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Sarteneja Villagers concerned over legitimacy of French tourist’s story

Earlier this week, Love News brought you the story of a French tourist who was allegedly assaulted and robbed in Sarteneja Village, Corozal District. The tourist, 25-year-old Gabriel Jacquet, was reportedly sleeping in a hammock on an isolated part of the beach when the incident occurred. Pictures of him bleeding from the head surfaced on Facebook. The Sarteneja Independent Working Alliance were the first to alert the public, and one of their representatives, Carlos Tamai, had told us that Jacquet could not remember much about what happened to him. Jacquet was also slipping in and out of consciousness, and appeared confused. Tamai told us that Jacquet also sustained cracks to the skull, and that his father was to travel from France to Belize. Belizeans rallied behind the young tourist, and condemned whoever allegedly robbed him, giving the peaceful village of Sarteneja a black eye. Today, one of the councilors from the Sarteneja Village Council, Elwin Rodriguez, told us that the village is now concerned because it is getting a bad name, especially since, in reality, Jacquet may have actually been assaulted by another foreigner.

Elwin Rodriguez – Council, Sarteneja Village Council: “All are based on assumptions and in a village everybody knows each other and information runs really quick. Now things are coming out that in reality it seems that another foreigner, maybe a friend, we don’t know really if the person was related to him or was acquainted to him. It seems to be that it was another foreigner who did this to the French person. The image now that the village has is very bad and this is why I come to you guys because our village is not known to be that way. It is very friendly, it is very peaceful, it is not strong, it is not fully based on tourism, it is a more efficient community but it has potential. It has always been said that it has potential and with this, it is really affecting now the image of my village, that is my concern, that is our concern. The person said that he came into the village in the morning which gives me a lot of doubts because there are no buses that run in the morning. The earliest you can go to the village is around three o’clock so we don’t know how the person is saying that he came early in the morning through transportation. There are a lot of things, he doesn’t remember.”

Villagers of Sarteneja reportedly saw Jacquet and another foreigner having a fight before he was found bleeding. Based on those reports, Rodriguez feels Jacquet’s story does not add up. Additionally, villagers had also reported to having seen Jaquet in the village before, begging for food.

Elwin Rodriguez – Council, Sarteneja Village Council: “We have gotten information and we have heard that he was seen before in the village. He has been going to that same location during that same time every day, supposedly to exercise or something. As a matter of fact, there was someone that said that they saw him there before looking for food. There are also speculations of alcohol and drugs.”

Courtney Menzies: “You guys don’t know how long he was in Sarteneja?”

Elwin Rodriguez – Council, Sarteneja Village Council: “No, but what I can say is that it is very easy. If the police would take the time to go to the village and interview the villagers it would be very easy to reach to the bottom of it. It could be handled differently instead of assuming that villagers or someone from the village assaulted and robbed him.”

Jacquet had reportedly been living in Mexico City before travelling to Belize.//////////