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Belize City Gang Leaders Condemn the Killing of Dwayne Gabourel and Call for Peace

The war waged on minors in the old capital has sparked outrage with hundreds of persons taking to social media clamouring for harsher actions to be taken on the criminal elements. The pressure is being felt against the gang elements which perhaps is what pushed the gang leaders to hold their very own press conference this morning in the Lake Independence area. We attended the press conference not because we condone the illegality of gangs, but because the press conference called by gang leaders is unprecedented. Those in attendance were the gang leaders of several territories in the Saint Martin’s area who told the media that they are tired of the violence. Senior Reporter, Hipolito Novelo has the story.

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: The cold blooded execution style murder of 15 year old Dwanye Gabourel has even gang leaders upset.

Brandon Baptist, Backa Lands Gang: “I think the individual that did those simple shooting with those young boys are stupid, they should get penalized for that because we don’t condone that first thing. I’ll never mess with a child. I’m thirty six I can tell you I try to make a – I love kids understand me ? I always have children around me and I always treat them because I love kids, I don’t have any children I love kids so I’ll never condone and never ever watch that. That they’re chancing those little boys, those children and I’m tired of that. I’m really tired of this that’s why I beg to all the so called gang members that call themselves gang members please leave the children out of this.”

Brandon Smith, PIV Gang: “To kill a little child ? Come on I have three sons. That burned me. That burns me. Leave those children out of this. I watch my son everyday and sometimes I cry.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: Dwayne’s mother however continues to cry tonight. Her son was murdered without any cause or reason that she knows of and the reason that the killer pulled the trigger that day may be as trivial as Dwayne’s shirt color. 

Jermaine Garnett, Lake Independence: “The people that know they’re to get hurt will always have a protection over themselves and watch over themselves so it will be harder for you to catch an individual. For you to hurt an individual that knows he’s not to get hurt is the easiest thing to do because the individual will never expect that he will get hurt because he has no relationship with any kind of affiliation with anything. So you could kill a thousand people like that because that individual doesn’t believe that that will happen to them.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: So what does a murder like him get in the gang world ? Respect ? 

Jermaine Garnett, Lake Independence: “Well only he and the good lord know that. So they will decide their fate on that one when the time comes.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: So instances like that does he get furnished a firearm or he gets his own firearm ? Where does he get the gun from ?

Jermaine Garnett, Lake Independence: “Like what I told you only money, people buy their own things. Men break in cars, men break into houses, a thousand licensed firearms are out there that people just target, they lose their firearm a next individual finds it, goes to sell it to an individual who has no brains to do with it and they do wrongdoings with it and all those things happen.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News:  One of the reasons they’re saying that the young man was shot and killed this weekend is because of the color of the shirt that he was wearing. Would things happen like that ? That they can be killed just because of the color of the shirt someone is wearing ? 

Brandon Smith, PIV Gang: “That is once you are a fool. I mean from the time you see that young boy come on, that’s a little baby. For a shirt ? A red shirt? A blue shirt ? That’s not making us make any money. Whoever sent him to do that should have murdered him as he got back.”

Anthony Reyes, 23 years old: “Me I don’t want my little brother to die, none of us want our little brothers to die but people just have to let go of the resentment too because it’s the resentment that makes people think certain things when they think back about their people that dead. It’s just the resentment and the irrational belief, they just have to stop all of that.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: But all of that will stop when all of them do. Members of the Backa Lands and PIV gangs this morning condemned the murder of the innocent teenager. Most of them are veterans in the gang underworld in south side Belize City. Most of them have been charged for killing or almost killing someone. They’ve also been acquitted and set free. This time around they forged another truce, the ninth truce but that truce doesn’t extend to the other gangs in Belize City.

Brandon Baptist, Backa Lands Gang: “We try to work together all the time but something always, some negativity always comes up. You know in the streets you have you say me say and this and that; we’re tired of this. I’ll tell you straight as a fact we’re tired of it and I want to work. I am willing to work together and I’m talking to all these boys here I’m straight with these guys here and I have no problem with them. I just want us to get together, hold our hands together and try to do this together and try to bring back our communities.”

Brandon Smith, PIV Gang: “I’ve already messed up in my life understand me? And now it’s their time. I try to get scholarships for some of them, try to make them go to school and teach them this is not the way because we messed up. All of us that are here are old, it’s their turn now.”

Anthony Reyes, 23 years old: “I just want to tell everybody to stop the violence that is going on and if they want a job just ask for a job because there are jobs out here but the ministers have to do what they have to do too to help us, they can’t just talk this thing. They have to come check the areas. Check the areas that need help, enough of us don’t even live in our own homes. Some of us are big men and are in our mom’s house understand ? So how are they expecting us to stop certain things ? How are we to stop selling weed? They will harass us if we’re selling weed.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: And for some of them they didn’t choose the gang life the gang life chose them and getting out can be nearly impossible. That might be difficult to understand for thousands of Belizeans but poverty and desperation for a plate of food forces you to take a visit to the criminal underworld and that visit then becomes a permanent stay. 

Brandon Smith, PIV Gang: “Sometimes it has to go with how you grow up. There’s nothing at home to eat so why should I go to school ? Better I go out in the streets and eat and that is what causes it most of the time. Government is not setting anything for us. The government needs to step in, they can’t just be talking and get all the money and not do anything with it. That is all they do.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: Is it hard to leave the gang life ?

Brandon Smith, PIV Gang: “It’s very hard. But the best way to do it is to keep to yourself.”

Jermaine Garnett, Lake Independence: “All they do is set state of emergency, set this and set that and send us to jail. When you come out to jail you just turn more of a monster. There’s nothing else to do, you come out broke you know ? Remember every time they send you to jail you come out broke you have no money, you have nothing so the monsters have to get loose because you need to eat. Everything needs to balance off back and the scale needs to be set back straight, once a scale is off balance it will never work in life.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: And in life challenges present themselves and frustration builds feuding gang warfare. 

Hipolito Novelo, Love News:  Have you all ever considered speaking out in favor of a truce that you guys may be targeted from the other gangs because you all might want a truce.

Jermaine Garnett, Lake Independence: “When we relax those other guys flare up because they use the things that happen to flare up at a next area. Due to where this flared up back here they use a next man from one side to do another crime in another area and those are the things that are the problem.”

Brandon Baptist, Backa Lands Gang: “Police are part of this too. There are some police that are a part of this. I’ll tell you like a man alright ? This is what happened in Belize that I’ve noticed. Oh Michael Henry died, God rest the dead, I love all those guys and things right. Now other gangs take the opportunity to do simpleness out here and make them blame us and the police go on simple information because one stupid police that doesn’t like us will hurry run and tell the bigger superiors ‘Oh it’s Baptist them.’ or it’s backa Martins.’ it doesn’t go so. We want them to do their job the right way and find the truth because we are not into any chancing any child. We don’t chance children and that is what they hurry do. People take the opportunity to do their r*ss and when they do their r*ss they will blame us. They say that it’s just because PIV and Martins that are going through it, that’s wrong- that is a lie. We went to a mediation the other day and a little meeting and we spoke good we won’t make anything happen and nothing happens. We’ll try our best to hold it down and we will continue to hold it down and try our best. I will continue communicate with those guys. I’m not worried about what anybody says I will continue to communicate and we came here on our own freewill together. We said let’s come together hands and heart and let us come together. We did this on our own, not a police, nobody is here. You know why? Because we are tired of them blaming us for a lot of stupidness that are happening, wanting to hurry call this and do this and do that “Oh backa Martins.” come on man aren’t you seeing what is happening out here ? As they hear Martins has a little problem those men take the opportunity to do stupidness out there because they will blame us we’re tired of that too.”