Mr Program, legally known as Gilbert Alamilla was murdered five days ago. Police have since arrested and charged two persons for the homicide and are preparing its files for prosecution. At the time of Alamilla’s death NICH became the centre of a discussion on social media and was being accused of not living up to its mandate by supporting local musicians and artists. Patrick Faber is the minister responsible for NICH. According to Faber he had spoken to Mr Program a few days before his death.
Patrick Faber, Leader Elect, United Democratic Party: I’ll comment in this manner; you in the media can be your own judge but the Belizean people can also be their own judge. You have been witness to some of the most remarkable events with local artists- can’t done- over this COVID period have you not ? Unprecedented all sponsored by NICH especially in the September Celebrations month. But it is apart from that you see where NICH has developed the culture front and entities in fact I will tell you this I met Program a few weeks ago in OJ Elrington’s Office back on whichever street that is and he and I spoke and I told him I said why don’t you apply, why haven’t you applied. So if the artist don’t take advantage of what NICH has to offer, there have been times when other musicians I remember the Garifuna Collective when we gave them that award ,again that is something that is proof that we don’t neglect our artists. They offered a seminar to help to train other musicians to see how they can lend their kind of successful knowledge to other musicians, quite a few musicians have applied for support from that initiative there’ve been multiple disbursements but I want people to remember as well if it is they’re saying “Well NICH didn’t do a good job of handling.” for the last couple of months NICH does not have any revenue. In fact the people who work at NICH have had to take a 50% salary cut in fact I believe they even laid off some of the folks who were working there because they have no income. Their income was some of the archaeological sites and a subvention from the government which we all know got a cut whatever percentage cut. So NICH struggles. We’re thankful to the sponsors who gave monies for the September Celebrations and again I don’t think a single soul can say that those monies were not invested wisely into our artists. We had performances galore all across the country albeit virtually supporting our artist so I don’t support what has been said if that is being said. Is there room for growth and development ? Yes.”
Faber informed the media that NICH is contributing to the funeral expenses for Mr Program. The two men arrested for this murder are 28-year-old Raheem Marsden and Clayton Lanston.