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May 4, 2022

Was teenager killed over a ticket?

In a release issued today, the Minister of Youth, Sports and Transport and the Minister of State along with the National Sports Council express heartfelt condolences to the Rodriguez family on the loss of Chris Anthony Rodriguez. The release says that the unfortunate incident occurred at one of its sporting facilities and that the sports council is working closely with the police department in their investigation. At this time, relatives are questioning the new fees that were introduced in early March of this year.  According to the family, that is what sparked the altercation that led to the death of the teenager. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Emotions are running high – not only from the family, but also the community – because they believe that the promising youth was murdered for something as trivial as a ticket to use the facility.


Manuel Rodriguez, Father of Deceased

Manuel Rodriguez

“It’s the ridiculous the way he died because how can you charge at a football field or a stadium without telling people or having someone there responsible and act mature enough to just react. He could have simply said, “Chris, we charge a fee to enter here. Have you bought your ticket? Or give him a break. Probably he didn’t know they were charging a fee to enter the stadium. You have to give and take give people consideration. You can’t just react over one stupid ticket you didn’t bought.”


Carlos Rodriguez

Carlos Rodriguez, Uncle of Deceased

“These guys are trying to do something positive and yet you are going to charge the kids to go and practice. You are discouraging them from doing what they love. So this is my point why I am upset. I don’t know if FIFA, town council or who is the person or sports council give them authority or order to charge. And if you charge, say it, out it in writing or put it outside in writing so that kids are aware.”


Back in March of this year, the National Sports Council which manages the sporting facilities across the country, instituted a fifteen-dollar fee for team practices on the pitch – not individual. World FC, for which Chris Rodriguez was a member, was to have used the pitch on Tuesday evening, but it had been pre-booked. The youth, nevertheless, showed up and waited for the pitch to become available.


Javier Habet, Head Coach, World FC

Javier Habet

“Yesterday we had a scheduled practice, but the field was booked already so I postponed the practice. Our next practice would have been today because this was when it was open to practice. But I believe that he used to always use the time he has to come out and put in his own work – exercise on himself and develop his own self and I guess that was what he was doing yesterday. He came out on his own and do his own work. The sports council come up with a rule that to use the field, you have to pay a fifteen dollars fee per the hour. But it was a team fee so that we could probably to pay for the light or to use the entire pitch. But it wasn’t an individual fee so that was the craziest part of it. Why they only came after him?”


Mayor Earl Trapp says that the council, which managed the facilities in the past, has had concerns over the new fees from when it was introduced.


Earl Trapp

Earl Trapp, Mayor, San Ignacio/Santa Elena

“San Ignacio/Santa Elena Town Council has been concerned and have been discussing on how we can communicate with the relevant authorities to revisit the policies that they have recently implemented to begin charging a fee for the use of these facilities. We know that for any facilities to be here for the long haul requires proper maintenance and needs some sort of finances. But people must remember that Ministry of Sports has a budget for all sporting facilities throughout the country of Belize. It is just recently that they came with this bright idea for charging a fee. I don’t see anything wrong with charging a fee for certain facilities. For example Broaster Stadium, if you will charge a fee for a tournament that is ongoing, then I can see through that because it is a business. A tournament collects a fee so in term they should be able to pay a fee for the use of the stadium. But when it comes to using a stadium for practicing purposes then you should ensure that you provide that service free of charge.”


Head Coach Javier Habet believes that the caretaker, who it is said had only recently began working at the facility a few weeks ago, may not have realized that Rodriguez was an athlete that frequently trains at the stadium.


Javier Habet

“It was news to me that he was a caretaker here because I come to this two three times a week with game days also and I never saw him on this pitch. But I asked this morning and they told me that he was already working here for two or three weeks, probably up to a month. But I have never seen him before. I believe maybe they didn’t share the guidelines or the rules with him and he just took his job to heart. He took it to a next level and wanted to show maybe he was macho man and wanted to kick this kid out of the park and see what it led to.”


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.

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