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Jan 19, 2018

Benefit Concert for Fire Victims this Weekend

As many as thirty-eight persons, adults and children, have been left homeless due to raging fires in Belize City. This weekend, twenty-five artists and fifteen DJ’s are coming together in a benefit concert that will hopefully uplift the spirit of those affected as well as raise money to help them rebuild their homes. The idea of the production started for the victims of a fire on Flamboyant Street and then mushroomed to include the recent victims of Glenn Street.   News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports on the initiative.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The coming together of families and victims in the wake of tragedy is testament to our resilience as a people, despite the bad rap that the Belizean society continues to get due to rampant crime and violence.  Over the past month, there have been separate house fires that have left many residents displaced, including Emmett Baptist.  His home on Flamboyant Street was gutted just four days before Christmas.  So too were the homes of nine others.  The adjoined bungalow apartments where they all lived were destroyed by a raging fire caused by a minor who is said to have been playing with matches in the bedroom of the second unit.  Baptist and his children lost everything in the blaze.


Emmett ‘Dada’ Baptist

Emmett ‘Dada’ Baptist, Fire Victim

“From di fyah happen, di next day I start move round and di try link with people who I know, try ask this one fi help, so I put it out pan Facebook and everything.  So far di help dehn di come but ih noh di come di way how we woulda mi expect it, fi mi like get back wahn lee house.  Di help noh di come da way deh, so I decide that I haffi try do it pan my own.”


That proactive approach has led Dada, a once popular local talent, to seek help in putting together a benefit concert featuring a lineup of Belizean artists.  The idea is to raise funds to begin the rebuilding process.


Emmett ‘Dada’ Baptist

“I experience fyah, my house gutted and I lose everything.  When I tell yo everything, I lose everything, yo check.  So I just di try do wah fundraising now fi build back my house and get pan my foot.  So I put together twenty-five ah di best artists from Belize and fifteen deejays and I di have wahn fundraising event, wahn Belizean concert da di Swift Hall pan di twentieth a January 2018.”


While the gears are in motion to make this event successful, eight families on the other side of town are still coming to terms with their losses.  An inferno on Glenn Street in the early hours of Wednesday morning, decimated three wooden structures.  Those houses accommodated as many as twenty-eight persons, including nine-year-old Jonathan Murillo.  They too have lost everything and are being sheltered elsewhere in the city.


Jonathan Murillo

Jonathan Murillo, Fire Victim

“Dehn ker we to MCC, dehn give we beds, things fu mek we stay safe and then when we come ova ya dehn give we clothes fu mek we wear and da fu we school dehn give we bags and things fu mek we go da school, but Monday we wahn go da school.”


Isani Cayetano

“How has it been like for you guys, seeing as though you’ve lost everything in the fire and you’re trying to start your life over again.  How difficult has it been for your mother and your father?”


Jonathan Murillo

“Difficult sir, because ih hard fu find wahn house.”


Not having somewhere to call home certainly takes a mental and emotional toll on any fire victim, as they are at the mercy of friends and family, as well as Good Samaritans.  It’s a feeling Baptist can readily relate to.


Emmett ‘Dada’ Baptist

“I know di other day wahn fyah happen da Glenn Street, right.  And like I tell yo, I know how ih feel fi lose everything, so I know how dehn people di feel.  I could seh I know how dehn di feel.  I mi done put dis event together, right.  I mi done have this event set up fi try get myself together.  Outta this event weh I do, I wahn tek wah lee portion outta this event and I wahn try reach out to the eight families weh loss.  But pan di same hand I wahn try reach to dehn and mek we sihdown round wahn table and try put wahn fundraising together fi dehn now, fi try mek dehn could sell wahn lee barbecue or wahn turkey dinner or anything weh we could get together and try do wahn fundraiser so unu could try get back unu life on line, Dada D deh with dat too fu support dehn fully too.”


Being displaced is most often an inconvenience, particularly since one has grown accustomed to their individual space.  Not having a home is affecting Jonathan and his siblings.


Jonathan Murillo

“Ih feel different because at home you do different things.  We play.  Over there we can’t play because we could get hurt.”


Isani Cayetano

“How many of you guys are over there at the MCC?  Is it all twenty-eight people?”


Jonathan Murillo

“Maybe.  I noh if da twenty-eight.  Dah like thirty people, I think.”


If there is a silver lining to this dark cloud that has befallen Baptist is the fact that he has now made himself a champion for the cause of assisting fellow fire victims.


Emmett ‘Dada’ Baptist

“I wahn mek myself afta this, offer fi anybody, noh only da set ah fyah people, anybody weh have wahn lee fyah weh experience wahn lee fyah or weh get burn out, mek we come together and mek we try raise funds and help each other.  Each one help each one.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.


You can do your part by attending the event.  The cover charge of ten dollars will go directly towards the purchasing of construction materials.  Attendees are also encouraged to donate non-perishable food items and clothing.

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 “Benefit Concert for Fire Victims this Weekend”

  1. Marwaione says:

    While I am sorry for your inconvenience i blame parents for not paying attention to their kids and teaching them the danger of playing with matches. Good luck on your fundraiser.

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