Published in:

Laddie Three Weeks On

laddie gillett three weeks on portrait journals
Last Updated: August 4, 2021

It’s said that time flies.

But ask a family still recovering from having a loved one suddenly, senselessly and brutally taken from them. A family who each night sits at a dinner table looking on at a seat from which so much love and laughter flowed, and is now so still and empty.

For us, time drags on. Day after day, from the moment we wake until we struggle for sleep, waiting for the rawness and pain to lessen, each moment of absence reminds us that our Laddie is not here, and will never be back in our lives.

It’s also said that time heals. But, for us, healing has been a slow process.

We know that we’re not the only victims of gun violence. Too many families carry the burden of sudden, unimaginable anguish that becomes a daily sorrow.

But we are different in that our Laddie, our beautiful fourteen-year-old lively and loving son, grandson, brother, family member and friend, was taken from us by someone entrusted and paid to protect us.

Paid to protect you. And those you love and care for.

Three weeks on, as we still struggle with the raw reality of Laddie’s murder – a tragedy compounded by the fact that he was shot in the back by Kareem Martinez, a police corporal on duty, we ask you to join Laddie’s family, friends, and all Belizeans in honouring Laddie’s short life by demanding change, by insisting on better.

Even Corporal Martinez’s fellow police officers are saying that Laddie’s murder never should have happened. But their words will continue to ring hollow in our ears unless they commit to joining us – the public they are entrusted to protect – in doing something to make sure this never happens again.

We’ve also come to realise the truth behind another saying – that justice delayed is justice denied. Corporal Martinez will not face judgment, Laddie’s family and friends will not see justice done – if at all - until at least October. Meanwhile, a murderer is free to enjoy all the benefits of freedom. Perhaps he’s relaxing on a beach near where he took the life of an innocent child.

If it seems wrong, and potentially paving the way for such anguish to happen again and again, we ask you to join your fellow Belizeans in demanding change.

In demanding

Justice for Laddie.

In the coming days, weeks and months, there will be more community actions where you can join in the quest for change and demand for justice.

When the community comes together, it’s makes it harder for officials to ignore this tragedy, and to not take the concrete, verifiable steps needed to ensure it never happens again.