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Feb 20, 2002

Grandmaster says “Hang ‘em high”

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As a man whose name is synonymous with the mean streets of the Belize City ghetto, you would think that Leroy Young, better known as Grandmaster, would speak with a voice of compassion for those around him who happen to be sitting on death row. Perhaps, but this morning at Battlefield Park, the Grandmaster sounded more like Dirty Harry than Mahatma Ghandi. Tonight we reproduce his performance in full.

Grandmaster, Reciting Rap Poetry

“The biggest criminal in the whole world

dah politics and politicians.

Yuh see, every five years,

di same circus come dah town,

The only ting new, deh bring some diffrent set a clown.

Now, deh se Set Belize Free

From what?

I se heng them high.

No at this rate, I se capital punishment should be reinstate

It’s neva too late.

Inmate di chop off inmate han

Inmate di murdah and sodomise next inmate

At that rate in the justice system,

I have no faith.

They make us love to hate,

Yer the victim family cry, why

Well I se heng them high.

Bwoy di kill bwoy fi deh bike and chicken,

Bwoy di kill bwoy fi anything and nothing

Walking around boasting, I’m not joking

I se heng them high.

This madness no stop

Some neck have to pop

Suppose dah wah love one close to you,

me or anyone a we they dus up like that?

We wah want revenge,

I se heng them high.

Human Rights Commission

I undastand weh they di come from

we are all human

But sometimes you have to look di next direction

England, Privy Council and Court of Appeal

let’s be real, they no know what it like,

they no know di lickin weh we di feel

It is written in the word that the almighty high,

a tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye

I se heng them high.

Sometime yuh forgive and end up with regretting

there’s no forgetting the loved one that’s gone missing,

but we must go on living.

Now in this life of give and take,

We give them too much break,

Fi God sake

Fi we pickney, pickney futures at stake

I se heng them high.

Now Battlefield dah the foundation

ah the people constructive revolution

Dah fah yah it start

But there’s a saying that goes like this

It’s not from whence it begin, it’s where it end

but some people live inna the past,

they no even know when the present fly pass they ass.

if yuh belittle the past yuh lost,

then you cannot justify di present

that’s like breaking the ten commandments,

Which in turn if yuh no learn yuh wah get burn

And we di get burn cause we wah jeopardise the future.

Then dah mi when, but no I no se how.

Then dah when we had law and ahda

But no, I no se how.

Then dah when Creole mi di work together

When we mi di love and help wi neighbah

But now, I no se how.

Then religious beliefs, race and colour neva really matta

Then, thing mi alright

Ih neva all this tight

now and then you and yuh neighbah quarrel and fight

but now, I no se how.

Then yuh could ah mi go anyway

Walk the street night or day without fear

but now you dare

Now you have to di bolt down yuh door

and lock up yuh window,

di live in yuh house like a virtual prisonah.

Then we neva had the corruption, the TV

Then we had Eden, Palace, Majestic and Bel Rio

To relax and ketch matinee.

Kong fu with Jimmy, Cheng Cheng and Bruce Lee

but now I no se how.

Then fi we lee pickney neva mi di stay out pan the street late,

Dah drink tea, pee-pee and get dah yuh bed by eight straight

But now, I no se how.

Then only police and soldier mi di carry weapon

Now everybody got one

from the judge to the nun to the preacha man

Crips and Bloods di gang bang

Belizeans di murdah Belizeans

Drugs di flow from all direction

Now look how far we are,

even the church have to put on burglar bar, star.

Thank you.”

Viewers should note that the death penalty for the crime of murder is still the law of the land in Belize. However, owing to various decisions in cases brought before the Privy Council in London, a strict time limit has been imposed as to how long inmates can stay on death row before their sentence must be commuted. With the appeal process taking so long, many convicted murders manage to beat the time limit and thus have their sentence changed to life imprisonment.

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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