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Jun 24, 2022

Taxi Man Paul “Bazz” Panton Executed in Belize City

Another murder was recorded in Belize City this morning. That’s four murders in the Old Capital in exactly one week. Just after six a.m. today on Heart Street in the Saint Martin’s area, a single gunshot rang out. Residents would later exit their homes to find taxi operator Paul Panton drenched in his own blood dead inside his Toyota Four Runner SUV taxi. Police arrived shortly after to process the scene and found that Panton had been executed. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Fifty-nine-year-old taxi driver Paul Panton was discovered dead this morning at the corners of Heart and Scabbard streets in Belize City.  Panton was shot while driving and his vehicle came to rest on Edwin Logan’s fence. The homeowner says that it occurred sometime after six a.m., after the Belize Waste Control had collected garbage from the area.


Edwin Logan

Edwin Logan, Heart Street Resident

“I thought it was the dirt truck, didn’t know it was a shot cause dah one bang I hear. And usually every time when the dirt truck come dehn woulda pick up the dirt and yo hear that bang. So I noh pay it no mind; I neva come out. Shortly after that my daughter came and di knock pan mi door say wake up, wake up. Ih say get up, hurry open the door. Well I get up, but I neva did look outside. When I look ih say police deh out yah, vehicle ina di drain, ina yo tree and thing. I see a couple police man out here then after that a next bunch a police man came. That was after six going to seven when that happen more or less cause she come yah about seven o’clock. I saw the vehicle there, I get up and the man mi dead in there. After that the police come the ambulance come and everybody come; scenes of crime come and dehn mi di process the vehicle right there. I lend dehn mi chain fi pull out the vehicle out of the drain and dehn haul out the vehicle and process the vehicle ina di middle of the street. Before dehn process the vehicle, dehn tek out the man, put ahn ina di bag and the police truck ker ahn. But I noh see who do the shooting. I neva see whatever. I see the man, I noh really know the man. I know dah wah Toyota – white 4Runner limited.”


The King’s Park resident was at his post at Cinderella Plaza when he received a call for taxi services. It took him to the Saint Martin De Porres area of the city, but it would seem that his fare was a ruse and he was executed – shot in the back of his head.


ASP Fitzroy Yearwood

ASP Fitzroy Yearwood, Communications Director, Belize Police Department

“He received a phone call and proceeded to where he was found by police with a single gunshot wound to the back of his head which would warrant us in saying it is an execution style murder. The content of that call we do not know, who made the call at this time, we are not certain; we are trying to locate his cell phone. We are working with our local telephone companies in trying to get that information and hopefully when we do, that will be able to clear up some of the questions that we have at this time.”


So who would want the cab driver dead and why?


ASP Fitzroy Yearwood

“We have received several tips so far and we are even following up some information that he may have been involved in some form of business with a family that is very upset right now. I don’t know if their business went side way, but the information would want to suggest that this is as a result of some sort of business that went bad between him and those other parties.”


Philip Martinez

Philip Martinez, President, Cinderella Plaza Taxi Cooperative

“Me and he dah friend and ih woulda come talk to me and I woulda ask ahn if everything okay and ih tell me yes. But yo know sometimes people got problems but dehn noh share it.”


Panton was recently deported from the U.S. and was a member of the Cinderella Plaza Taxi Cooperative. President Philip Martinez says that the killing brings into sharp focus the issue of security for taxi men as service providers.


Philip Martinez

 “Ih so hard and sad. We are here serving the people, but we noh have no kind of security. The only way we could get security dah secure yo own self. We giving a service and yet we back against the wall. We could go there, but we don’t know if we’re coming out back. So we just have to pray to God that we come out back alive and safe.”


Duane Moody

“I know some taxi operators don’t even take certain jobs.”


Philip Martinez

“Certain areas, right. That’s true because it is too dangerous. And what dah di use that you lose yo life and yo have yo family and so forth. It is so sad mien. I don’t know what we will do and how we will solve this big, big problem.”


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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