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Mayor Wagner Visits the Family of Slain Teen Dwayne Gabourel

Special Envoy for the Development of Families and Children, Rossana Briceno has issued an official statement following Dwayne Gabourel’s murder. Briceno has denounced the violence that continues to affect young men and added that she mourns with mothers who’ve lost their children in a society now built on fear. Adding his voice in decrying the heinous crime was Belize City Mayor Bernard Wagner, who explained that he has his part to play in ending the violence.

Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “When I saw the incident yesterday on the morning on Facebook as a leader you never want to see any young aspiring leader because this man clearly has a bright future ahead. Attending high school, bright with a future ahead of him to see him being senselessly murdered I have no sort of what you would call in respect to the person who did this or the perpetrators who did this it’s an act of terrorism and our communities have been faced with this sort of behavior for some time now and so leadership requires that you make the tough decisions. You can no longer brand this as gang warfare, it’s terrorism and you have to put in place as leaders a plan that captures and a plan that addresses terrorism and so in my view I mourn with the family because I have young children and I have a whole city of young children. I consider all the children in my city as my children and I never want to see the next child murdered. It has to stop. And there’s a zero tolerance, it has to come to an end. We’re losing our most valuable assets each and every day. It must come to an end. The city remains engaged, the city continues to work with other stakeholders, the police force, but the city can only do so much. We have participated in intervention, grief therapy, we’ve participated in youth programs but it comes at the end of the day to parenting. It comes to parenting. The parents must begin to take responsibility that whenever a murder occurs and your child is involved you must begin to be held accountable as well and you must be able to play your role. It starts with the family. People talk on the media so many times about your leaders and this – no it starts at home, the father and the mother.”

Minister of Home Affairs, Kareem Musa visited with Gabourel’s mother, Rhondine Almendarez over the weekend. Minister Musa says there is a recruitment afoot where gang leaders are bringing young boys into the fold and guiding them into gun violence. Almendarez, in her interview, says she is appreciative for the support and messages she has been getting from both strangers and friends.

Rhondine Almendarez, Mother of Dwayne Gabourel: “They have been so helpful. Their sympathy is enough. I always tell people I never want to meet so many people but today I’ve met people from all over Belize and I’ll be honest with you it feels good to know that so many people do care. Our Belize isn’t fully gone. It’s not gone yet , we can do something about this. We as mothers, mothers out there stand up. Stand up. Let my son be the last death. Let us cut them down. Those gang boys they don’t run the world, they don’t even run Belize. Belize right now you are showing that you fear them. Why fear them when we can destroy them with peace ? Peace. Pray. I don’t feel a sign of anger yet. I know I’m supposed to be at a stage where I’m angry and lashing out but I love God so I can’t do that. It’s not in me.”

Releases calling for an end to the senseless violence also came from the National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC), the Department of Youth Services and the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU).