Belize Is Watching… And Waiting

Belize Is Watching And Waiting
Last Updated: March 8, 2023

In less than a few weeks’ time, Justice Antoinette Moore is expected to hand down her verdict in the manslaughter trial of former police corporal Kareem Martinez. People across Belize, and the world, are anxiously awaiting the court’s decision.

Some 20 months have passed since that horrific night of July 14, 2021 when Kareem Martinez, still serving as a Belize Police Corporal on duty in Placencia, shot 14-year-old Laddie Gillett in the back. And with Justice Moore expected to announce her verdict sometime around the 24th of March, many of us are again thinking about Laddie’s murder, its aftermath, and why it continues to have such a profound effect on so many people.

Laddie could have been anyone’s son, brother, cousin, or friend. The fact that he was so normal, just a typical, happy-go-lucky young Belizean, is what made his killing resonate so strongly within so many families and communities.

No wonder so many people related to the expression, “We are all Laddie.”

Immediately after the shooting, large numbers of Belizeans, many of them youths, peacefully took to town, village, and community centres with signs, candles, prayers and chants.

The initiatives and projects had a positive focus. A few projects of remembrance and of positivity have been conducted such as the refurbishment of St. Andrew's Playground in San Ignacio Town and Laddie's Memorial a sea side garden created in Placencia on the site where he drew his last breath - turning a scene of horror into a serene spot for contemplation and healing.

Where To Now?

Working towards a more positive future, Laddie’s family and friends established a legally registered, non-profit foundation to support, provide resources and help protect Belizean youth while giving them a voice through initiatives like the successful Youth for Change symposium recently held in Belize City.

Calling on businesses, governmental and non-governmental organisations, and tapping into a global network of youth-affiliated associations, The Justice For Laddie’s Foundation hopes to assist Belizean youth with access to training, mentoring, scholarships, career and skills pathways, and other services.

For the sake of Laddie’s family and friends, our communities, and Belize’s young people, we pray that the verdict and sentencing results in true Justice for Laddie.

Belize Is Waiting