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Jul 26, 2021

Pressure for Police Reform Continues with Citizen Vigils and Petition

The rallies since the killing of fourteen-year-old Laddie Gillett in Placencia have persisted countrywide. Since last week and over the weekend, three communities have come out calling for constitutional and police reform.  Here’s Marion Ali with a summary of those events.


Marion Ali, Reporting

Eric Clapton’s rendition of the song “Tears in Heaven” set a somber mood in San Pedro on Saturday night as residents, dropped off lit candles at the Lion’s Den where a shrine in memory of Laddie Gillett stood.  Strictly adhering to COVID safety regulations, the residents held a motorcade to sound their displeasure over the youth’s killing.

On Friday evening, Belize City youths assembled at the Battlefield Park once again, led by We Walk As One Foundation and its founder, Brian Guardado. They say their protests are against not just one incident, but a string of tragedies that date back for years.


Brian Guardado

Brian Guardado, Founder, We Walk As One Foundation

“We’re not just out here for Laddie. We’re out here across the board for those who have been murdered over the years. It’s time for our youths to speak out and if you could see behind me, most of the people out here are youths.”


Hector Flores

Hector Flores, Protestor

“This is a problem that we’ve had in this country for way too long. Ever since I moved here I’ve known this is a problem, and it hurts my heart that it took the death of a fourteen-year-old – someone who is the exact age as my younger brother – it took the death of him for people to wake up and realize that it’s enough; we’ve had enough.”


Among those who decided that enough is enough and that his own presence at the rally was necessary was Patrick Herbert. He says he has sons who are also Laddie’s age.


Patrick Herbert, Protestor

“I have two young kids, seventeen and thirteen, and I could relate to this situation. Laddie da wa kid weh had everything fi look fa right. My kids da the same right soh it hit close to home.  I have to deh out ya. I compelled fid eh out ya.”


Patrick Herbert

There were also protestors who gathered at Centennial Park in Benque Viejo last Wednesday. Throughout the country, no matter where they live, their unified voices have called one thing in common – police reform.


Patrick Herbert

“We need our leaders fi do the right thing fi realize that the system broken. You need fi be true to yoh mandate – no police brutality, no police brutality, no police brutality!”


Reporting for News Five, I am Marion Ali.


Joining in the chorus for police reform is a group of citizens who are circulating a petition they plan to send to Prime Minister John Briceño.  They have called for a series of measures to be taken against police officers who they feel are no longer worthy of being in the force.  They have also called for the creation of an independent body to perform regular and random audits and inspections to ensure transparency, accountability and officer compliance with Belizean police professional code of conduct.  In addition, they have also called for intensive training of police officers on topics such as peaceful conflict resolution.

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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