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Jul 8, 2022

Crime Fighting Through Education and Employment

The Belize Police Department is fighting crime by equipping Belize City children with the necessary tools needed for success. A.C.P. Howell Gillett spent the morning engaging children from across the city in a first-of-its-kind tour of the Supreme and Magistrates Court. He then made himself available for a ceremony at the Raccoon Street Police Station where several children were awarded scholarships and employment opportunity ceremony. At the heart of these initiatives are the children who were exposed to the inner workings of the justice system, as well as those who were given an opportunity to further their education or work. News Five’s Paul Lopez reports.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

From a tour of the Supreme and Magistrate’s courts, to the issuance of scholarships and job opportunities, several Belize City children spent the morning in the company of Acting Chief Justice Michelle Arana and members of the Belize Police Department. Twenty children arrived at the Supreme Court at approximately nine thirty a.m. where they were met by Acting Chief Justice Michelle Arana and Assistant Commissioner of Police Howell Gillett.  The purpose of their visit was for them to take a tour of the Supreme Court, the Magistrates Court, and the Court of Appeals to get a better understanding of how the judiciary functions.


Acting Chief Justice

Acting Chief Justice, Michelle Arana

The purpose of today’s program is to allow these children to experience a different perspective of the law in Belize.”


The first stop on the tour was inside the Chamber of the Acting Chief Justice. There she delivered a message of encouragement, with the intent to inspire her visitors to aspire beyond the challenging realities they face within their communities.


Acting Chief Justice, Michelle Arana

“Study and keep trying to do the right thing. Listen to the guidance from your parents, or teachers or other people who are talking to you and trying to mentor you to make something positive of yourself in this world. Because it won’t be easy, it will not be easy boys and girls, but you can do it. Somebody like me, I grew up on the south side of Belize City. I am very proud to say that. I grew up in Neal Penn Road. So everybody, not because you come from south side you are doomed to a certain life of crime that is not true. You study hard, you apply for your scholarships, you do your best, listen to your parents and teachers and mentors and you can make something of yourself. Don’t let anybody define you by your race, by your ethnicity, stand up for who you are, value yourself, love yourself, and you can achieve great things no matter what obstacles are against you in this life.”


Akelah Perry was among the children who participated in today’s tour. She says, in her community people know the courts as the place where mischief makers go to be sent to jail.


Akelah Perry

Akelah Perry, Participant

Dehseh like lotta people when deh do deh own mischief round the areas dehguh dah court fih different activities. Let’s say they kill a man, dehguhdeh dah court and deh send deh up fih what deh do wrong. Deh can’t kill people and think dehnuhwah get justice because deh wah have to guh weh deh have to guh.”


Akelah and her peers were able to witness a live court case in action. They also participated in a mock case in which eachchild played a role. ACP Howell Gillett says today’s tour is the start of what will be annual exercise.


ACP Howell Gillett

ACP Howell Gillett, Commander, Eastern Division

“We want to make this an annual, whether we are here as the leadership for Belize City or not we want this to continue as an annual basis. We have to show young people right from wrong. They have seen a lot in the streets, but that is not the right way they have seen. We want them to see what will occur to them if they make the wrong decisions like some of their friends, some of their neighbors, so that they could make appropriate decisions in the future.”


And, from the court house, our news team headed over to the Raccoon Street Police where a separate group of childrenwas waiting to receive scholarships and part time employment opportunities, courtesy the Belize Police Department, the Belize Social Security Board, and several partnering businesses.


Edgar Seguro

Edgar Seguro, High school Scholarship Recipient

“It will be a huge relief, especially for my mom taking a huge load off her shoulders. I really want to thank the sponsors and the Police Department once again, and god for allowing me the opportunity along with the other recipient.


Edgar Seguro is a resident of the St. Martins community in Belize City. He lost his father to gun violence. Edgar’s mother, Roselia Torres, told us that she has tried three times without success to get her son a high school scholarship, until now.


Roselia Torres

Roselia Torres, Mother

“As a single mother, mother and father, because his father was murdered through gun violence. So, we know what it is and the area we come from. And that is why I instill in him to do the right thing, turn to god, to be a leader, not a follower. So, I am glad and grateful for this opportunity.”

Four participants were given employment opportunities at businesses such as the Golden Bay Store and the Station House Ltd.


ACP Howell Gillett, Commander, Eastern Division

I remember we were on the phone partly begging, please, please consider this child. The parents don’t know this, the kids don’t know this, but we did it for you. I wish we could do cause there are many kids. I will give you unofficially that there are over five thousand kids who are out of school after COVID. We are working along with the Ministry of Education and other stakeholder to get these kids back to school. Somebody, and I will use this word stupid, somebody stupid ask me, sir why are you doing these things for kids when that is not a police’s job? Maybe the person isn’t that all stupid, but the question allowed me to tell that person, if we don’t do enough now for the young people, what will happen in the next two to five years?


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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