Burglary at Carmelita Digital Connect Centre Sparks Outrage in Orange Walk

Burglary at Carmelita Digital Connect Centre Sparks Outrage in Orange Walk

A burglary in Carmelita Village, Orange Walk District, has raised the furor of residents in that community. Yesterday, thieves targeted the village’s recently inaugurated Digital Connect Centre, ransacked the place, and stole everything. The crooks pried open a door and made off with several computers, modems, printers, and other electronics. The incident has led many residents to speak out and demand that the perpetrators be brought to justice. Area Representative of Orange Walk East Minister Kevin Bernard says the incident left him disheartened. Bernard spoke to Love News and explained that he held the center dear to his heart because he was the driving force behind its establishment. 

Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health and Wellness: “When I became the standard bearer for Orange Walk East I wrote a proposal to the then Taiwanese ambassador and I said, I would want to see how the government, the Taiwanese embassy through it’s government can assist my constituency, can assist my constituency in terms of making available access to digital labs within my five villages. I focused on the five villages because this is my constituency. And so I got in, I was elected as the representative for Orange Walk East. So fast forward a little bit more, I was then named the minister responding for e-governance. And so at the time, the Taiwanese ambassador had approached me and said, you know, this falls in line with an agenda that we would want to do for Belize in terms of building digital connect centers. That discussion went on, all the various proposal, where are we going to put digital connect centers. Remember, it started with my individual proposal, where I took it as a representative, as a standard bearer at the time, and then representative. But then became the minister we had to look at now other options, other areas, and the project was more wider in terms of what the Taiwanese government would have provided for the country. And so Minister Shebat continued that discussion when he took over the Ministry of E Governance and we discussed everything, we were kept abreast, we prepared, we did all the necessary work. Now we were lucky enough to that project, we were able to get Santa Marta and Carmelita as opposed to the five that I had initially written a proposal for, which is fine because two of the UNDP we’re able to get Palmar and I’m working right now on my own through the CDF to try and get Chan Pine Ridge, Tower Hill one up and running.”

Bernard explained that the incident has also robbed the community of their peace of mind. However, he added that with his assistance the community will be able to have the hub up and running in no time.

Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health and Wellness: “Not everybody’s privilege to own a laptop and have access to data in their homes. And so these things provide alternative options where they can go to the community center not only to utilize the system for homework, but for also other research training and so forth. So it was a wider, wider planning that we did in terms of why these digital centers are built. And so to hear that the entire facility was ransacked, stolen, everything gone, man it’s so disheartening. It’s like I said, it was so upsetting. I was so upset. I can’t say the words I expressed in my own thoughts and mind yesterday, but it just was just begs the question. What is it in our minds as a society? Where are we going? I mean, there’s a lot of issues in Carmelita. We have been speaking to even the police to say you know what they need to beef up their patrols in the village because there have been complaints of several issues. We have been having shooting, looting and I recall when we built two homes in one of the expansion areas they stole all the solar lighting that was in those two homes. So they had to go back and do all of this again. So it’s a bigger problem but really I must express my disappointment. I must express the rage I felt yesterday when I heard this because I mean, when I got on the phone with the chairman of the village, he was in tears, literally because this was something that they felt was good for the community, the young people were benefiting from it already. And to, I mean as I put on my social media, and I will never apologize for what I said. I mean for these lowdown individuals to come and do something like this that hurts the same community that they live in, it’s just so terrible. I really feel disappointed in the way this has turned out to be. As I said to the chairman, we will have to revisit the whole situation.”

The hub was opened in July to increase the community’s digital resources by providing residents with access to computer and internet services.

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