“Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.” Nelson Mandela
It was reportedly a stormy late night January 7th or early morning January 8th, 2013, when several people (likely men), entered into the apartments of Keino Quallo; Anthony Perez, Albert Fuentes and Leonard Myers and brutally, savagely and gruesomely murdered them. Although the houses in that neighborhood practically sit on top of each other, no one heard or saw anything.
It may be a coincidence that the police visited the house the same night and broke a lock the assailants came through; and it is plausible that the police surveillance camera was not working that night; Belize get equipment donated without technical support. What was unimaginable were the the heinous crimes splattered all over the media; showcased by the police; and hurriedly theorized by media as gang affiliated murders. Evident were the unprofessionalism and incompetence on proud display. The murder scene quickly turned into a public spectacle filled with reporters, onlookers and police officers; treating the crime scene as a blood filled sideshow; trampling through an unpreserved crime scene; with no regard for family and friends who looked on in horror. It was a very disrespectful and unethical event behaving as if the lives taken meant nothing.
The murders shocked the core of citizens, friends and strangers; it almost caused a riot and created such a volatile environment that even the US Embassy issued warnings. Fingers began to point, accusations ran rampant, gunshots rang out; residents were visibly upset and a standoff between the residents of the area and the Gang Suppression Unit played out on the news, social media and YouTube. After the drama subsided, four men not only died but also joined the ranks of more than a thousand unsolved and un-investigated murders in Belize.
The sad reality is that the lives of those stolen means absolutely nothing to a good portion of Belize Society; the powers that be; the police force, who seem to have stalled on a disinterested investigation; the media, who just needed their sensationalism fix for the week and the government of Belize who have treated the death of our troubled youth population with disdain; keeping intact a DPP and Attorney General inept to address the failed criminal justice system.
So a year later, the death of Keino Quallo remains un-investigated and unsolved. No updates, no witnesses, no claim about ongoing investigations. I really don’t think they care. It is this exact unprincipled attitude that is creating a ripe environment for criminals in Belize. I ask everyone reading this… what does it say about our society that does not respect the lives of its own citizens? What does it say of our society where citizens cannot seek justice for their injustices? What does it say of our society where murder is so rampant that it no longer offends our moral compass? Unfortunately, we have seemingly evolved into a society where many Belizeans are bedazzled with pageantry, position; the rapture and pettiness to grasp the magnitude of one thousand unsolved murders; too docile to hold our government accountable for the incompetence of the criminal legal system and too aloof to feel empathy.
Murder is running free in Belize; acting irresponsible; choosing randomly; acting irrationally and violently… he has an unquenchable and unrestraint thirst; he is no longer confined to the Southside of Belize City; he no longer thirsts for only the poor and disadvantaged; he has expanded his scope. Recently three Canadians killed or missing…when he visits, we still remain numb to his pain, oblivious to the path of self destruction…Can you see our shameful and disgraceful shell of a justice system?
Keino, my friend, you can never die when your memory lives. Your life mattered! The state is responsible for investigating your death and the death of every person whose life is ripped from them. The government has a duty to ensure the safety of citizens and visitors to Belize. The government should put the mechanisms in place to bring murderers to justice; to give family members closure; and to hold each and every life in the highest regard regardless of status or stature. One year later and no answers…