Made in Belize by: Aria Lightfoot


Bert Vasquez aka Haylock suspected murderer of Jasmine Lowe

On June 20, 2012, the situation in Cayo reached a fever pitch point as a weary society felt powerless by ineffective laws and tormented by prevalent crime. Hundreds displayed their discontentment with Jasmine’s death by demanding vigilante justice. The crowd chanted, made speeches, cheered, jeered and made rope nooses. Their actions made authorities nervous and the riot police was called in the event of pandemonium.  Facebook lit up as people posted pictures and repeated rumors of notorious stories of this allegedly cold and callous individual.  Many are not feeling confident that the system will be able to prosecute this “monster” as people classify him as a well- connected criminal that has been operating mostly undeterred for many years.   One rumor said the police have always suspected he was Jack because of compromising situations with children and his repeated violent arrests. However, due to feeling indimitated by family connections, further investigation and prosecution became impossible.

So who do we blame for this alleged monster who has fed off the innocence of our children for so many years?  Let’s start with the family, because growth begins at home.  The family has tolerated, defended, enabled and excused the behavior of

 

this individual for years. Did they know what he was capable of? If they did, they are as culpable as the monster they raised.

Why would I blame the family you would ask? We can start by examining the first public record of his violent behavior.   We do not know at what point he started to exhibit wanton and reckless violent behavior but the first time he made the news was in May 2008 after an altercation with a taxi driver where Vasquez pulled a gun on him due to road rage. According to News 7 story http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=11081  the victim states “This guy had all intentions. Why he didn’t use the gun, I don’t know but he went wherever he went and he got his mother and his mother gave him a gun to come after me and she accompanied him.”  And like a “good” mother Debbie Vasquez stands and defends her son’s actions as justified. According to an interview with Debbie Vasquez she stated: “I did have my licensed gun on me and at no time did my son touch my gun or I touched my gun.”   (See http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=11082).  Think about this. Who would have more reasons to lie in this incident? And if Vasquez never held the gun, how would the victim even know a gun existed if it was never showed to him?  So we have an enabling mother who excuses away her son’s bad deeds instead of teaching him to be a social human being who respects rules. There was of course no follow up story on this incident, and we do not know what the outcome was of this case.

Second on the blame list is our courts. Our courts have also tolerated his bad behavior by not recognizing his repeat offences were growing more violent and by repeatedly offering him bail,  especially after offending while on bail for the first offence.    In February 2011, Vasquez was arrested for allegedly imprisoning a young woman and holding her at knife point while sexually assaulting her. (See: http://edition.channel5belize.com/archives/48840  or http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=18942&frmsrch=1). At that time the prosecutor submitted he was convicted of a similar offence and bail was denied. Anyway, at some point he received bail so that in three short months later, May 2011, (see http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=19714&frmsrch=1 or http://amandala.com.bz/index.php?id=11505 ) Vasquez was out of jail again so he could allegedly assault a new 16 year old victim. This victim claimed Vasquez pistol whipped her and attempted to kill her but the gun misfired. I am surprised he was not charged for attempted murder.  However, the police did add additional charges to the initial charge and then there was nothing more from the media regarding Bert Vasquez.  We do not get an update from the media as to what happened to him in the legal system but we do know he was once again released on bail.

Jasmine Lowe, who went missing and  found dead two days later, allegedly crossed path with Vasquez. Vasquez was allegedly caught with another minor and allegedly engaged in another violent sexual assault for which charges may be pending. Jasmine’s ring was said to be found on his possession which police feels ties him to the Jasmine’s case. (See http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=22742&frmsrch=1). Yesterday Vasquez was formally charged for the murder of Jasmine and police claims there may be about 11 other girls that have come forward to make claims that Vasquez attempted to solicit them in some way. Charges may are also be pending on those claims.  If Vasquez committed all these acts (whether or not we can prove him guilty), he is one mentally disturbed individual and could be the very “Jack” who plagued Belize society for over a decade.

The media did a very poor job following up on this alleged predator, knowing children were falling victims to an unknown predator. The media must develop a sense of social purpose outside sensationalism. They need to assign writers to stories and task themselves to follow a story to the end. Maybe if the media had followed up on Bert Vasquez and asked the relevant questions,  the public would have been more familiar with his face and wary of his presence.

According to Asa DeMatteo a clinical psychologist who has testified in similar matters in the US, he stated after a review of the news stories regarding Bert Vasquez:  “I have done a few forensic evaluations of these characters for the courts, and Vasquez follows a typical pattern: compulsion to commit these crimes in ritualistic sexual acts, with increasing frequency usually ending in a frenzy of killings that end up giving them away. They are deeply disturbed pathological narcissists on the edge of psychotic. There is nothing to do with them but remove them from society.”

So who else is left in the blame game? What about his friends? I skimmed Bert Vasquez’s friends’ list on Facebook. He is friends with Patrick Jones (probably to keep updated with this case and revel in his work). He is also friends with several politicians and prominent society members who undoubtedly interacted with him and may even have been privy to his violent tendencies.  The friends of Vasquez, who knew his sordid history, saw no need to develop a social conscience over this individual. BTW, is his mother the same Debbie Vasquez who ran on PUP city council ticket in 2003? Is his uncle the prominent news man Ramon?  Is his father the well-known custom officer Haylock?  I could not verify but I bring it up to signal something that is also pervasive and corruptive in our society. The law is neither blind nor balanced in Belize!

For too long, these well connected spoiled brats have been making a mockery out of our legal system, with the help of the police, attorneys, magistrates and family members.  I have personally witnessed brat after brat get off for their misdeeds because of their family connections and with the help of politicians and and some prominent bar members. On the other end of the spectrum, the court system throws the book at the “nobody” petty offender or scapegoats them into a stiff penalty. When I left prosecution in Belize I was disgusted with the level of corruption I personally witnessed. There was no accountability in the system.  The failure of the “justice” system, until it is remedied, will contribute to our spiraling crime rate and chaotic society.

We definitely need to blame the Bar Association of Belize. There are way too many attorneys in both parties to have such an archaic criminal legal system (both PUP and UDP are led by prominent attorneys). The Bar Association in Belize is inept.  We need to demand more from our Bar Association. Tax payers have spent millions educating most of them into a cushy lifestyle.  How many today are financially benefitting from technicalities in the criminal legal system? How many rushes to defend notorious criminals and use the weaknesses and loopholes to give criminals a free reign in society? How many have you heard trying to change the system? Not even the political attorneys have attempted to effectively tackle this issue and they claim to have our best interest at heart.  One attorney admittedly didn’t even pay taxes last year and claims it is a protest on how his taxes are spent. Oh the irony!  Can the average tax payer protest against our wasted taxes and demand back their educational fees? Thanks to the generosity of tax payers, they owe no one anything (or so they think).  They mock our system, they adhere to no social responsibility and they are not held accountable.

Finally, where do we leave ourselves as individuals?  We in the society pretend there is no blatant inequality in Belize system. We turn a blind eye to the mistreatment of  the vulnerable while we defend and befriend individuals because of who they are related to or which political party they are affiliated with. We do not give a damn of how corrupted or evil some people we associatewith truly are. And let me not forget those people fighting for the defendant’s rights without any thought of weighing the victims’ rights. The ones among us that tell us things like creating a sexual offenders website would infringe on the reputation of the defendant, failing to see that these predators enjoy a lax criminal environment while they tear our children’s innocence to shreds.   Ultimately many more monsters exist and will emerge in this broken criminal friendly system.

Children are the most vulnerable in our society because they are dependent on us; they are defenseless; their voices are small; we tell them to shut up; we regret them; we do not listen to their concerns, and they cannot vote. So if you think a politician will solve this crisis, think again. The will of the politician must come from the people. Our children are becoming casualties of a corrupted system.  Bert Vasquez is a product of all of us in Belize. We all contributed to this alleged “monster”.  We had to power to stop him from the first offense. His mother had many opportunities to show him corrective behavior but instead defended his violent tendencies. We allowed this monster to grow among us and possibly kill many innocent lives.  Shame on us all! Let’s start rebuilding Belize and demanding the needed reforms for the sake of our children!

20 thoughts on “Made in Belize by: Aria Lightfoot

  1. Aw, this was a very good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to create a
    good article… but what can I say… I put things
    off a whole lot and don’t seem to get nearly anything done.

  2. Everyone loves what you guys are usually up too. This
    kind of clever work and exposure! Keep up the awesome works guys I’ve included you guys to my own blogroll.

  3. Aria–I am Keino’s stepdaddy. I’ve read your article. I’m in Belize presently and at Keino’s Aunty’s–Joy Patten Ysaguirre. Her phone number is 6**_****. You understand Keino. You are to be praised for setting the record straight.

    It doesn’t matter, but you were slightly wrong about Keino and me. There was no falling out. Whenever Keino was unwell, he’d turn on me. It became dangerous and I kept away. There was never a loss of love–I pray God he never thought so, and from his Mommy–my wife, Jewel–I don’t understand that this was the case. Indeed, I continued to care and pray for him–though from a distance.

    Yesterday, we went to sea for a private ceremony of thanksgiving for his life. We scattered his ashes and, sun came out, and a porpoise leapt from the sea. What started in grief became a celebration of the purest soul I ever knew and a child I love and will always love as violently as my other two.

    I’m going to attach my words in honour of my son from the ceremony–it was one of about 10 and each identified those qualities you mentioned in your article. If you wish to copy any or all of my words into your Facebook communication, I give you permission and my blessing–it’s just below. I’d be glad for people to hear from more of us who knew, loved, and honoured Keino.

    All my best wishes,

    Michael Rosberg (Mr. Mike–Keino’s name for me)

    THE LIFE OF KEINO MALCOLM QUALLO
    By his stepfather, Michael Rosberg
    Friday, January 11, 2013

    Keino Malcolm Quallo was the beloved son of Glenford Allen Quallo and his wife, Jewel Pearl Ruth Patten Quallo of Belize City. He was born on 7 October, 1972 and named by his father. Keino is the name of the famous barefoot Kenyan marathon Olympic champion, Kipchoge Keino. Glen represented Belize in the marathon race at the 19__ Commonwealth Games held in Winnipeg, Canada. In his new running shoes, he was soundly beaten by the barefoot Kipchoge Keino and so impressed by this relentless African athlete’s stamina that he publically vowed to him that he would name his firstborn son in his honour. And so he did.

    Glen also gave ¬Keino his middle name, Malcolm, in honour of Malcolm X, the defiant, Black Power force who hastened the end of the segregation era in the United States with his incisive brilliance and willingness to tell truth to power—even though it cost him his life.

    Thus, Keino Malcolm Quallo was deliberately given the name of Black, relentless and defiant heroes from either side of the Atlantic—one who represented physical prowess, and the other, the moral fibre of his people. So long as his health permitted, he bore his heritage with strength, intelligence, physical grace, empathy, and nobility.

    Keino Malcolm was brilliant—perhaps a true genius. As a child of six, he would listen to the soap operas for his mother whenever she had to attend public meetings. She reports her astonishment to hear him recount the tangled soap opera story lines with clarity, and then to do analyses of the principle characters’ motivation. He not only knew what was happening; but also understood human motivation. In manhood, Keino had an astonishing ability to dissect Belizean politics objectively—to look fairly at the strengths and weaknesses of political parties and of politicized individuals. One of his most chilling predictions was that Belize would someday match the violence occurring in Jamaica in the 1970s and 80s until the city of Belize would eventually be drowned in blood. Who would have dreamt that by 2013, that bloody violence would drown him too?

    Keino attended Anglican Primary, and Belmopan Comprehensive and a number of other schools. His performance was only outstanding when he had a teacher able to appreciate and provide space for his original turn of mind, his ability to challenge stupidity and illogic, and his need to speak too much truth. And he was a terror in the classroom of any teacher limited to hand-me-down ‘truths’ and narrow opinions. Both the Keino stamina, and the Malcolm defiance became hallmarks of his complex relationship with the world.

    Keino’s bravery was evident on the basketball court where his illuminated understanding of the game, his beautiful athletic form, and his team spirit contributed greatly. And that same bravery was put to the service of the Department of Human Development when he served the population of some of Belize City’s most troubled neighbourhoods. He knew the streets, and he also knew the tough youth battling for dignity and respect who inhabited them. When the threat of war swelled up between the gangs of kids in these neighbourhoods, Keino Malcolm was one of those heroic souls who went to them and used his powerful ability, and his gift for tough love, to convince them until the violence was often avoided.

    He pushed and cajoled the Department to offer youth the jobs and the skills training programmes he felt they deserved as Belize’s neglected children and as Belize’s future—one he predicted would be bloody without more attention, more love, and more investment by the adult population. He was never satisfied with the tepid responses he received, and frequently stung on behalf of the young people for whom he laboured. He clearly saw that the violence was relentlessly growing, and that the response was so inadequate that his efforts—and those of a few other street heroes like him—were being jeopardized for lack of back-up from the State.

    Keino had only one child—Keiana Allana Quallo. Her mother is Verla Henry. Keiana was his dearest possession and he often said she gave him the courage to live. She was everything to him and is a gracious, bright and loving daughter in the last year of high school in Forest Hills, Queens New York.

    Keino Malcolm had personal devils with which to contend in the form of a disease that became apparent in his late teens and that gradually worsened, eventually leaving him without the ability to work. In the worst of these recurring episodes, he would gravitate into tough neighbourhoods and keep the company of some of their toughest youth. Eventually, the growing personal trials and the mounting violence of Belize collided. His struggle to live like a dignified man ended suddenly, violently and bloodily.

    Keino, as a child, once attended a concert. His mother reports that he gave his seat to another little boy who had none, and then spent the rest of the evening seatless and on the floor. That was typical of Keino Malcolm. He cared for those with less, he gave everything he had. His own world became increasingly tangled and ended prematurely and horribly. But notwithstanding the complexity of his short life—Keino Malcolm still lived up to the glorious name he was given by his father. He was brave and relentless—always meaning to see good come to others and doing everything he could to make it happen.

    Keino Malcolm should be an inspiration to those of us from whom he was torn. What he wanted to see improve has not yet been sufficiently improved. We owe it to ourselves to love Belize and Belizean people as profoundly and honestly as he did. And we owe it to him to elevate our lives and efforts to make Belize the Pearl it should be. If we make this effort, we will never lose Keino Malcolm Quallo—because some of the best of his noble, complex self will be borne by each of us. Today, we scatter his beloved ashes on the sea—the open world he so loved. But those are just his physical remains. We who saw the beauty of his soul have the ability to keep his spirit alive and carry it with us.

  4. This is a rather thought-provoking article.

    Its a matter of one’s writing style as some things, like the naming of names where there is possible speculation could have been left out. But on the whole, you’ve succeeded in giving Belizeans a reference point concerning the entire matter.

    Simply put…good food for thought.

  5. I also understand that the 16year old who he raped and pistol wipped is pregnant due to the rape. ALso VASQUEZ told the young woman that he will do the same thing to her that he did to Janessa JONEs the little girl that was murdered and body found at the Haulover Bridge but the 16year old manage to eacape him.

  6. I think the media reported his age incorrectly. Most of his associates and some previous classmates have since stated that he is 28 – or certainly not in his late 30’s.

    • Yeah, he would have to be late 20’s or early 30’s. His mother is relatively young.

  7. This is as compelling a blend of truth, speculation, bullshit and opinion as I have ever seen. Up to Vasquez’s friends on FB are being blamed in some way for his ‘alleged’ psychopathy which was ‘confirmed’ by some clinical psychologist who looked at some news stories about Vasquez. WOW.

    In one sentence Vasquez is an ‘alleged’ murderer and in the next he is JACK. Wow again. This is scary.

    How about we just let the investigation take its course and then deal with the facts as we get them? Sound reasonable? Kinda sick of writers using the emotionalism of situations to sound off their ‘reasoned’ opinions which are too often just ‘way out there’ and a lot of times are just people trying to push their supposed brilliance on others.

    A week ago we were ready to burn all white taxis and lynch all taxi-drivers on sight. Remember the emotionalism of that moment? Remember the Jasmine Taxi Laws? Now we’re ready to do the same to Bert Vasquez.

    Is Vasquez a sick asshole? Sure sounds that way from the reports coming in. Is he JACK? Hmmm don’t think so…the MO is different and the age doesn’t compute. Besides, serial killers don’t start with torture and mutilation and then scale back. I can’t even ask if he is the monster that killed Jasmine Lowe, because for all we know Jasmine got a heat stoke and died of natural causes.

    I could do just what this writer is doing all day. I could speculate in the prettiest of terms and by the end of the day have you believing Vasquez is responsible for every murder in Belize in the past decade. But its misinformation and misleading. Let’s stick to the facts, cause this mess we’re in is way too serious for frivolous speculation.

  8. Thanks for your analysis of this very awful crime. The insight as to whether justice fail is my main concern and you’ve brought out where those that are in society mainly his family had an advantage because Belize is so small and it plays a roll in terms of this individual being on the streets of Belize. Vasquez family affiliation in my analysis have done a disservice to Vasquez so, the law did not hold for him. He received bail after so many offences. Vasquez needed to be in a facility where professional can work with him for these mental issues. The blame in my opinion lies with the society of Belize.

  9. Aria great point here gal. I must commend you. And yes it everything lies in the hands of the damn politicians. You were right on the point there. Oh, could this be the Belize Jack that killed those girls in 98/99? he would have been a little too young, but at what age do people start to kill? Is there an age limit to commit murder? I don’t think so.

  10. Well said but at age 28 and the first “Jack” Murder being committed in October 1998 with the rest throughout 1999, Bert Haylock would be too young to be “Jack”. Shame that Jasmine’s cause of death could not be determined as Haylock-Vasquez’s MO is to rape at gun point and then shoot (or threaten to shoot) where as Jack’s victims were all stabbed repeatedly, showed signs of torture and where mutilated (several had their arms amputated). All were found clothed, just as Jasmine was and all were dumped along busy road sides, on roads (gracie rock) except one who was found floating. However, it is not unusual to redress victims or make them put back on their clothing. Just sharing my thoughts.

    • Is 18 too young to kill? Ted Bundy started killing at around 18 and is believed to have killed over 100 hundred women in his lifetime. It would be interested to do a timeline when he graduated. What type of car was his first car, when he first left the country, did it coincide with the abrupt end to Jack killings. His times in prison and when he was released. They need to draw a time line and see if they can finally break this case.

    • In 1998 he would have been only 14 , so If he is jack he would have needed help to do these things.

    • , then relax. God will let you know what to do. (And if you miss it the first or the second or the tenth time He shows it to you, He will keep mniakg it clear until you get it.) That sounds way better to me than what I usually do, stressing and wringing my hands and wondering what should I do all the time lol.I love you guys and I think about you every time I go out in the heat. I’m looking forward to seeing you in November or December. Please give Freddy and Pablo my love when you see them.

  11. Thanks for caring….we have a lot of people on FB, talking a lot of garbage for now, lets see if they will continue to fight, even if we have found the killer of Jasmine, there are more pedophile in our country than ever. Again, our country are being run by those who are not qualify for their positions.

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