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Some Good News For A Change

Finally Some Good News
Last Updated: March 1, 2023

As we await Justice Moore’s verdict in Kareem Martinez’s trial for the manslaughter of Laddie Gillett,  a recent Channel 5 Belize report has provided some welcome news.

Karim Martinez Laddie's Murderer

The good news is that a decrease in homicides means that Belize no longer has the dubious distinction of being among the top ten most murderous countries in the word.

Yes, homicides in Belize have dropped from 125 in 2021, to 113 in 2022, removing The Jewel from membership in that ghastly club.

And Police Commissioner Chester William’s take on the reasons for this decline has particular relevance for members of the Justice for Laddie Foundation.

In our last post, we outlined:

Three essential goals that Laddie’s Foundation is working towards.

Ensuring Justice for Laddie

Seeking Positive Change in Belizean Law Enforcement

Honouring Laddie’s Legacy Through Laddie’s Foundation

We’ll need to wait until the outcome of the trial to see if there will finally be justice for Laddie.

We’ve always maintained that making an example of former police corporal Kareem Martinez will help protect the lives of young Belizeans in the future. At the very least, police and anyone else will think twice before pulling a gun on a child.

Special forces

But the second element,  a Positive Change in Belizean Law Enforcement, may already be arriving with the dawn of a more proactive approach to law enforcement.

As ComPol Williams said in that Channel 5 broadcast, “we are not just looking at addressing crime from a response standpoint, but to be more proactive dealing with the symptoms of crime.”

 One of the ways to make this work, he said, was by “tapping into different agencies,” like the Ministries of Human Development, Education, and Youth and Sports.

Speaking further about the reduction in homicides, the Commissioner said,


Chester Williams

“It is all a result of hard work, dedication and commitment on the part of the police department and the partner agencies that work very closely with us. As you would know, we piloted the multisectoral approach to fighting crime last year and that module does incorporate the assistance and support of other governmental and non-governmental organizations…”

 More excellent news!

Bringing other agencies into the law enforcement mix, we believe, would result in fresh ideas and new approaches to the challenges facing both the police and the young people they serve.

This approach chimes with a primary feature of Laddie’s Law:

  • Nominate a private citizens review board to liaise with the Police Service to examine and jointly issue a report following any instance of a minor being hurt or killed by police officers.

It seems to us that with “the assistance and support of other governmental and non-governmental organizations.”  Commissioner Williams has a readymade citizens review board at his fingertips.

Legally registered nonprofit youth-oriented NGOs like Laddie’s Foundation, working with the Police and the other governmental organisations the ComPol mentioned -   the government Ministries of Human Development, Education, and Youth and Sports, would go a long way towards enhancing the communication and trust the Foundation has always promoted.

Young Belizeans speaking at The Youth for Change Symposium that the Foundation recently sponsored in Belize City, made it clear that there is a serious lack of communication and trust between police and many young people.

Youth For Change Symposium

We have no doubt that such an interagency approach to law enforcement would result in greater transparency, and hopefully lead to greater communication and better understanding between police and young Belizeans.

Instead of the old, adversarial approach some police officers have developed towards certain young Belizeans, imagine a new environment of greater communication and trust.

Another statement ComPol Williams made to Channel 5 was;

“I have always said that one of the best ways to intervene among rivalling people is by sports. Intervention through sports is always good. It gives these young men the opportunity for them to become more disciplined, to interact with each other, to be able to discuss and getting to know each other better and that diffuses tensions.”

The Justice for Laddie Foundation strongly shares that belief, and earlier expressed a desire to work with the Police Department to develop sporting events in Belize

For example, many police departments across the USA and, increasingly, the world have Police Athletic Leagues (PALs), often renamed as Police Activity Leagues, because, according to Wikipedia, “many of the programs are now focussed on youth enrichment, educational and youth leadership programs and not just sports.”

Laddie and his love for sports

Which is exactly the focus we have in furthering Laddie’s legacy. He loved sports, but he was about so much more than just athletics.

In a following post we’ll go into more detail about our proposal to work with the police to support young people through initiatives such as a Belizean PAL.

For now, as the lawyers prepare final submissions in Kareem Martinez’s manslaughter trial, and Belize anxiously awaits Justice Antoinette Moore’s verdict, we thought we’d share this good news about Belize’s declining homicide rate, the work the Foundation bearing Laddie’s name is doing, and plans for the future.

It’s been a long, hard, and often agonising journey since that horrible night of July 14, 2021, when former corporal Kareem Martinez devastated families and an entire nation by killing a promising young Belizean. But, in Laddie’s name, many of us are determined to see justice done, and, together, help make Belize a better place.

Laddie Before he was murdered

This is the Belize that Laddie would want,


Belize is Watching