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Dec 28, 2016

A Bloody 2016 – News Five Takes a Look Back

One hundred and thirty-six murders have now been recorded for 2016, following the death of David Andrews on Friday. And while it is safe to say after a quiet Christmas weekend that the record established four years ago will not be touched, homicides continue to be a significant concern for the Police Department and for the society. News Five takes a look back at the year that was in relation to the spilling of blood. Aaron Humes reports.


Allen Whylie

Allen Whylie, Commissioner of Police [File: December 23rd, 2016]

“To my recollection we are at, I believe, a hundred and thirty-five murders, which is not where we would have wanted to be, and not where we had expected we would be at the end of December; we still have another week to go and that figure could change. I can tell you that many of the murders, especially of recent, have not only been heinous but senseless. We’ve had murders between friends drinking; we’ve had murders between friends speaking about religion; we’ve had persons people entering’ houses and senselessly shooting persons and those kinds of murders are difficult to prevent.”  


Aaron Humes, Reporting

While all murder is heinous and senseless, the words of Police Commissioner Allen Whylie five days ago hold true for most of the murders we have covered in 2016. Whether over gang rivalries like the high-profile slaying of Gerald “Shiny” Tillett in April, or the triple slayings over several hours on July sixth; or less explicable deaths like the triple homicide of Ian Sambula, Aaron Gabourel and Empress Hamilton by fire, criminals proved that there is no place to run, and no place to hide. And the latter is even truer for areas outside the Old Capital, as the Commissioner noted two months ago.


Allen Whylie [File: October 28th, 2016]

“The thing about the murders is that it is not only concentrated in Belize City, but we have seen murders increased across the entire country. And so it could be as a result of some displacement because of the various operations we have been doing in Belize City; and so we continue to look at that; I continue to urge the commanders to look at the most prolific criminals in their area, and let us continue to do operations with a view to get evidence against these people, to put them before the courts. I wouldn’t want to say gang warfare. There were some instances when members of rival gangs were involved with different shootings. We were able to solve some of those; some other cases are still pending [and] the investigations remain open. We continue to appeal to witnesses to come forward and the citizenry to continue to support their police officers. In regards to the Belize District – and I speak of the entire District – it shows that we’ve had fifty-seven murders at this point in time compared to fifty-nine murders at the same time last year. And so we are a little below, but the community policing efforts continue across the Belize District and across this entire nation.”


Much of the murder spree has been concentrated in the North and centre of the country: along the highway corridors and in Belmopan and San Ignacio especially. And while the gun continues to be the chief weapon used by the criminal element, other nefarious means were always available. All of that is why Minister of State Elodio Aragon Jr believes a full strategy must be established.


Elodio Aragon Jr.

Elodio Aragon Jr., Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs [File: October 28th, 2016]

“It’s not an easy situation to have been dealt with; if it had been an easy situation it would have been done a long time ago. But I am confident that by working together and sitting down and looking strategically at what needs to be done and how to deal with the situation, we can find resolutions or find ways and means by which we can reduce these things, and this is the task at hand. And it will always be a continuous task, because every year we have to deal with the issues; every day, the police are on the street dealing with these issues. And remember that most of these issues are from the public, from the community.”


Worst of all is the broken hearts left behind. For several mothers the pain proved to be almost too much to bear. Tyler Savery’s mother probably said it best after her son’s horrendous killing in November.


Shakera Young

Shakera Young, Mother of Tyler Savery [File: November 14th, 2016]

“What I am appealing to you mothers out there: Christian mothers, non-Christian mothers, believers, non-believers, there is a God and what I am fighting for now is humanity because our society has lost it. We has lost it, all of us have lost it. Look at what they are doing to my poor child. I will celebrate my son’s life and if it kills me, I will fight for peace in this country. I want to appeal to all the people that are influential to the society: the government, Mister Barrow, Misses Barrow, Mister Aragon, Mister Whylie, Miss Phillips…everybody; all of you that are influential to these people, these animals that are running the streets—you know who they are. And yes we are not able to say that yes they are the ones that did it, but you know who did it. You know and I know who did it. You know and I know who did it, but I will let their conscience be their guide. And I will let them go home every day; remember my face and they may know me and I just want them to know that they took away my happiness. But you didn’t take me away. Because what happened to Tyler…he was the calm before the storm and I am the storm and I am prepared to advocate for peace within this country.”


Aaron Humes reporting, for News Five.


The national murder rate has consistently hovered about thirty per one hundred thousand people, a benchmark known internationally to correspond to the toll taken by civil war.

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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