Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Economy, People & Places, Social Issues » Saint Martin’s One Stop Auto Care – a Second Chance for Former Gangsters, Criminals
Dec 15, 2020

Saint Martin’s One Stop Auto Care – a Second Chance for Former Gangsters, Criminals

A second phase of the Empowering Communities to Empower Themselves initiative, funded by the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs grant, was launched today. Months ago, in the Yarborough community, a life skills centre was created to help empower members of the community to become entrepreneurs and to turn their backs to a life of crime.  This time, in the Saint Martin’s community and in the form of an auto care shop, young men who were once caught up in the criminal justice system are being given a second chance. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

The Saint Martin’s One Stop Auto Care was officially opened for business today. It is located on Partridge Street Extension in Belize City. A vacant plot of land in the community will be transformed into an economic project for the area – zoning in on the youth. The business is aimed at creating entrepreneurial opportunities for former gang members and persons who were caught up in the criminal justice system.


Albert Clother

Albert Clother, Manager, Saint Martin’s One Stop Auto Care

“The impact it is going to have in the community is some of the guys are going to have a regular job. We also try to work with some of the youths in the community to keep them away from crime and violence so that they don’t have to make the same mistakes we made or go down the same road we went.”


Japhet Bennett, Supervisor, Saint Martin’s One Stop Auto Care

“I always look at dreams and opportunities. I like make goals and plans and try be successful so for me, this will be a good success for us, for me personally. I always liked things like this, put myself to new challenges and try become something different.”


According to Japhet Bennett and Albert Clother, they are seen as role models by the youth in the community and they want to lead by example, so the intension is to inspire them so that turning to criminal activity is not an option.


Japhet Bennett

Japhet Bennett

“People look up to we. So we come out and all the younger generation see we di work and dah like how you di work and dehn say this about you. So when dehn see we di work, dehn come around. You know people like chase kids, come man, come play. That dah weh we like; we like opportunities to come. So from yo young, yo wah di grow up di learn; [and] noh di learn fi do stupidness.”


Albert Clother

“It’s time for us to return the favour to the younger generation and show them and teach them the same way that we learned.”


The initiative is part of a wider project by the U.S. Embassy in Belize along with partners to empower communities to empower themselves. Chargé d’Affaires Keith Gilges says that it is the second of three new community resource hubs. The first was in the Yarborough area and the third, which is expected to be launched in the months ahead, will be in the George Street area.


Keith Gilges

Keith Gilges, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy in Belize

“Over a five-month period, we’ve been able to put some money towards it; Kolbe the people and it is really about giving these folks a second chance. People that have often been stigmatized because they’ve done time in prison, or they have been part of gangs, but they themselves have chosen a new path. So this programme is all about giving them that second chance.”


Kolbe Foundation is also involved in the project. Francisco Woods, who jokingly dubbed himself as the Minister of Second Chances, says that it is the aim to have inmates transition back into society and become successful.


Francisco Woods

Francisco Woods, Kolbe Foundation

“When men can come out of the foundation with lots of knowledge and good heart and willing to go – full of hope, full of life and high spirits.  Then they come into a community that is not receptive to them; they fall into a community that got to the Kolbe Foundation in the first place, so we quickly realized that we had to add reintegration into the mission statement and that we did. This right here is an exact example of what we are trying to do. Trying to reach out, create a location, a hub so that when an inmate comes out of Kolbe Foundation, they can go somewhere that will be friendly that will be understand that will give them a chance.”


So the next time you need your vehicle detailed, a wash or even a fix, reach out to Saint Martin’s One Stop Auto Care


Albert Clother

“We will be offering full auto care. You could come and get your oil changed. If you have a problem with your vehicle, you could come over, we will diagnose the problem and fix it and we try to get the parts for everyone as cheap as possible because over the years, this is what we do, mechanic. So we work with some of the other places that sell auto parts. So we get it for a cheaper rate. So that’s what we are trying to provide – a cheaper service and better quality.”


Duane Moody 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.

Advertise Here

Comments are closed