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Apr 21, 2005

Shopkeepers assess damage

Story PictureWhen the sun rose on an exhausted and anxious Belize City, it became clear the downtown area was not the only part of town hit by vandals. News Five’s Patrick Jones made the rounds this morning as business owners began the sad and sober task of cleaning up their property and assessing the damage.

Patrick Jones, Reporting
Business owners were literally picking up the pieces of their shattered establishments on Thursday morning following the previous night?s looting.

Proprietors of Texaco gas station at the foot of the Bel-China Bridge worked through the night to clean up the mess left after a vandals threw rocks through the huge plate glasses at the front of the establishment to gain entrance.

Once inside, they proceeded to disable the security camera system. A cash register was busted up, snacks were cleaned out and the beverage cooler did not escape the invasion.

Over at the Texaco station at the Pound Yard Bridge, also owned by the Rancharan family, the vandals broke down the glass door and helped themselves to motor oils and expensive chocolates, which were collected in the casing of a busted television set to be carried away.

Apparently they thieves could not get away with their loot as the police showed up and caught a couple of the vandals inside the gas station and arrested them.

Manager Odovia Rancharan says quick work by the police prevented a bigger loss to her operation.

Odovia Rancharan, Manager, Texaco
?That is terrible. That is very sad to see, because we working so hard. We sympathize with these people but I don?t think we should have been targeted. I mean this is out of line. We know what is happening, we approve all of this, we agree with them, but that should not have been an opportunity and a reason to go vandalizing stores.?

Patrick Jones
?How badly has this affected the stations??

Odovia Rancharan
?Well my station I cleaned up last night, so I was ready for the public this morning. My children they had it worse over at Bel-China. They had it very hard, they had to stay up the whole night and try to be ready for the public in the morning. So it is a shock, it is very sad I am very, very disappointed at our people because that?s not the way to go. That?s not the way to go.?

The looters, apparently operating in an ad hoc group, also hit another business establishment on the Southside. It too had a security camera.

After the first stone was thrown through the front glass, shattering it, looters made their way in and helped themselves to whatever they could get their hands on. Some people were seen jumping behind the counter and trying to get at a safe that was kept there. Management has estimated that actual damage, including items stolen, does not amount to a lot of money.

At the foot of the Pound Yard Bridge, the owner of Pacheco and Son?s jewellery shop told News Five that he lost ten thousand dollars worth of jewellery when his establishment was vandalised.

On West Street, this warehouse belonging to Cosmetic Corner was ravished by looters. The owner estimates that his loss is in the vicinity of two hundred thousand dollars.

At sixteen Orange Street, looters broke through a glass window on the West Street side of the building and helped themselves to everything from clothing, to shoes, to electronic items.

While armed B.D.F. soldiers kept a watchful eye on Orange Street, affected merchants started consultation with their insurers and told News Five they will rebuild.

In addition to the businesses damaged by the violence last night, numerous shops throughout the city were closed today as a precaution and their premises secured against possible attack tonight. There was heightened police and B.D.F. presence all over the city today, particularly in the downtown area where armed patrols walked the streets.


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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