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Aug 9, 2016

Gang Leaders Turned Humanitarians

All hands are on deck in the ongoing recovery process in the wake of Hurricane Earl that caused untold destruction around the country.  In the city, where the brunt of the category one hurricane was experienced, agencies such as NEMO and the Red Cross are working tirelessly to bring relief to affected residents. But earlier today, we found out that help also came from an unlikely source. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The plight of the displaced, a handful of destitute families on the south side of Belize City that have lost everything in the wake of Hurricane Earl, engages attention and sympathy.  Interaction with them also allows others to identify readily with the problems and situations that they are faced with.  It’s midday here at Saint Luke Methodist Primary School and a group of homeless mothers, along with a gaggle of children, has formed a line inside the library waiting to be served lunch.


This experience is one we’ve shared on numerous occasions, the only difference today is that these families are being visited by other members of society who are frowned on.


Tyrone Meighan

Tyrone Meighan, Participant, Gang Intervention Program

“Taking my time out today to come here and see all the homeless people here right now, well ih kinda touch mih heart, you know, and I da wahn human being like everybody else.  I have feelings, I have thinking and I have thoughts like everybody else, you know, fi si di people dehn like dat, you know, without help.”


Tyrone Meighan, as most would know, has had a history of run-ins with the law.  Over the years, he has amassed quite a lengthy rap sheet, one which includes a charge for murder.  The most recent allegation is in connection with an aggravated burglary at the home of Lebanese Consul Sarkis Abou Nehra in Burrell Boom.  Despite his numerous indictments, Meighan is working closely with the Belize Police Department.  His appearance at the hurricane shelter is in the capacity of a participant with the Gang Intervention Program.


Chester Williams

ACP Chester Williams, Regional Commander, Eastern Division South

“In furthering this initiative, I partnered with the guys from the streets.  We have Mr. Underwood from South Side and Mr. Meighan from Banak Street.  I know often times the public looks at these young men as monsters and think that there is nothing productive that could come out of them in life.  So this again is to show the public that these young people are human beings just like us and the same way how we deserve an opportunity to be able to survive is the same way that they too deserve an opportunity to be able to survive.”


Alex Underwood, who was indicted in April 2013 for an attempt on the lives of two police officers, is now working closely Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams.


Alex Underwood

Alex Underwood, Participant, Gang Intervention Program

“Dis da wah joy fi be part ah dis.  I neva deh eena wah situation like dis before and I… da wah good feeling and I di enjoy it right now and I just wahn continue weh we di do with Mister Williams because di crime slow down and I feel more better knowing that I noh have to go bury none ah my friend dehn or nothing or I haffi really di watch out dehn kinda way deh right now.  Di police dehn di guide we, provide security fi we 24/7 and we just wahn continue work with Mr. Williams and make sure everything continue just like how ih di go.  We wah try fi we best fi noh bruk dis up or try go shoot nobody out deh.  We just wahn stand firm and work with Mister Williams til everything work out and go di way how we want it.”


The eye opener for these well-known figures represents sort of a watershed moment for both men.  Many of those whom they are accused of having robbed or harmed, are perhaps in a similar predicament as the hurricane victims who are left indigent.


ACP Chester Williams

“I would want that people look at this and try to see these young men in a different light rather than the way how we are accustomed to seeing them because each and every one of them are good in their own way.  Yes there may have been things that occurred in the past but myself with my intervention team has been working diligently with these men and I guess you can see the results on our streets and they are working with us to see how we can mitigate the crime situation on south side Belize City and we applaud the effort that they have been doing in putting aside their personal differences for the better good of our community.”


In a moment of clarity, Meighan candidly speaks of his past, admitting that all the proceeds he may have earned from a life of crime has been spent on fighting the justice and penal systems.


Tyrone Meighan

“The income weh we get haffi go to lawyer, haffi go to di court, haffi go to jail, haffi go to yoh peoples dehn fi come up da jail fi cohn sih yo.  So ih noh mek no sense ah di crime, yo undastand.  Dah like weh I seh, me eena my life, I neva have opportunities like everybody else eena life so my opportunity dah mi di street and di street feed me, di street, you know, dat clothe me, dat feed me, dat, you know… Dah noh like if I could just go da wahn job and seh dat yeah I employed or whatever, yo dig.  Da just me, you know.  And fi mek Mr. Williams di cohn every time and di tek ih time out and you know… And from Mr. Williams start this intervention and all dehn meetings I sih wahn improvement too.  I know di crime rate stop, nobody noh di get shot.  Di otha day da mi two three murders fi di day, three murders fi di week.  And like weh I seh, di man di do wahn good thing and I applaud di man yoh know because di man really, really mek wahn change from ih come eena di south side and mek wahn change eena Belize City ihself, di city ihself.”


Isani Cayetano

“Now Tyrone, let me break you for a minute there.  Are you playing your part?  I know you’ve commended Mr. Williams’ effort and he’s done a lot.  What are you doing personally?  If you don’t mind me asking.”


Tyrone Meighan

“Me personally di stay outta trouble.  Me personally noh eena di newscast fi quite a while now, from ah get released offa di murder.  Deh mi di try frame mi fi wahn rape situation, weh yo done know dat neva work out, yoh know.  The test dehn gaan through, dehn mi di try frame me and thing yo know, I try stay outta lick way you know, at the same time too like weh ah sehe, ah noh di look fi leff mi guard down.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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1 Response for “Gang Leaders Turned Humanitarians”

  1. phillis says:

    Wolf in sheep clothing…He and his brother set up his friend percival to kill Mr Usher.. Mr Usher was one of the nicest person around mayflowers. He wasnt a gang member like these thugs. Once a gang always a gang member. Dont let him fool u .

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