A Friday night murder in Belize City did not occur in a gang affiliated area, but on the entertainment strip. It was only a matter of time until someone lost their life at the BTL Park at a bar which sells alcohol. Violent incidents had occurred at the Pier One bar, but none had resulted in death until Friday night. Sources told Love news that the violence may have been retaliation for a previous murder that happened recently on the street. Mayor Bernard Wagner held a press conference this morning in his office to address the situation. Wagner told the press that the council and its attorney will examine what they can do and that includes looking at the liquor license board and the trade license board. Wagner placed the blame on the previous UDP City Council.
Bernard Wagner Belize Mayor: “First I want to convey condolences to the Sanders Family. An incident like that we would never want to happen in our communities so we certainly want to extend condolences to the family but the events of last week Friday night I believe is something that is worrisome to the council. It is a situation where we believe seeds for the events of last week Friday were sown in 2014 when the UDP City Council came into a lease agreement with a business entity to establish a bar/nightclub smack in the middle of one of the open space that is enjoyed by many families, many children, many women all across the city. It was an ill advised move in my view from the beginning so the events of last week Friday night was clearly the case of where the rooster come home to roost. Nowhere in the Caribbean or in the world you will have municipalities sanctioning night clubs, bars, etc smack in the middle of a recreational center so that in itself is a situation that is untenable. We have our Attorneys on the matter, we will utilize all the resources that we have at the council: we control both the Trade License Board, we control the Liquor License Board and so we look at that situation, it is untenable but something has to give.”
Mayor Wagner says the council makes about three hundred to three hundred and fifty dollars a month from the rent at PIER one.
Jose Sanchez: “What do you say to the families, the parents, husbands, kids who want to feel safe and don’t have any other place to go?”
Kareem Musa Attorney: “Yes and that is why we’re taking this approach Jose that the model has to be looked at and if the principals cannot get it done then we will have no alternative but to look at our legal options.”
Jose Sanchez: “You have about 1000 different establishments in BTL Park, no violence has been associated with any of them. What is the difference between Pier 1 and that establishment?
Kareem Musa Attorney: Well Jose that is something we inherited. I think the question should have been asked to the previous UDP Council: special Benefits, special interests within their lease agreement and I will point this out, I will go on record with this that, within their current lease agreement there is an obligation in there that speaks to the fact that the Council will not be responsible for any damages to the facility but we have on record in black and white and when I speak I speak specifically on black and white where we have record where after Hurricane Earl the UDP City Council chose to foot half the bill for the Hurricane Earl damages on the facility repairs so we served as an insurance company, the City Council.
Reporter: Was that only for Pier 1?
Kareem Musa Attorney: “Only for Pier 1, it’s the only record, the damages were $33,000 and the City Council foot $16,000. Joseph Kees I believe he is the principal owner, we recently signed on as a municipality along with all the other municipalities in the country to drive the sustainable child friendly municipalities and we want to get certified so I am calling on all entities: be it the bars, be it the clubs, that it’s time for enforcement.