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Jun 1, 2007

Aikman describes kidnapping; refutes sceptics

Story PictureIn his first televised interview, today political activist Derek Aikman gave his account of his bizarre kidnapping that occurred five days ago. Aikman was a guest on Krem Television’s Wake Up Belize Morning Vibes where he shared an incredible story, beginning with how he was taken hostage. According to Aikman, just after eight on Sunday night, he was on the Boom Hattieville Road when a dark pickup truck travelling in the opposite direction started flashing its lights at him. Aikman said the vehicle drifted into his lane, forcing him to stop. The former Minister then says that as he was about to get out, he was immediately ambushed by at least four people, blindfolded, driven to another location in another vehicle, and detained for fifty hours. The victim says the masked men threatened that if the B.T.L. Vesting Bill was passed in the Senate and signed into law by the Governor General, he would be killed. Here are highlights of his story as told to W.U.B. hosts Evan “Mose” Hyde and Kalilah Enriquez.

Derek Aikman
“I was attempting now to stop to get out to what was going on, maybe he needed help. And before I can could have even done that, the doors flew open on both sides and to my right, which is guess is to their left on the passenger side, two men came out of the vehicle and one came out—I am sorry, that would be their driver’s side—and one came out of the passenger’s side, all masked with I guess ski mask type things covering their necks, I didn’t see any neck, with guns and I immediately got frightened, I panicked. But one came right in front of the bonnet, the other came to the passenger side and the other one came and sit by my side and put the gun to the glass and said in a very clear, not anxious raised or anything voice—I think these were very professional people quite frankly—and just said open the door. And in a very almost a commanding authoritative professional tone, he said, “Turn off the lights, turn off the engine, take out the keys, put on the hazard, and come out.” Very clear, good English, well spoken individual.”

“The man who spoke English said to me, “Now we’re holding you and if the B.T.L. bill passes through the Senate tomorrow,” he said, “We are going to kill you.” And I said to him, “Kill me? Why are you going to kill me? What I got to do with that? I am not in the House, I can’t stop no bill going through no Senate, how you wah kill me?” And I’ll be honest, it’s in the statement that I gave to the police, I’ll tell you what I said to them, I said, “Why would you not go after somebody like Musa or Fonseca, you know, they can stop the thing from going through, why me?” And the response of the gentleman said that, “Instant death is too good for them. They deserve punishment and suffering and we are going to make sure that they get that—or that that happens to them.”

“They never beat me, harmed me in any physical way, I must say that. But then the evening, I am assuming the evening, the guy came and said, “Well I don’t have good news to you” something to that effect, “the bill went through the Senate.” He said, “So now your only hope is if the Governor General doesn’t sign it into law.”

“The phone rang and after he hangs up the phone he came and said, “I don’t have good news for you, the Governor General has just signed your death warrant because he signed the thing into law, so we will execute you.”

Kalilah Enriquez
“He used the word execute?”

Derek Aikman
“Execute. Mose, I am not lying to you, my brother I just started to cry, I just said, God please, I began to plead with the man, please, please, please. The phone rang again, they brought the phone and he went off and they were back and forth. One minute is, we’re gonna kill you, the next minute we’re not going to do it. I don’t know if that was a tactic or whatever to get to my mind, but I would say it was back and forth about four times with the calls. One minute the killing was on, the next minute it was off. And the last time I remember the phone ringing he took long to come back. But this last time when he came back he said, “They’ve decided that we’re are going to let you go,” he said, “But you’ve got to promise that the first time you meet the police you tell them that the Governor General and the Prime Minister are going to be next.”

The rest of course is history … Aikman was discovered late Tuesday night near mile twenty-three on the Western Highway bound and gagged by duct tape, but otherwise unharmed. However throughout his disappearance, a lack of concrete evidence and the absence of a logical link between the B.T.L. bill and Aikman instigated rampant speculation that the victim was either in on the kidnapping or its engineer in order to gain political ground or to keep creditors at bay. Channel Five reported those theories on its broadcast Thursday night and this morning Aikman responded to the rumours.

Derek Aikman
“About scepticism, I would want to say that I fully understand the temptation, the temptation to put that twist and spin on it. But Mose, I too must say that I too am sceptical and I too have to in my own way see how I can get to the bottom for my own sake to see who is behind this. So the same way they are sceptical, I want to say I am sceptical too because I need to try and get answers. And that’s what I have been trying to do ever since, trying to piece certain things together, incidents that happen before. I just think that it is—all I can say is that I understand the temptation that those who have jumped to that thrust … I understand their inability not to have yielded to that temptation. But Mose, I am going to remain focus, I am not going to be distracted by them, they didn’t go through what I went through, they didn’t suffer what I suffered. And so I just have to leave and that why I am not even going to address Channel Five.”

During his appearance on the morning show, Aikman also insinuated that News Five’s Jacqueline Godwin, our cameraman, and driver had “invaded his privacy” when they visited his home to conduct an interview on Thursday morning. Godwin refutes that claim on the basis that she first approached the policeman on duty to inform the officer of her request and when the cop directed her to the front door, Aikman himself appeared at the entrance, hugged her, and welcomed her into his home. Godwin maintains that there are several other discrepancies in Aikman’s account of their subsequent conversation in the house.

Meanwhile, investigators in charge of the case say while there is nothing new to report, the public can rest assured that their inquires into the kidnapping continue and whoever is responsible for the attack will be brought to justice.

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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