There are quite a few convicted young men under the age of 18 who wake up every day to life in the Belize Central Prison. The Belize Police Department and the Kolbe Foundation joined together to take some kids on a tour of the prison and Love News joined them.
Jose Sanchez: “Kids who didn’t make it through primary school have been given a chance to learn a skill at the Frank Lizama Training Center. Today the Police commander of the Eastern Division Senior Superintendent Howell Gillet took 48 of them to interact with the adults and minors who are incarcerated at the Wagners Youth Facility at the Belize Central Prison.
Senior Superintendent Howell Gillet: “The Frank Lizama Training Center, these kids are at risk young people who have been given a second chance at education but they come from troubled neighborhoods so we thought it right to collaborate with the staff of that school and to bring them to see first hand what happens when you make bad decisions in life and thus to do that is to bring them to the Wagner’s Youth Facility here at the Belize Central Prison so that they could hear the stories of these young people and that might dissuade them to come here as an inmate so don’t want to bring them as visitor which is very important for them to see what goes on behind the prison. We hope that our intervention will help them from coming here as a inmate.
Andrew Hold Student Frank Lizama: “I was on the street for a while, my brother helped me get back on the right path and I attended Frank Lizama Training center so you can’t be following bad friends and what’s not. You have to stay in school kids, always remember to stay in school kids and don’t follow the wrong person. I never say I will end up like anybody in a little carrot suit or something like that but yea you now, you have to keep the mind open and keep it set to what you want and what you need in life and once you want become something you do it, you don’t just stay one spot and do nothing, you have to keep the move.”
Jose Sanchez: “ William Dawson The Director of the Wagner Youth Facility says the motivation inspirational messages are the collaboration that allows for self reflection and positive messages…
William Dawson: “We have testimonials from inmates of the general population of the Belize Central Prison and from interns that live at the Wagners Youth Facility. Key message is to keep hope alive, be inspired, be motivated, have a high self esteem, believe in yourself, hang around positive people and absorb positive energy. If you don’t absorb positive energy you will be engaged in negativity so we just want to keep them engaged and choose your friends wisely and make positive decisions We have 34 youths in the Wagners Youth Facility who are here today and they will interact with the youths.
Inmate: If unno don’t fix p unno self in the next two months ,three months, five years, four years. It up unno self because unno will end up over yah.
Jose Sanchez: “The students have absorbed the message and intend to keep learning a trade.”
Jair Mckenzie Student: “Nothing is out on the street to do and then I didn’t want to go to high school so my mom said she didn’t want me to stay home so then I just gone to school, its skill so then I took arts last year and this year I am taking PC.
Jose Sanchez: “ How do you feel seeing kids your age in prison, I mean what does it make you think about?”
Jair Mckenzie Student: “It makes you feel bad because it makes me feel like I don’t want to come back here so I want to stay out there and do a better life and so.”
Kadajah Young Student: “I think it is not easy out here sir, I think its hard. I wouldn’t be able to make it one day here. Stay on the right path, think before you do anything simple or stupid sorry but think before you do things, don’t just let your friends lead you into the wrong path and try make your mom proud.”
Jose Sanchez: “Do you think it would be beneficial for other students from other schools just to come and see that if they do wrong they can end up here?”
Kadajah Young Student: “I think everybody should get a chance to do this because not everybody get to see this. Nobody know how hard it is out here, how hard the struggle is. Jose Sanchez for Love News.”
The Belize Police Department under the supervision of Senior Superintendent Howell Gillett has several programs for youths including, barbering, bartender certification along with supervised visits to the Belize Central Prison.