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Jan 2, 2019

A Reputed Gang Boss is Terminated on New Year’s Day

Joseph Babb

The Belize District had the distinction at the close of 2018 as the most murderous area in the Jewel.  The New Year is not shaking off that black eye and gang warfare is threatening Belize City. Twenty-year-old Joseph Babb, the leader of the Backalands Crips, was executed on Blue Marlin Boulevard where he was hanging out. Babb was shot multiple times and though he attempted to elude his killer, he met a bloody death. While police are not linking the murder to a rival gang in his neighborhood, all hands are on deck to avoid retaliation. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The gangland execution of twenty-year-old Joseph Babb is the first murder to be recorded in Belize City on New Year’s Day.  The well-known street figure was socializing a long way from his Lake Independence neighborhood when he was viciously attacked.  Despite an attempt to run for his life, the BLC boss was pursued by an assailant who fired numerous rounds at him.  Babb fell dead a short distance away on Blue Marlin Boulevard.

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Acting Commissioner of Police

“The third murder for the year took place in the Old Capital where police were called sometime after four p.m. yesterday to Blue Marlin Boulevard where they saw the lifeless body of Joseph Babb who is a resident of Jones Street, Belize City with multiple gunshot injuries to the body.  He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.”

 

Babb, the presumed head of the Backalands Crips, was a close friend of Dianne Finnegan.  When she made her foray into electoral politics in 2018, he was instrumental in her campaign leading up to the U.D.P. convention in Lake Independence.  The aspiring politician recalls the first time she met Babb through her gang mediation efforts.

 

Dianne Finnegan

Dianne Finnegan, Family Friend

“My first encounter with Joseph was in 2016, when Chester, myself and Nuri were doing this intervention to try and bring these gangs together and to create this atmosphere of peace within this nation.  And Joseph’s mom called Chester and she was experiencing some challenging times with him, rebellion and that kind of thing, because it’s a young man and she asked that we do an intervention with him.”

 

That session brought the parties together and Finnegan has kept in touch with the Babb family ever since.  So, too, has Deputy Commissioner of Police Chester Williams.  At today’s press briefing, the first for 2019, the Acting ComPol told the media that investigators do have an idea of what may have precipitated the New Year’s Day hit, but that the assumed motive would not be made public as yet.

 

Chester Williams

“At this time, we have our theory where this murder is concerned but we have not been able to confirm so we are not going to reveal a motive at this time.  But, the CIB personnel are on the ground investigating and trying to see what can be uncovered in order to be able to assist in the solving of this homicide.”

 

Last November, Finnegan ran against three other candidates to become the standard bearer for the constituency.  The move united two rival gangs in the area and for the first time PIV and Backalands, under the leadership of Joseph Babb, were able to set aside their differences to assist Finnegan with her campaign activities.

 

Dianne Finnegan

“When I made the decision to run for politics, I said I’d call two people that were influential in the area that could advise me and guide me at the same time.  Based on what they said then I would go forward or give it all up.  So I called Battery from PIV and I called Joseph from Backalands and instantly, without any questions, Joseph, besides agreeing and supporting and pledging his hundred percent to support me, he said, “Miss D, I am just going to ask you one favor.  If you could get together the two sides so that we can work together with you because I don’t want any problems.”

 

And so, for that sake, the feuding groups were able to bury the hatchet.  Later that month, they were brought together once again to discuss the progress of their ceasefire.

 

Brandon “Battery” Smit

Brandon “Battery” Smith, PIV Bloods

“Basically da fi keep di peace and gain wahn lee bit ah trust then we wahn move forward from deh.”

 

Voice of: Randy August

“Once yo di mek paper yo noh wahn di worry bout beef, yo noh wahn got no time fi like do next thing, yoh know weh a mean.”

 

Brandon Smith

“Well I think ih wahn benefit young people because di most thing weh dehn di talk bout da jobs fi di youth dehn because nuff youth out ya wahn work but nobody di give dehn wahn chance.  Whateva positive things dehn got I willing fi join, ah willing fi get een.”

 

Dianne Finnegan

“I spoke with the two leaders, Battery and Joseph and without hesitation, this was, again, based on their request and both agreed and brought out the guys at a setting where you would think that you would need police protection.  Look at them.  And so this is where it all begins, bringing the community together.”

 

And that unity may now be fractured with the shooting death of Babb.  The Belize Police Department is taking no chances and has since ramped up its efforts at preventing any reprisals in the wake of this gang-related homicide. 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 “A Reputed Gang Boss is Terminated on New Year’s Day”

  1. 123school says:

    Isn’t it illegal to be in a gang in Belize? How irresponsible to glorify illegal activities!
    These men are drug peddlers and murderers and yet you speak of them as though they are legitimate contributing members of society. Do you even know or understand your responsibilities as an independent media? A new low. really. a bran new low.

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