Belize News Online Channel 5
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| Interim Injunction to Stop Alkaline Concert at Sacred Heart College Granted
Sep 19, 2014
Late this evening, representatives of the Roman Catholic Church rushed to the Supreme Court seeking an interim injunction to stop a concert that is planned for this Independence holiday weekend at a church-state school in San Ignacio. It follows a statement issued this morning by Bishop Dorick Wright. The Church is outraged that Sacred Heart College has made its facilities available for a concert by Dancehall performing artist Alkaline. Popular among youthful audiences, Alkaline and his subgenre of Dancehall music have been described as both satanic and lewd. In a brief appearance at our studio on Thursday, Alkaline’s look was somewhat unsettling, complete with black corneal tattoos and a ghastly mask. The Bishop says the decision to rent the facilities represents, “a serious error in judgment on the part of the Administration of Sacred Heart.” Bishop Wright is also of the view that the event presents a grave moral danger to the socially fragile and impressionable youths from all over Belize who will attend. This evening, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin directed that the injunction be heard in the courtroom of Justice Courtney Abel. Shortly after five o’clock, attorney Michel Chebat, on behalf of the Catholic Church, told the media that an interim injunction has been granted and that an inter parte hearing is set for Saturday morning at ten o’clock to determine the fate of Alkaline’s performance at Sacred Heart College.
Michel Chebat, Attorney
“It’s an application by the Catholic Church of Belize and the injunction is geared at preventing Alkaline’s concert at the Sacred Heart College grounds. As you all may be aware, in the church’s view, this artist does not reflect the morals and the values of the Catholic Church. It is alleged that this gentleman is involved in satanic worship, his lyrics are lewd. I would say to you that somebody like that should not be allowed to even enter into Belize. He is not somebody that we would want our youths to be exposed. And so thankfully the court has seen that and the court has granted a temporary injunction preventing the concert. We are to return tomorrow morning at ten o’clock for an inter parte hearing where the promoters will get an opportunity for the court to hear them if they so wish.”
“One of the questions is why at a last minute, at the eleventh hour; would the catholic church decide to forward this particular request?”
“[Umm] This has just been brought to the bishop’s attention and it is the bishop who has mandated and has instructed me to proceed to obtain the injunction. As you all are aware, the Roman Catholic Church is the proprietor of Sacred Heart College and in that light he is the ultimate authority over that school and he has so exercised his authority today.”
“This might be seen or taken as a publicity stunt. Any sort of publicity is good publicity even though it is bad; it might boost ticket sales for the artist. How do you respond to those who say that the church has bought into that game and they have allowed Mister Alkaline more attention than he wouldn’t have got, had you not taken this step?”
“I think your comment is a fair comment. We would hope that people out there who are looking and listening and who have done the research on Alkaline would know exactly what it is that he represents and would stop their children from attending this concert. Certainly we don’t want our kids to be exposed to this kind of a person, bottom line.”
“Sir but shouldn’t the organization’s principal and dean, shouldn’t she have vetted this individual before granting permission for this concert?”
“Absolutely, absolutely. But whether she did or did not, it does not prevent the bishop, who is the ultimate authority so to act. And that is what he has done. He has acted and this is where we are today.”
| Promoter Says Show Must Go On
Sep 19, 2014
The promoter behind the Alkaline concert is Martin Castillo of Marine Sounds. Castillo was taken by surprise at the church’s stance and late this evening when we contacted him by phone, he told us that his lawyers will be in court for the unusual Saturday morning hearing. But according to Castillo, the concert will go on come hell or high water.
Via Phone: Martin Castillo, Promoter, Marine Sounds
“I will be in contact with my lawyer to see what the possibilities are to see this go on. We’ve been in contact with the Sacred Heart people and the person we’ve been in contact with contract emails, everything that concerns the venue when we went there.”
“There has been strong criticism against this particular artist that you brought into the country with regards to the type of music he performs and of course the imagery and everything they claim has to do with Satanism and what have you. What are your thoughts on this criticism?”
Via Phone: Martin Castillo
“This criticism, I think everybody has their opinion, but again this is an artist that produces music that a lot of people are drawn to. He identifies himself as be yourself. Any shows and concerts that Alkaline has presented, if you go on You Tube and everything else, it is about life and ladies. He doesn’t sing about whatever people say Satanism and all those stuff. I cannot criticize somebody for their belief and I am not saying that that is what he believes in. But again because of his tattooed eyes and stuff like that, I think maybe people draw a certain conclusion. But he is well liked by a lot of young people, his music is real; he touches a lot of topics that people are afraid of. And I think that because of his individuality, a lot of people are saying they have certain regards. I cannot point out to what people say because that is their opinion and everybody has their own.”
“There is inter parte hearing scheduled for tomorrow morning at ten o’clock. if the catholic Church is successful in being granted this injunction that puts you at a disadvantage in that you would still want the concert to proceed, but you would then need to find another location that is suitable for the size of crowd that you are catering to. How would you work that out? What is your plan B so to speak?”
Via Phone: Martin Castillo
“My plan B is to when I reach Midas Resort today for the Pool Party is to discuss with my fellow people involved in the concert and after discussing with my lawyer what the possibilities are, we will try and work on it. There is a possibility….if it doesn’t work out, we will let the concert go on except it will be somewhere in Cayo. Marine Sounds never fails at anything that we do and we are trying to present an artist, something for the celebrations for everyone to come out and enjoy.”
“Are you at liberty to divulge the investment that you’ve made into bringing Alkaline to Belize so far, before the performance?”
Via Phone: Martin Castillo
“Yes, I will not say a specific number, but let’s say it is over sixty thousand dollars, let’s say that.”
| Orange Walk Bandido Shot Dead By Store Owner
Sep 19, 2014
A man who robbed a store in Orange Walk at gunpoint is tonight at the Northern Regional Hospital morgue after he was fatally shot by the proprietor. That man, Leslie Logan Jr., is a former Police Constable and the son of highly decorated retired Police Inspector Leslie Logan Sr. It happened at around two forty-five this afternoon at the Hung Yun Store located just across from the NRH. Today Deputy Commander of the Orange Walk Police Formation Inspector Selvyn Tillett told News Five that by the time Police arrived on the scene at three, a critically injured Logan was being rushed to the hospital. He succumbed to his injuries shortly after.
Via Phone: Selvyn Tillett, Deputy O.C., OW Police Formation
“Police received information of a shooting in front of the Northern Regional Hospital. Upon arrival, police saw a male Creole descent person being carried away by hospital authorities. Initial investigation reveal that sometime around two-forty-five p.m., two Creole descent male persons—one armed with a handgun—entered the establishment, Hung Yun Superstore. When they entered the store, the person armed with the weapon pointed it at the female attendant positioned behind the counter and went to the cash register and took an undisclosed amount of money, where he handed it over to his accomplice. His accomplice ran away. And while the person with the firearm attempted to flee, the owner of the said establishment fired several shots at him catching him on his right side below his armpit and as a result he succumbed to his injuries whilst undergoing treatment.”
Logan’s accomplice managed to escape with an undisclosed amount of cash from the store. Two firearms were recovered from the scene – one from the deceased and the other a licensed nine millimetre pistol from the storeowner. A caution statement has been taken from him and forwarded to the Police for directives.
| Brandon Tillett in Court for Attempted Murder
Sep 19, 2014
Following a spade of violence in which three persons were murdered in a matter of hours on Wednesday, the Prime Minister met with the police top brass and hosted a press conference. The P.M. committed additional patrols by the police and the B.D.F. on the streets and is seeking further funding to fight crime. Barrow also said that there was need to isolate persons believed to be involved in the retaliation shootings that followed the murder of Cyril McFoy, who is the father of Brandon Tillett, an alleged boss of the George Street gang. In the police crackdown, Tillett was picked up after the murders, and after two nights in lock down, this morning he was taken to the Belize City Magistrate’s court in handcuffs, but the charge was not connected to Wednesday’s violence. His trip to court was brief and by ten-fifteen he was before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith where his case was adjourned. Tillett has a pending charge for attempted murder for an incident in which he was fingered as the alleged gunman in the shooting of Kevin Alvarez earlier this year. That case was adjourned for September twenty-ninth, 2014. With that disposed of, he was taken back into custody to the Queen Street Police station where he remains pending additional charges. On Wednesday afternoon of this week, fifty-six year old McFoy was gunned down while playing dominoes at the corner of Dean Street and Euphrates Avenue in Belize City. A gunman pulled up in the area looking for Brandon, but instead McFoy was murdered.
Also appearing in court today was Ryan Davis. The twenty-six year old was charged with the attempted murder of Joseph Rowland, who was one of the victims of Wednesday night’s bloodbath. Late this evening, CIB personnel escorted Davis to the courtroom of Magistrate Dale Cayetano where he was arraigned for the charges of attempted murder and use of deadly means of harm. Rowland was at the corner of Central American Boulevard and Antelope Street when he was shot. The bullet caught him in the head, but survived the shooting. Davis will remain in custody until November seventh.
| Kareem Lopez, aka “Robbery,” remanded for causing public terror
Sep 19, 2014
Police are holding a third person behind bars presumably to stop further mayhem on the streets. He is Kareem Lopez, aka Robbery, who was charged today for causing public terror on Carnival Day. Allegations are that while on Douglas Jones Street, Lopez wantonly discharged a firearm in a public place and caused terror by his act. Lopez pleaded not guilty to the charge and the court prosecutor, Corporal Christopher Smith objected to bail on the grounds that Lopez, who is a deportee, may not appear in court. Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith denied bail and remanded Lopez to prison until November seventh. Within minutes of his arraignment, the police indicated that Lopez is wanted in a murder investigation.
| Is the P.M.’s Position on Enforcing Anti-Gang Laws a Double Standard?
Sep 19, 2014
Reeling from an explosive surge of gangland violence which resulted in three murders and multiple casualties in a matter of hours, Prime Minister Dean Barrow on Thursday announced that Police will now be enforcing anti-gang laws. The laws aren’t new by any means – but they’ve just gotten obscure from lack of use. Government has always gone the route of negotiation with gangs, and at one point even doled out money to hold down the violence by gang leaders and members. Attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd today told News Five that the new government stance is a double-standard – ignoring or enforcing the law at their own convenience. She says that the Prime Minister, now cracking the whip at the head table, is actually part of the gang problem.
Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Attorney
“The Prime Minister is making it seem like he is distant from this issue, but he is part of the problem. Because when he decided to go and sit with gang leaders and negotiate with them, and even invest and put money into them…I remember that there was a sitting of the National Assembly when he said that there were these high-profile, high-energy criminals that had come to him that he is going to give a break to, and I kept writing about that because once your government starts dealing with them at that level, things will get out of control. When people are lawless, they will take all they could. So all these truces and all this pray for peace is just a temporary thing. So you should have implemented the law a long time ago. We should have operated from the rule of law a long time ago. It cannot be that when it is convenient you want to use the law and when it is not convenient…you same one break the law. The minute our leaders, the minute our Prime Minister and the different ministers and the Police went and met with gangs and legitimized them and recognized them as an official entity to broker a deal with, we were in trouble.”
“But the Prime Minister has said point blank that he has never engaged in any payment to gangs, to gang leaders, to gang members.”
“Boy…I would go back into the records and find those meetings and say what they put in place. There was a peace program at one point where it was clearly to pay them to keep the peace. And the records will show it. You all reported on these many things, so I won’t even go into the back and forth. People are smart enough to go find the records for themselves. People are smart enough and I hope they don’t have a short memory to see that especially this Prime Minister had sat down with them. I will never forget when in the National Assembly he said that he created this special program for these special people from gangs. And most of them were George Street members. They got their groceries paid, they got their rent paid, they gave them so-called jobs and they got monthly salaries from taxpayers. The record is there.”