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US Chargé d’Affaires Pays Visit to the Saint Martin’s Community Resource Hub

Chargé d’Affaires Keith Gilges is making his last rounds at the community resource hubs in Belize City. This morning, Gilges made his final appearance as the head of the embassy at the One-Stop Auto Care Shop on Partridge Street in the heart of the Saint Martin De Porres area. The hub was opened in December last year and within seventy hours of it being operational, it was targeted by gunmen. The tragic incident resulted in the death of thirty-year-old Terrence “Goofy” Rhaburn and four other men were left injured. Today, Gilges paid homage to Rhaburn and spoke about the resilience the men have shown in seeking a better life, despite bearing witness to tragedy.

Keith Gilges, US Charge D’Affaires: “I had an opportunity to go with Terrence’s mom Barbara to lay a wreath to his grave and so when we come here you know looking at the success of One Stop Auto Shop that is the tribute to in many ways the sacrifice that Terrence made unfortunately when he lost his life here but it’s great to see that this project continues and is gonna thrive despite that sort of set back. But we certainly want to pay tribute to Terrence known as Goofy, to Terrence and his life and what he’d done. Over the past seven months we’ve been working with different communities around Belize City on the program we call “Empowering Communities to Empower Themselves.” and you know Bertie and I have done some morning shows, we’ve done a bunch of stuff and to often come out and do the launch but I said to him at the time “Hey next time I’m in the area I’m gonna stop by and say hi.” So this was not intended to be a media event this was just an opportunity for me to come by and see how the guys are doing because you know our participation in this program is to say here are some funding, here are some things. Ideas are coming from them and from the Love Foundation and the Kolbe Foundation but you need to make it a success. Our support only goes so far and then it’s up to you guys standing on their own and that’s what they’re doing not only building this business but building the model for other communities around Belize and that’s Bertie and his colleagues in Yarborough and George Street and other areas that are doing such an amazing job.”

One of the men, who survived the attack on his life, is thirty-three-year-old Albert Clother. Clother spoke about the changes he has been trying to make in his community despite the chronic gun violence that often consumes them.

Albert Clother, Mechanic: “We’re trying to be sincere with what we’re doing here so somebody has to be the bigger person and turn the other cheek and set the example and that’s what we’re trying to do here to show that crime is not always the answer. We could look past that and hope for better days. We’re here in the community, we’re doing our mechanic work, our day to day work but also we try to get engaged with people in community with the youths, with the elders, we attend these neighborhood watch meetings from time to time. We also attend the youth meetings take them on little trips and we try to be more active in the community as well to give back to them as well.” 

Reporter: Since that unfortunate incident have you or any of the guys here found it difficult to work in the area ?

Albert Clother, Mechanic: “No no. Since the incident we have police presence, they pass through every half an hour. We had police stationed across the street. We have a camera that they installed to monitor in the area so right now it’s safe to work here and the guys feel comfortable working back it’s just for the people to get comfortable and they come back and we have a lot of people that help us and come and support the business so I would say it’s okay.”

Clother added that the One-Stop Auto Care provides services such as auto mechanic repairs and detailing along with car washing services.