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Aug 11, 2021

Part 2 of Paul Lopez report on the killing of Laddie Gillett, Shemar Nicholas and Kwame Williams

In Tuesday’s newscast we brought you part one of a story on the murders of three teenage boys within the last three weeks. The stories of their lives and circumstances of their deaths may differ, but these incidents have Belizeans asking themselves what we can do to prevent the loss of other young lives. Tonight Paul Lopez brings you part two of his special report.


Paul Lopez reporting

Laddie Gillett’s death in particular struck a chord with both young people and the wider community. Protests were organized across the country in the wake of Laddie Gillett’s death. These protests were geared specifically at reform in police department.


John George, Laddie’s Football Coach

John George

“The reality is a fourteen-year-old young man with so much creativity and ability is no longer here with us on planet earth. And I believe the reality of that right there should be enough for all of us as role models and society to really begin to rise up and say there must be a change in the way we do things.”


The incident did cause a police response. Just days after Laddie’s death, the department announced plans to implement a child interaction policy.


ACP Bart Jones

ACP Bart Jones, Commander, Compliance Department

“There is yes the need for us to look at how we treat with minors, generally. I am happy to say that soon to be released to the department is a policy on child interaction policy that we have been working on, that we recognize that at different levels police officers are interacting with children.”


The nation’s response to the death of sixteen-year-old Shemar Nicholas and fourteen-year-old Kwame Williams was different– some might even say indifferent.  There were no mass protests or widespread calls for reform.


Margaret Nicholas, Executive Director, NCFC

Margaret Nicholas

“I believe one of the problems with our society is that we are very reactive. We react to a lot of things. We are not as proactive as we ought to be, because we should be looking at being proactive and prevention instead of cure. It is difficult to heal a wound that is cut too deep. It will rot and I think that is basically where we are when we look at how young the criminals are.”

Paul Lopez

“As a society, what is our responsibility? What is our right and just role in the lives of these young people?”


Margaret Nicholas

“The call has to come to all of us. We all have a responsibility. It is unfortunate that we have moved away from what use to be a community and a village raising children. Notwithstanding that, we all have the responsibility. These children are my children, your children, everybody’s children. And, these days we see that it is coming to our doors.”


Our discussion with the Director at NCFC revealed that the issue of child protection is a complex one, requiring a multi-faceted approach from all sectors of society. And the Minister of Youth, Kevin Bernard, agrees that there is a need for greater avenues of support to children.


Kevin Bernard

Kevin Bernard, Minister of Sports, Youth and E-Governance

“I offer my condolences to all these young children, whether to gun violence, whether they have gone out there and done something wrong, and in the case of Laddie who died at the hands of the police because of another issue. I mean, we are a young nation and we should be able to look at opportunities for our young people. There should be avenues where these young people can come and get support.”


Margaret Nicholas

“As a Commission our mandate is to adhere to compliance on the Convention on the Rights of the Child. And, if we are to comply then it means that children should be afforded all the right they deserve. We should be able to get all our partners and duty bearers to be in compliance. That is not an easy thing to do.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez

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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