The only information we have up to date is that he is known as Gordo or Panch. He has been arrested and charged with indecent assault on minors. San Ignacio police would appreciate your help. Contact Superintendent Williams if you have any information regarding this man.
Taken from a transcript of the news as reported by Channel 5:
“He is a preacher, he is a principal, he comes to my house and he does counsel about the bible with my children and my daughter—my boys as well as my daughter. I trusted this man to the tip because I said he was a preacher. There were signs but I ignored this because I trusted this man with my child okay. And she and I were having a lot of difficulty. So different times, I was telling this man different things that she was doing and saying and how she was acting out. And he was using these same things come to find out against me with her and turning her more against me. When I was putting her on punishment about something, he was telling her how jealous I was of her because she has this fine body and I’m an old lady and I don’t. He’s telling her things as a councilor, as a man. I trusted him. So many times, she stayed back at school making up grades because she was behind with grades. I let him be there with her because I trusted this man.”
These are the words of a mother betrayed by a man in authority- a man of the cloth, a man in charge of an entire school filled vulnerable minds and bodies. Norman Willacey, a married man, pastor and principal of Belmopan Baptist High School is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a minor female student for the past year. Several things are immediately, glaringly wrong- oh like: older man in authority, minor student, preacher…but it gets worse. When the mother presented the complaint, complete with proof in the form of hard copies of emails detailing sexually explicit conversations between her daughter and Willacey, nothing was done. She presented all this to Child Protective Services and after getting no response, felt compelled to take her allegations to the media. It seems to have had the desired effect and she has been informed that an investigation has now begun.
Wondering what preacher man had to say? In a text to Channel 5, he said the following:
“She priduced a facebook conversation from about easter break while we were messing arond. I Deleted my copy and repented an told her to do d same immediately. she didnot an that is what will be published tonight and that is what jules said is damaging me as a public and authority figure.”
Sounds like a confession doesn’t it? It also sounds like he seems to think that repenting should do the trick. I am just stunned at the casual way he has chosen to handle this but grateful too because it seems that he will make it easy for prosecutors. I hope that this poor mother and child recover from this gross injustice and that the church does the right thing and kick this wolf in sheep’s clothing from its flock.
For full transcripts, click the links:
Unfortunately, our children continue to be victimized despite continued public outrage and increased police scrutiny and presence. The following was written by Basilio Mes and posted on the Belize Missing Child Emergency Response page. It provides a clear idea of what happened in Susana’s case. Please read and let our voices be heard. Susana needs us to stand up for her and all other victims.
It has been eleven (11) days since Susana Romero of Bella Vista went missing, six (6) days since her body was found about 100 feet away from the Southern Highway and eight (8) days since police have arrested a white man from independence she was last seen with, entering his red pickup truck. So far, police have not charge this man in connection with the murder of Susana Romero. To me there are enough evidences in connection to charge this man with murder.
On the night when Susana went missing, several people in Bella Vista saw this white man driving around the village drinking. One of his stop was at a Bar called “MI AMOR” who tried to seduce the female owner of the bar to go with him that night. She refused. He left behind a Carib Beer Pint at the bar. Second he went to La Mafia Bar where he finally found his victim; Susana Romero. There he left two more Carib Beer Pints at the establishment. Two people at the bar saw when Susana entered the truck with him and drove off. Another witness from a nearby store who is a watchman saw the same as the people at the bar.
What happened thereafter is just everyone’s guess. But what is known is that, Susana’s body was found 5 days later. Her body was already decomposing and to make it more insulting was that the forensic pathologist, Mario Estradabran couldn’t make it on that day to the area. He came 24 hours later. He concluded that because the body was so decomposed he cannot tell what caused her death. Was that because this man doesn’t know what he is doing or was he paid to do so? She was found half nude. She only had her bra and blouse on and were both rolled up. Her breasts were exposed and her lower body was nude, (meaning to say, she had no panty or her pants on). At the crime scene, police found a Carib Beer pint similar to the beer he was seen drinking that night. There were also visible tire at the scene. Police managed to lift up the tire tracks and according to my understanding, it matched one of the front tire of truck that the white man was driving. I also understood that police found some jewelry that she was wearing in his truck.
Isn’t this sufficient evidence to charge him for the murder of this young woman? I also understood that some wealthy people in the area are after the police not to charge him and to release him as this was just another ALIEN. Well let me tell them, it is because these ALIENS that they are wealthy now. They are ones who take advantage of them and underpay them. Shame on them, they should be asking for justice for this young woman.
We the citizens of Independence, Bella Vista and surrounding villages are asking the police to do the right thing. Charge this white man for murder. Do the proper investigation and build up a strong case. We want justice, we want to live in a community where our kids can walk free, can go to school without fear. WE WANT JUSTICE FOR SUSANA ROMERO.
Belize has a well-known secret that is an uncomfortable truth to talk about. Many women are victims of child sexual predators and rape. It is estimated that one in four women are victims of sexual abuse. After writing my piece about Jasmine Lowe, several people shared their personal abuse experiences with me. Fayemarie shared her personal experience on Twocanview.armchair-psychologists-why-he-is-not-a-monster-by-fayemarie-anderson-carter-ma
The nameless and faceless victims shared stories of well-respected men in the society who fondled and abused them. They shared stories of family members, neighbors, shopkeepers and strangers who were never brought to light or prosecuted for their deviancy because they either never came forward or when they did, those who should protect them preferred to pretend the abuse never happened. Belize has unknowingly and unfortunately created an inviting culture for vultures and predators to thrive while sexual abuse becomes taboo and shameful for the victim. Every night in Belize some child has “dark shadows” lurking in their bedrooms.
My story today is a powerful survivor named Jackee Burns, a teacher in Belmopan. She shared her traumatic and chilling experiences first as a child and then as an adult victim of a violent rape. She finally opened up to her mother knowing she was telling me this story. She feels that each time she shares her story, a part of her continues to heal within.
Jackee Burns is a respected teacher and has a compelling story to tell. She in her own way is fighting the status quo of silence and emerging as a trusted entity for victims. Jackee endured two traumatic experiences in her life, one as a five year old child who was unable to articulate her experiences when she was violated by her very own uncle and another violent rape as a young adult charting out in her new life.
At the age of five years old, Jackee’s dad moved in his younger 13 year brother into his home. The house was a modest house with three bedrooms and a family of seven. Jackee’s teenage uncle slept in the living room on a cot. He did not stay there all the time, but when he did, she recalls a dark shadow entering her bedroom and lifting up her dress and fondling her. As a young child she could not express what was happening to her and would not even open her eyes during the experience. She recalls crying and the shadow would disappear. She also has broken memories of being locked in a bedroom with her teenage uncle and remembering white substances on the sheet of the bed which she now knows was semen.
Jackee started complaining to her parents of a ghost that would come touch her from under her bed and so her father started to check in on her to make sure she would be okay. He would come in and make sure she fell asleep. One fateful night, her uncle entered her room and was caught in the act by her father. Her father severely beat up his brother as Jackee recalls blood on the wall, and kicked him out the house. Her father protected her by avoiding family members and never putting her in the situation again, however, it was never discussed. She was never asked the details of what happened. Her own grandmother to this day refuses to believe the story.
Years later, Jackee viewed sex with shame. She recalls her first voluntary sexual experience and learning she was not a virgin. It was a devastating experience because it confirmed to her that at the tender age of five years old, Jackee was in fact raped by her uncle. In the U.S he would still be prosecutable. In Belize I am not sure how a victim can reclaim her power over her perpetrator. We do not know if he is a child predator today. We do not know what deviancy continues to linger within him. He represents one of maybe hundreds of deviants walking around. What became of this troubled young man? He became a respected and published author who places himself in Jackee’s home as a teenager in his book. I perused his Facebook page and saw one picture with a young child in bathing suit. It concerns me when I see such predators in positions of trust around children.
Most children are resilient and many block such traumatic experiences. Jackie I am sure completely pushed her abuse into the back of her mind. It is the resiliency and survivorship of the human spirit that allows us to function in the face of very distressing experiences in our lives. It is this spirit that Jackie carries within her as she is introduced to another type of predator, a predator that is violent, deadly and unforgiving.
Jackee decided to pursue a career in teaching. At the age of 21 years old, Jackee was now living in Corozal and was a popular teacher and enjoying her career. On October 13, 2000 she met Peter Augustine for the first time. Peter Augustine was a well-known criminal and was only released from prison a week before.
In Jackee’s own words:
“I never knew Peter Augustine before, never even seen him ever. I lived in Corozal and was a very popular high school teacher at Corozal Community. This was my forth year up there. I had a sweet lil house and prior to this year I had always had roommates. Anyway, the morning of October 13, 2000, I got up and did some laundry. I got up around 5:30am. By 6:30 I went to the back door to put out the clothes. I had a bucket on the side porch. I was pinning out one piece at a time and returning to the bucket for every new piece of clothing. I wasn’t there very long and the back door near where I stood was ajar.
It seems that Peter Augustine hopped over the verandah and went inside when my back was turned. When I went inside, he approached me. At first, I thought I was imagining him. I could not understand why a stranger was in my house. I screamed and he placed a knife at my throat. I told him he could take whatever he wanted, just please don’t hurt me. He didn’t answer me. He started to pull me towards the bedroom and I understood what his intentions were. I started to fight him, I bit him. I got cut in my hand as I held on to the knife fighting him. He punched me on my left cheek and I still continued to fight. He choked me by placing his thumbs on my neck. I started to lose consciousness and I eventually saw black and passed out.
When I woke up it was to the sound of my bed sheets being torn. He used it to tie my hands behind my back and blindfold me. At this time I was having my period and that didn’t stop him. He got on top of me and was having sex with me. Even though I was blind folded, I saw a nipple ring on him. I disassociated from what was happening to me. I felt like I was watching him doing this to someone else. I mentally blocked out what was happening to me. I believed he was in my home for about an hour. When he was through, he took my jewelry. I thought he was going to kill me. A student who lived behind my house came to the door and called my name repeatedly. She saw my bathroom lights on and thought I was in the shower. I pretended to be passed out so that he would not find it necessary to kill me. I heard the footsteps on the ground, he unlocked my door, which he had to have locked and he left. When I was sure he was gone, I went to the front door with my hands still tied behind my back. I had to open the door with my hands tied, I shouted to the student to run and I ran to my neighbor, an old couple in only t-shirts and they called the police.
Peter Augustine was arrested a few minutes after I arrived at the hospital in possession of my jewelry, with the bite mark on his shoulder and my blood all over him. My face was badly beaten and even today it still hurts. My lip has a permanent scar.”
Unfortunately, Jackee’s horrifying experience does not end there. She relocated to her hometown of Belmopan. A year later, she had to endure the criminal trial, which was done publicly. She had to recount her story to a packed courtroom. She was crossed examined by the defendant. She said every time he said her name, she hated him more. She had to recount her entire sexual history in front of curious strangers; she also had to reveal her physical address to the court and defendant. She was emotionally distraught by the entire ordeal. She could not bear to stay for the outcome of the trial and later learned he was given 15 years in prison. He only has three more years left on his 15 year sentence.
Peter Augustine escaped from prison after his incarceration which caused Jackee to fall to pieces because her address was publicly announced in the court case. Peter Augustine was eventually recaptured in a village near Chetumal. In that same village a girl was found raped and murdered however, he was never connected to the crime even though he was the only stranger in the village at the time. There are no denying Jackee lives in fear knowing Peter Augustine will be released in three short years. She says he gloats to people about raping a teacher and is rumored to have sodomized his cell mate in prison.
Jackee wants other victims to know that there is nothing wrong with them and they will survive. It took Jackee a while to overcome her abuse and confront it. She speaks to her students and tries to formulate support groups for rape victims but notes most people want to forget and move on. She sits with numerous rape victims who confide their pain in her. One girl confided in her that she hated Christmas because she must associate with the men in her family that raped her. Jackee welcomes anyone who wishes to discuss their personal pain with her.
There are many people who remain uncomfortable with this subject. Jackee urges parents to speak openly to kids about sex. Teach them good and bad touches. Be a source for your children to run to. However it doesn’t end there. Our system must find a better way to protect the citizens of Belize. There must be a sexual predator website that tracks these predators when they are unleashed back into society. Victims must be accommodated to tell their story. Their addressese should remain confidential. Our society must remove the shame placed on victims and reassign the shame to the perpetrator. Our society need to start seriously monitoring men dating children under 18 years of age, even communities who have traditionalized pedophilia.
We must create a safe society for all our citizens especially our children and we must develop a social conscience and be protectors. How can anyone ever truly claim to be a survivor when the society keeps people in victim status? Unfortunately I was unable to find a picture of Peter Augustine, but be very uneasy that in three years a violent predator will be released back into society and there is no law stopping it and no picture to show you who he is!
He wrote about a time
I had long since buried
Six feet under
My sad horrific memories
His writing exumed
From the depths of hell
Where I thought
They coud never be dug up
But he resurrected
The stomach churning evil
That he did to me
He lifted my skirt
When I was a baby
And spoke adult language
To my innocent mind
In his dirty nasty language
Making his ugly body
To my horrified eyes
His breath insulted my cheek
His smell chafed my stomach
His touch burnt my skin
How could this man be my kin
He hushed my objections
And covered my frightened eyes
With his huge hands
That covered my entire face
He ripped away
The pure white lace
And tore me to shreds
Now he is that monster
That vile monster
Who I cannot even
Look in the face
And now he dare writes
With enthusiasm and fun
About a time when
He lived in my daddie’s home
As if he does not recall
The ghastly deeds
He has done
I hate him
I have buried him
And I dont want him
Anywhere around me
Unwanted and uninvited
The judge registered
Finality with his gavel
Pounding the end
Of the hearing i had to endure
15 years he got
15 years of free food
A guaranteed bed
He doesnt have to worry
His stomach will be fed
While I, his victim
Am traumatized and haunted
With a lifetime of nightmares
A lifetime of him
Haunting my days and my nights
Coming into my home
Unwanted and uninvited
Icy cold stares
In his strange eyes
Told me his temptations
And as my piercing scream
Eminated in goosebumps
All over my skin
And registered the
He palced at my throbbing throat
I saw my life
In flashes in front of
My scared eyes
Yes, I fought him
I sunk my teeth
In his steel muscles
And with all my fear
I bit in wid all my life
But he retaliated
And I saw stars
And felt the trickle
Of sticky blood ooze
Before darkness crept
Over me and wrapped me
In its tight bondage
Then gone I was
From my conscious self
As he invaded me
Entering unwanted and uninvited
I took back myself
I took back my power
And said he cannot
Have any part of me
That I am unwilling to offer
So as he entered flesh
In and out
My mind shut him out
Though I felt emotional distate
I looked from afar
As he hurt a body
But could not touch a soul
I decided to wait a few days to write this for very selfish reasons. I wanted to bask in the moment of feeling that maybe Belize has made one small step on the long journey toward social redemption. I wanted to enjoy the feeling of pride that my country is finally fighting back, standing strong, and demanding justice. I wanted to relish this moment that for once the good guys are winning and a bad guy is going down.
Wednesday, June 20th 2012, is one of those days that we will always remember exactly where we were when we heard that Bert Vasquez had been charged for the murder of Jasmine Lowe. Probably no group of people will have stronger memories of that day than the thousand or so people who gathered at the foot of the police station in San Ignacio to voice their demand that justice be served. It was a remarkable day.
Problem is, few were actually demanding justice. What that crowd, as well as many Belizeans throughout the country were – and are – calling for is vengeance.
Vengeance, not justice.
When you live in a society where more than 90% of all violent crimes go unpunished, it’s no wonder people get frustrated to the point that they want to take over the roles of judge, jury, and executioner. The system is broken and people are tired of sitting back while no one seems interested in fixing it. But if you are one of those people who would have been satisfied to see Bert Vasquez simply executed on the spot, without trial – or worse killed at the hands of vigilantes – ask yourself is THAT really the type of society you are so passionate about fighting for? Is your idea of a functioning democracy one where emotional mobs arbitrarily determine the guilt, innocence, and punishment of people?
I am not suggesting Bert Vasquez is innocent. From what I know of this man, he has clearly demonstrated that he is a menace to society. Sending him to prison will be a good thing for Belize. But did he kill Jasmine? We will likely never really know for certain. The police have decided to charge him and the public is eager to believe he is the murderer. Case closed, as far as the court of public opinion is concerned.
If he walks, it will be because the police bungled the investigation or his family afforded him a crafty attorney. If he gets convicted it will be because society demanded he be found guilty at any cost. Let’s face it, we WANT him convicted because we will all sleep a bit better believing that at least one monster is finally off the streets.
Or will we?
Once the emotion subsides will we question how we came to the conclusion that Vasquez is responsible for a murder? No witnesses. No DNA. No cause of death. Just a ring. A ring that the police seemed to be very eager to let the media know about. A ring that the mother of Jasmine Lowe seemed very deliberate – yet somehow awkward – about describing to reporters. Am I the only one who felt like she might be reading someone else’s script?
Again, I am not suggesting this guy is innocent. But I am not comfortable with how quickly we all were to assume his guilt and demand vengeance for his crime.
Vengeance, not justice.
For good reason the Belizean public is usually very skeptical of the police. That is, apparently, until they tell us what we are desperate to hear. In the days before Vasquez was apprehended, the police were considered inept. We fully expected yet another unsolved mystery. But suddenly no one dares question the police or their investigative abilities. They got him! Woo-hoo! Now let’s kill him!
One of the moments from June 20th that will stay with me forever is seeing a former “person of interest” in the Jasmine Lowe investigation address the crowd. This taxi driver had previously been detained for questioning. During the time he was in custody the rumour mill was running at full speed. People claimed he was found with a stone from Jasmine’s ring in his taxi. Apparently he had scratches on his face, assumingly from when Jasmine tried to fight this man for her life. He drove a white taxi, similar to the one seen in the grainy security video that seemed to be the only lead police had.
When he was released there was outrage. Some people believed the cops had let Jasmine’s killer walk out of the police station. The cops were criticized while the taxi driver was shunned. His business suffered as people believed him to be a murderer. But just a few days later, there he was addressing the throng of people gathered outside the police station, demanding vigilante justice for this angry mob that just a few days earlier would have eagerly ripped him apart limb by limb!
I hope Bert Vasquez is responsible for the death of Jasmine Lowe. Truth be told, I want him to be guilty. As a nation we need him to be Jasmine’s killer. But I hope he either confesses or is convicted based on irrefutable evidence at trial so there can be no doubt about who took the life of that poor little girl. I, just as much as any Belizean, want to feel the satisfaction that will come when we finally see a predator pay for his crime. But most of all I want to see a civilized society at work.
I want justice, not vengeance.
We all deserve a moment to vent. It can be healthy as long as we don’t get carried away. But for the long-term health of our nation, let’s harness this momentum and energy and put it towards building a society that is truly fair, just, and civilized. Deep down, I think that’s what we all really want for Belize.
After all, there is enough blood in our streets. Do we really need any more blood on our hands?
Just musing Belize………..
As I sit to write my article … I just could not get the images of this beautiful little girl out my head. I am to write about a far more casual topic but thought that it was more important to weigh in on what is going on in our beautiful country. Jasmine Lowe has become the face and name of a people who are absolutely fed up with crime. She is not the first child to have died by no means of a violent crime but at a time when we have been screaming for an end to the violence, at a time when it has become like one a day vitamins, at a time when mothers weep and a country is lost it seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I grew up in a Belize where we felt safe to play, where our children could play in the drains in the rain, where they could be left to enjoy a little thing called “freedom”. Gone are these days! Not today, yesterday, the last few weeks or months but for some years now. As I listen to the public at large screaming for justice and screaming for an end to violence I wonder how many of them have really sat down and soaked it all in, soaked in the stench that has been building from their inaction, their lack of parenting, their lack of will to make everyone accountable or for their short memories.
In 1998 I was a victim of crime awaken at the wee hours of the morning from my sleep by an intruder into my home that was built to protect me. Burglar bars and dead bolts on all the doors and windows. I remember thinking in the first instance “how did he get in?” to be followed quickly by “how will I get away? What does he want and then more importantly “will he kill me?” The sharp knife he held in his hand glistened as he made it clear that he had every intention to use it if I did not do as he said. I remember looking around my room thinking of ways to get away it seemed so impossible paralyzed by fear he seemed so huge in my eyes, standing at over 6’ and 190 lbs. His crazy yet focused eyes made me beg and plead for my life but to no avail. After a fight that seem to last for hours and being badly beaten and raped, he made be take a bath saying that I will wash the evidence off me. I remember clearly trying to preserve the evidence by trying not to let the water hit all the parts of my battered body that I thought might have some evidence of his presence. I remember thinking that even if he carried through on his promise to cut my throat that the police would be able to catch him. I was so disillusioned then. I know now that had I not lived and had I not been strong enough to pursue him and ensure he was captured and arrested and see this through to the bitter end he would be walking amongst us, free to do what he did to me to so many other women. I remember his mother threatening me and visiting my home and screaming at my windows that if I continued to pursue this in court she would have one of her other sons finish the job. I remember one police officer telling me to ignore the threats because if I returned threats I could be arrested for verbal assault. Go figure!
I say that to say this. It took two years after this to bring him this young man of 19 years to court and that was not an easy thing to do. At times I felt alone, tired, abandoned, and disheartened by the entire process. I never felt once that the system was on my side. I always felt that I was fighting to win and fighting to get justice. It was not easy not ever. His defense attorney tried everything to get him acquitted and if I was not the woman I am he would be a free man today.
Every week women and children are assaulted in Belize. Most never make the news because most never get reported. Many women and children feel ashamed and broken by this act of violence and feel as if they lack the strength to handle being persecuted after they have been denigrated in this manner. In this case little Jasmine died. As a country we are hurt and feel some disdain for her alleged killer. I cautiously warn Belize, not to feel comfortable that he has been caught that is just a small tiny step towards justice. Justice is long and drawn out road and the onus of responsibility to prove him guilty is on the country. He is presumed innocent. We are a country high on crime because our social decay and our smart lawyers have gotten us here. One case will not save us as much as I know it may feel that way now.
As I watch the mob and their cries for justice I think “how little they know of how difficult it is to gain that little word”. It takes commitment on many levels and their cries will not affect the ruling of the court if the wealth of evidence is not there to carry the charge. Our people are so distraught and so tired of watching our children die in such senseless and meaningless ways that we fail to realize we have so many alive that we still need to save. Our actions are being looked upon. How we carry ourselves and what we say and do is being absorbed by the little eyes and ears around us. Violence begets violence. We need to aspire for higher ground and I know it’s not easy I was there but I know it’s not impossible. I have nothing against the death penalty just abide by the law that’s what we want to teach our children to do and therefore we must teach by example.
I am a passionate and emotional woman! It’s who I am. I understand rage, I understand the want for revenge, I understand the want for blood because that is what I felt for many years. I also understand the need for true justice, for calmer heads, for good example. All I am saying Belize is two wrongs won’t make a right! If he is guilty then we must put our energies into ensuring that the system is brought to the highest standards, that we hold each and every one accountable for its failure and that we begin to search ourselves for where we might have added to the demise of our country. Don’t be fooled where we are today as a society is the direct result of past and present action, whether it was our selfishness by not being our brother’s keeper, by not treating others with the same love and respect we would want to dealt, by turning a blind eye, by our ignorance or our irresponsibility. We played a role in the demise and destruction of our country. Own it! It belongs to each and every one of us. Change it today, it’s not too late and our children are depending on us to do so!
It is getting scary reading all these assessments of who might be a serial killer. Bert is not Jack, ok? I can almost guarantee it… and no, it is not about his age, although that does play into it. Serial killers can and do kill at an early age so that doesn’t necessarily eliminate him; BUT, Bert would have had to seriously change his MO or Modus Operandi and that rarely, if ever, happens on this scale. Jack tortured his victims as indicated by the numerous cuts on the bodies until he tired of them at which point he killed/mutilated them. This suggests that Jack was more interested in pain, his victim’s pain, and that is how he “got off”. Bert, on the other hand, seems to be more interested in immediate gratification, the quick kill. His thrill is the chase. He likes stalking and the challenge of “getting” the victim.Can you see the difference?
If we give in to this kind of speculation, we will miss the opportunity to find the real killer/killers of these victims and the cold cases will remain unsolved, justice, never served.
There are many things to consider when profiling psychopathy. You would be surprised at just all the nuances that distinguish one type from another. It is a difficult job and takes very intense study and years upon years of experience.
Please. We need to be careful who we call a monster. By the way, I don’t like that name BECAUSE it suggests that that person is so distinguishable from the rest of us…so different…so abnormal. Not really. If he were, we would have caught him a loooong time ago. No matter how we try to distance ourselves from people like Bert Vasquez by calling him a monster, blaming his mother, he really could be anybody couldn’t he? He is someone’s son…brother…uncle…cousin…friend…see where I’m going?
We need to accept that all this is part of human behaviour. It is all on a continuum…it isn’t like we are in one group called “normals’ and then there is Bert all by himself in the “monster” category. If we do that, we will be looking for only really abnormal behaviour (what is that really anyway?) as a signal of psychopathy, “the monster’ and we will lull ourselves into a false sense of security. A serial killer doesn’t “look” like a serial killer…he can be cute and charming…think “Ted Bundy“. He isn’t big and burly and intimidating, think “Jeffery Dahmer“. And he is not always a “he”, think “Myra Hindley“.
Instead of sizing up our neighbours trying to determine if they are the next ‘Bert”, what we need to do as a community is get better educated. We need to teach ourselves, each other, our kids, appropriate boundaries, or, what we allow others to do and how close we let them come. We live in a society where the vestiges of colonial times renders us polite when we need to be assertive. Young girls should never talk to men in cars, much less get into them because he “needs help”. That is preposterous. A real man will go to a public place and ask for directions; he won’t creep on some innocent girl and play helpless. And instead of constantly telling our kids to “be nice” we need to tell them that they have to “assert”. That means that when they feel that something is wrong, instead of doing what they are told because some adult tells them to, they get to say “no” if it is uncomfortable and doesn’t feel right.
I remember when I was 8, and I had just returned from New York and I missed the connecting flight to Dangriga, my aunt put me on a bus. I was scared shitless because I was alone and everything was strange and I just wanted to get home. Some lady told me to go buy her tamales and I shook my head “no”. She called me rude and uppity saying I thought I was better than her because I was “white”. See her thought process?????? All wrong. I wasn’t thinking that at all. It was dark and I was afraid of being in a mostly closed market which was Belmopan market at 6 pm in the evening and being left accidentally…then what? And who the hell is she to be telling me, someone she doesn’t know, to do anything for her? Plus, the bus was full and I didn’t want to leave my seat or my Yankees backpack while I ran her stupid errand. Which brings me to my point. We adults in Belize put our children in danger ALL THE TIME. No. It is not ok to send a 5 year old to buy bread. Not anymore. And no. It is not okay to leave them at home or in the yard or in the car either….My sister- in- law just fired her babysitter because while she was bustin’ her ass trying to make a living, this bitch was getting her drink on with the neighbours, leaving my 8 year old niece and my 3 year old and 18 month old nephews alone in the apartment. Oy.
My heart goes out to all of you, truly. But let’s not get this all twisted people. Getting one predator doesn’t mean we get to relax and go back to business as usual. We need to continue educating ourselves and stepping up our game. We have to accept that no matter where we live, we can’t be complacent and tell ourselves that the issues of serial rapists, pedophiles, serial killers are just what happens in the States or on tv. We need to arm ourselves with new values, new ways of thinking and new behaviours. We can not accept old ways of adults interacting with our children. Case in point:
When I was 8, this “type of interaction” should have been a clue to my parents about a pedophile who was, what we call “grooming” me. He was 19, son of family friends who were more like family. He had further ingratiated himself into my family by posing as an earnest supporter of my father’s bid for Stann Creek Representative in the 1984 General Elections. My parents trusted him implicitly and thought he was a “nice” boy. I didn’t like him at all but every time I tried to put distance I was admonished for being “rude”. Like the time he made me a name plate in shop class. He stopped by in the evening after class and my father let him in and he sat down in our living room having a glass of kool aid while I hid in my room. My father sternly commanded me to come out and accept my “gift”. I said thanks and returned to my room and slammed it against the wall breaking off top part of the “M” in Marie. I almost got spanked for that but I hastily said it fell and tried to look sincerely sorry. My father glued it back on. This man kept showing up with gifts and asking to give them to me in private on the verandah and my parents allowed him! One time he gave me albums he had bought special for me in Chetumal: Menudo. O God…what to do…he demanded a kiss before he would hand them over and I refused. He got angry and I said I would tell my mother. His face changed immediately and he laughed saying he was just kidding blah blah blah…
He would babysit often and I was getting more and more scared because every time he tried to get more and more familiar…he would tell me how pretty I was…That he has been watching and wanting me from the time I was 5 but I was too young then, now I was just “ripe and ready” for him…that I’m the type of woman (yes, I said “woman”) he would marry…he wants to do what ‘married people” do with me so bad…One night, I had just come out of the shower and was wearing my nightie as it was time for bed. He grabbed me and put me on his lap asking me to show him my “cokes” (short for cocoa which is a colloquial term for vagina). I asked why and he said it had been so long since he saw a woman. And I said “But I am not a woman-why don’t you get a girlfriend who is?” And he got angry and I said that he couldn’t make me and that I was going to bed. I struggled out of his grasp and ran into my room. I locked the door and slammed my dresser up against it. My heart was thumping. He was banging on the door and screaming about how I was a little bitch and that I would get what I deserve one day because nobody says no to him. And that just because I was white didnt make me better than him (see a theme here?) And I said “If you don’t stop banging on my door I will scream until the inspector comes!” Yes. Both the District Medical Officer and the Inspector lived next door.
This went on for over a year until finally he was no longer nice and he was no longer giving gifts. He had slapped me and called me a bitch. He had stuck his finger in my vagina when my mother wasn’t looking and I knew it would be soon. On my father’s birthday, he crept into my room while I was getting ready and tried to kiss me on the mouth and I reached into his pocket and took his wallet. I ran to my granny’s room and slammed the door shut behind me. She said “What’s wrong?” And I showed her the wallet and told her the whole story. She got up, called both my father and this man and confronted him. My father didn’t believe until my granny showed them the wallet and asked “Well, how did she get this?” (I should have taken the money that was in it).
The end to this story is awful…he bought the building next to my house which was a grocery store and like my parents forgot or something, I was sent time and time again to shop in his store because this bastard had given my parents credit, ( about 5 years, till I was 15). I would be so nervous that I would make mistakes filling out the checks sometimes. I panicked every time I took a shower, fearing his eyes were peering into the window from some perch on that awful gargantuan building he kept maniacally building upon, never finishing it. He was never nice to me. He was mean and constantly stared me down. On the street, he would slow down his car like a shark swimming around his prey. Sometimes he called me a whore.
I heard he stabbed his brother and badly beat the mother of his children, eventually stabbing her too. As far as I know he is still there…living his life as a contributing member of Dangriga society, often being called upon to serve as mentor, benefactor, role model.
Get my point people? “He” is not a monster…”He” is right here…living with you….this story by the way, is not my only story of being the victim of a pedophile…what stories are you hiding? What stories is your child?
Info about spotting a pedophile: http://www.child-safety-for-parents.com/profile-of-a-pedophile.html
Research Psychopathy: http://www.apa.org/about/index.aspx
Taken from Love FM’s Facebook Page:
Burt Vasquez Haylock will be arraigned on several other charges tomorrow following 11 separate reports made against him by young girls who allege that Vasquez had attempted to pick them up and offered them money in the Cayo District. Sr. Supt. Chester Williams says they are moving carefully as they do not want to move haphazardly as that can jeopardize the court process……Compol Henderson is hesitant to get into the details of the evidence so as not to jeopardize the investigation. Williams says he is positive that they have the person they are looking for regarding Jasmine Lowe’s murder. It is anticipated that more young girls will be coming in to make complaints against Burt Haylock…..Williams says that he is thankful to members of the community who assisted and mobilized with the Police as their cooperation has led them to where they are today with this investigation. It is to be noted that when Burt was apprehended he was in the company of a minor….
Mother and Child reunited. Per the mother Savana Mckay, it seems there was some miscommunication when she could not reach the babysitter of the child.
Savana Mckay ” the way belize going the slight thing happen i trip so who is foolish to think i was wrong to post this something wrong the babysitter said they rob her fom the minute i had not heard from her i start trip an lot of crap happening in cayo but thank god he is safe.”
It is a sad truth, that just like an insecure beautiful woman knows not her worth, so are Belizeans when it comes to Belize. She bats her eyelashes, beckoning her man, wishing only to serve. She is hopeful HE is the one, the one who will worship her and take care of her, make her feel special. Little does she know that the man she lets climb atop her is undeserving and has no intentions of appreciating her delicate beauty. He is only with her to exploit, take his fill, casting her aside broken and used, unloved, uncherished. Desperate, she lets another one in and so on and so on until she has nothing left to attract them. She is but a shriveled shadow of herself, eyes blankly staring out. All because she didn’t know how special she was. Sounds much like what we Belizeans do, advertising our Jewel to tourists and investors, hoping they will be the ones to alleviate our poverty and social ills. Are we going to let that happen to us, Belize? Are we going to throw up our hands and hang our heads in shame, waiting and waiting for “the one” to come rescue us?
Why do we do that? Why do we tell ourselves we don’t know what to do? Why do we give up control to others? *sigh*
We didn’t get ourselves here. We really didn’t. We were a colony that was ignored and treated like crap for over 300 years. They sent politicians and Lords who “behaved badly” to Belize as a punishment- remember, the asshole of the world? No one invested in us…they took everything and then left us to rot in filth and squalor, basic needs unmet and unaddressed. We were treated as unimportant, ignorant and less than human. After all, we are uncivilized animals who steal, cheat and wreak havoc on all that is sacred and holy. HEATHENS! We have sex like monkeys and all our babies have different fathers. Our men are drunken blackguards, thievin’ n’er do wells and our women are loose sex pots to be had for a pint of beer, wooden coins, empty promises of a new life in England.
Fast forward to 2012. We are independent for just 30 years, trying to keep up with the rest of the world and in some ways doing remarkably and in other ways, failing miserably. Let’s look at why. What is the one thing that hasn’t changed? Unfortunately, our mentality. We still behave like the colonized, waiting for massa to do it for us. There is no “Massa“. We is MASSA! SO THEN WHY ARE WE STILL LIVING ACCORDING TO ARCHAIC BRITISH LAWS?????EVEN THE BRITISH DONT USE THOSE FRIGGIN’ LAWS CAUSE THEY DON’T WORK!!!!
And so here we come back to Jasmine Lowe. Her case is a magnifying glass on all that doesn’t work. And why did this happen? Why were there no change in the laws that might have allowed for a better investigation, prosecution and justice for this little girl? Because we don’t understand that we are worth it. We, Belizeans, are worth demanding better laws. We, Belizeans, are worth demanding better protection. We, Belizeans, are worth demanding a sound justice system. This is more than gangs and guns. This cuts to the core of what we stand for, what we represent. Our laws are who we are. Our laws tell the world what is important to us. The problem is we don’t even know that we are important so how could we know what is important to us?
My partner Aria Lightfoot just wrote an article further commenting on all this…take a look and then start reflecting…do you know you are worth it? Do you know you are worth fighting for? Only until we get that, can we be ready to build Belize and be the change we wish to see.