hundreds of residents from the Twin Towns came out to signal their discontent with the crime wave and lack of solutions. 

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16 Responses for “Shutdown of Cayo as residents protest against crime”

  1. Storm says:

    I applaud Belizeans anywhere organizing to fight crime and restore security to the streets, even if they have to do it without help from police.

    Cayo seems to have some community leaders willing to make a difference. What ever happened to the efforts in Corozal to do the same kind of thing?

    I’ve said before, and I’ll put it here again, that any group of citizens that wants to learn how to organize their own patrols should look at http://www.guardianangels.org . They’re international, they’ve been around for more than 30 years, and they will help a community group get started for free.

  2. verymad says:

    All of Belize should go on strike then we will make a diference. Maybe then the goverment will do something. We all need to unite lets closed ower borders for one day. Chinees no sell fry chicken for one day. I wonder, what will happen? It sounds scary but maybe thats why we are how we are because we dont do nothing against crime and criminals. We need to do like Guatemala and other places linch them when caught.

  3. miss Chocolate says:

    Good job Cayo residents!!!!

  4. Rod says:

    Demand demand. That the useless impotent incompetent corrupt pm and all his ministers be their whey happen he is too good to be their does he just not care about what is happening in the country or is it that he is vacationing in Miami beach again. To bring Elrington to talk means nothing he is brain dead and giving away the country anyway so to bring him is totally useless . You need to bring he pm and minister of national security and others to get their @$$ up there and account for the useless judges and dpp shut down for a week the whole country should shut down for a week what’s more important your business or your child and family members ,to me their is no choice my family are far more important so close down for a week and the people in Belize city need to join in and close for a week until this useless pm and gov . Resign just remember your child or family member might be next. I am so proud of the people in cayo don’t stop now this gov. Just remember this pm and gov. Will lie lie lie so make sure their are specifics and if they are not met whoever told the lies be put in jail at the same time ask the pm why there is no one in jail for treason why why.

  5. BZNWC says:

    Communities need to work together to fight crime. If you are interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch Program or would like free information to help you, your family, and your business be safe check out http://www.bznwc.org

  6. Retired CEO says:

    This knda community action needs to happen Nationwide. It is crucial that the entire populace send a strong message to these bufoons in Belmopan.

  7. Disown mi country says:

    Every district should do the same. To the news media,when these strikes occur,especially a nationwide strike,broadcast& publish it internationally. Shame GOB.

  8. Chiquibul says:

    Cayo people; DO NOT ALLOW THE POLITICIANS TO USE LAME EXCUSES AND DIVIDE YOU. They are sending a Minister at a meeting to MAKE PROMISES! DEMAND ACTION NOW! NO MORE PROMISES! PEOPLE ARE DYING!

  9. BOB says:

    First of all, Rod you need to think before you write BS about our PM. The PM, The Police or you Rod can,t stop crime from happening but we can Pray we can keep doing rally to stop crime n still we will continue to see our country go down the drain because of crime. UNITY thats what we need. We all need to work together, if the opposition would try n work with the leading party n put they heads together n stop the name calling, people would get more involved in trying helping the police solve crime, but if the country in divide we will never make head way in this once peaceful country. If its capital punishment we want we the people can make happen. But w first have to unite n come together as 1 nation. GOD Bless Belize.

  10. air says:

    its a good start belizeans , rise up, go for complete public strike, and get your own money , which the thugs of Dean Barrow use to role you, stop paying tax, untill the so called the educated thiefs are gone.

    the thug Dean Barrow wants to impose his thug life on all Belizeans, stop him before its too late.

  11. Rod says:

    I guess because tha mostly Spanish that live in cayo unu no good enough fu make barrow come and take cre of all these murders going on in cayo well if unu no good enough fu barrow then he and his gov . Is not good enough to get ant taxes from unu demand that he be there what a useless pm and gov. It makes me sick. Then unu go gt this guy and hang him unuself because Elrington is useless its like sending a deft dumb and blind person to hear your demands.

  12. Rod says:

    Bob you are the one talking garbage I bet you are sitting in the us writing the garbage your writing because if you live in Belize then you’d know how we are living in hell so if you do live in Belize then you are just a plain moron.

  13. Genotu Rembiuos says:

    All in all we do NOT KNOW who killed these girls, no one has been convicted.
    But I am sure that Belizeans are not the criminals, we won`t kill like that.
    We don`t have the ….. to go about killing people!!!
    These days this country is infested with illegals, be it however they came in , a quicky nationality for a vote, through the bushes etc,etc. or whatever the way they came in, they are here and we do not know what criminals they are!!!
    So Belize is infested with people that we don`t know. Worst is chinese,OOOFS so much chinese in this country,they may not even have any legal standings in this country, but Belize is INFESTED with chinese people!!!
    OF COURSE THEY PAY THEIR WAY THROUGH , THEY HAVE MONEY, they take the best business and this !@#$%^& gov don`t give a !@#$ about that!!!

  14. very concerned says:

    We need forensics! That would help solve some of these crimes. Well….it also depends on who you put in the lab! Although sometimes all the evidence we need is obvious. Going back to the murder of Suzenne, the Star newspaper States that the boot print matched! He had some of her belongings on him! What else do you need Mr prosecuter? How did he get them? He must know something. He either did it or knows who did. Why was he hiding? Shows guilt! Come on! I felt grave anger when I found out he was released!! What are we doing? Come on! Go Cayo. Make your voices be heard! I agree with the post to remove the DPP! Maybe the prosecuter should go too! Lets not mention Dr Estradaban! So incompetent! I could not believe that criminals suspected of murders are set free…yet the little weed man goes to jail for almost life! Ridiculous! Where are your priorities?

  15. miss roxy says:

    does the school of belmopan have classes tooo ???????

  16. Max says:

    “Worst is chinese”

    Chinese are not criminals fool they mind their own business unlike your lazy jelous @$$. Only thing Chinese bother people with is they don’t speak good english and have bad manners when treating customers as customer service is not a part of their communist chinese tortured past where they came from.

    The criminals in this country are the dark thugs that take after the evil Jamaican culture they see on tv and in music, and the others are the ones who come into the country illegally from Honduras and Guatemala who worship satan in their Mayan gang ceremonies and feel nothing about killing. I would put money on it being one of the Mayan satanist gang types (ms 13, etc) who came from Honduras or Guatemala, you know them by studying carefully their tatoos as they never reveal their allegiance to Satan openly. These people are led to believe they will be forgiven for even murder itself due to the corrupt Roman Catholic pagan beliefs they combine with their satanic lusts for blood and power. The only way any of these people will stop is to find the True God through the Bible, repent of their sins and choose to change their lives even if it means they will be killed by other members of their gangs.

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