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Mar 6, 2018

Four of nation’s youngest dead in two weeks; many more scarred

It has been a deadly child Stimulation Month so far in which two children lost their young lives in violent and despicable circumstances. Before that, two others perished in gun violence. Today, at a City pre-school, teachers had to explain to young children why one of their own would no longer be at school. At home, a parent wrestled with the pain that the childhood of her son was taken in a matter of seconds to gun violence. Tonight News Five’s Isani Cayetano takes a look at how stray bullets are killing innocent children.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The bane of gun-related crimes which continues to plague our small Belizean society is having a most profound effect on our children.  Not only are they victims and witnesses to these traumatic events, the mental and emotional anguish seems to go unmeasured.  Over the past two weeks, a wave of gun violence has inundated the Old Capital, leaving in its wake a backwash of blood, the vital life force of our youngest generation.


Aimee Jex

, Counselor

“We are looking at a society of children who grow up with trauma, trauma from many angles.  We have domestic violence at home that many of our children live with throughout our country.  We have the gun violence that a lot of our children specifically in our urban areas grow up with.  I remember a talk I did last year, a little talk I did with some children and majority of them are accustomed to gunfire and that is scary.”


But it is a reality, one that an eyewitness to the murder of Jermaine Carr on February twenty-eighth is all too familiar with.  The fourteen-year-old girl, I would later learn in an interview, had been exposed to gun violence prior to the deadly shooting that claimed Carr’s life and seriously injured a toddler.


Isani Cayetano

“In terms of being in this yard during that gunfire, where were you?”



“I mi di come eena my granny house because I just mi come from mek food fi I eat and I di come eena my granny house when I witness it, cause I mi di walk right to di front door.”


Isani Cayetano

“Were you traumatized by what you saw, I mean you’re fairly young, I don’t know that being in an incident such as this is something that is familiar to you?  I presume you it’s your first time, right?  Okay, it’s not your first time.  Talk to us about your experience having dealt with these kinds of incidents.”



“Well I just try forget bout it because then I dah wahn person weh nightmares dat every time dat come to me.  So I just, dat da di reason why when ih happen I noh look pan di body.  I look pan it one time because then I da like wait, I cyant believe da Jermaine get shot.  And when I gaan and I lean ova di veranda da then I sih dat da he deh pan di ground.”


One-year-old Gregory Mena is recovering from a gunshot injury to the right foot.  Doctors say he may not be able to walk properly.


Isani Cayetano

“You mentioned one-year-old Gregory Mena got injured, correct?  Three of his toes were damaged as a result of the bullet hitting him.  What are the doctors saying?  What can you tell us about Gregory Mena’s condition?”



“Well my auntie text dis mawnin or call sohn one ah my next auntie dehn and seh dat dehn haftu wait fi mek di docta come een, the specialist come een fi deal with Gregory because dehn noh even know if he could walk yet and need fi go eena surgery.  Soh dat da all weh we know right now.”


The month of March is celebrated annually as Child Stimulation Month.  Teshawn Goff is the most recent casualty, he just participated in a parade kicking off the festivities last Thursday.  His classmates at Port Loyola Community Preschool are now left to mourn his death.  Four children have either lost their lives or have been critically injured in the days leading up to March.


Giovannie Brackett

Giovannie Brackett, Uncle of Deceased

“This month has just been a very terrible month.  It’s supposed to be Child Stimulation Month, we’ve had a twelve-year-old died, I think about two or three other minors, one grazed, one lost three of the toes.  Now this baby made the fourth, he’s dead.”


Teshawn Goff, like David Morrison, Gladimir Avelar and Gregory Mena are all victims of circumstance.  With the exception of seventeen-month-old Allyssa Nunez who was reportedly raped and struck over the head causing her death, they were all innocently injured during shooting incidents in Belize City.  The spate has prompted UNICEF to speak out forcefully.


Dr. Susan Kasedde, UNICEF Country Representative, Belize

Dr. Susan Kasedde

“We’ve seen the series of reports of children, children finding themselves in the way of essentially criminal activity.  We need to address the issue of gun violence in terms of access to arms and control of these arms.  We need to address the issue of corruption that underlies the situation that  has allowed these arms to be so readily accessible and utilized on the streets to violate the right to life for children and adults.  And so again, we need a holistic response.  The first thing is acknowledging the issue, calling it by name and ensuring that there is accountability in the law enforcement whose duty it is to protect and to address the issue of proliferation of arms.  To ensure that there is accountability on the people that have failed in their duty to protect and ensure that that is really used to reinforce the faith, restore the faith in the community that something will be done and that this is not the direction that we are going to go as a community.”


The string of unrelated gun crimes began on the evening of February twenty-first, claiming the life twelve-year-old David Morrison, a student of Queen Street Baptist School.  His grieving mother describes the emotional toll his murder has had on his teenage sibling.


Isani Cayetano

“And how are his other siblings, your other kids taking this tragedy?”


Linda Whylie

Linda Whylie, Mother of Deceased

“Well, the oldest one, he da di one weh, he cyant tek it.  Cause then we just lose our grandmother first of December and then we lose our grandmother uncle last month and now my baby this month.  So we, da like death back to back to back, so ih kinda rough, but di oldest one he really di tek it so he done seh, he done messed up eena life already, why da mi neva he instead ah di lee one weh have his whole life in front ah he weh noh staat his life yet.  And he tell me, he seh, “Mommy, I done messed up my life already, why da neva just me dehn kill and just get it over with than fu tek my lee bredda weh noh staat ih life yet?” And he like, he cyant handle it cause he dah noh dehn, he cyant handle death and emotions and dehn thing deh, he cyant control.”


Isani Cayetano reporting for News Five.

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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2 Responses for “Four of nation’s youngest dead in two weeks; many more scarred”

  1. Rod says:

    Unu deserve anything unu get fu being so stupid go ahead vote for udp again now babies are dying.

  2. James Ferguson says:

    The problem in Belize, is that the Politicians and everyone else, are only concern about making lots of money. However, at some point, the Tourism Industries will start to decline, because of all the Violence happening in Belize.. There is nothing FUN happening in Belize, at night it looks like a Ghost Town, nowhere to go. And the Citizens, are Scared to leave their Homes!

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