Laddie Gillett's Story


Laddie in the beginning

Laddie was born on March 26th, 2007 in Belize City.

Laddie was a vibrant lad while growing up. He was curious about life and asked many questions, not only to his family but to his teachers as well. Because of this curiosity he almost burnt his house down when he lit a computer on fire just to see if rubbing two rocks together would actually produce fire. That scared the daylights out of him and he learnt that experiments such as those should be done outside with adult supervision and not inside the house. He never tried that little experiment again.

laddie gillet portrait as an infant
photo of laddie gillett and group of friends posing for a photo

Who Laddie Was

Laddie was always a happy human being. Even after being punished, he would never hold a grudge. Because of his happy go lucky personality, people, especially his friends at school would sometimes take his teasing the wrong way. His guardians spent countless hours explaining to him the importance of what being a true friend is and that sometimes his jesting brings more harm than good to those around him.

Most of the time these words fell on deaf ears because he didn’t see anything wrong with his behavior because that’s just who Laddie was, a playful child who showed his love by teasing the daylights out of you. Most of his friends and cousins soon realized and adapted to this part of Laddie, and life became less complicated for everyone involved.

Laddie and Granny Fel

Laddie started his life with Granny Fel as a baby and began his education at the community preschool in Camalote village. His teacher talks about how Granny Fel would call her everyday as soon as Laddie left home on his bicycle simply to tell her that Laddie was on his way and will be at school shortly. The teacher would call her back five minutes later to let her know that Laddie had reached school safely.

This is the kind of love that Granny Fel had for her little Lad. Laddie started grade 2 at Belize Christian Academy in Belmopan. She stopped calling his teacher to ensure his safe arrival because his teacher, Ms Sharon lived in the same yard with him. She still made sure, though, that as Laddie’s teachers changed throughout the years, she had every one of their phone numbers. She would call them twice per week to make sure that Laddie was on top of his game at school. She would often tell them, “nuh fraid fi spank ih bottom if he get out a line”

Laddie with baby ian and granny lucy smiling for a photo

Laddie's life at Chaa Creek

Laddie loved his cousins in Camalote. They learned how to ride their bikes together, played football in the yard together, climbed trees and broke a couple of bones in the process.

Laddie stayed at Chaa Creek every other weekend and all of his long school holidays from the time he was a baby until his passing. He burst his first Pinata in Auntie Bryony’s yard for his third birthday. He spent hours with Tayshaun, Albert (three the hard way) his Auntie Bryony and Uncle Emil, his baby brother Ian, Mr Mick and Ms Lucy.

He loved riding horses, playing with Ian, swimming in the river or pool, playing football and basketball, cooking and creating art with Ms Lucy, learning how to drive with Mr Mick, and being a tourist in his own country. He loved taking hikes or running the trails with Tay for exercise.

King Lad

Laddie found a nickname for everyone around him and he didn’t care if they liked it or not right, bubbles? His cousins made sure to drop names on him like “ole face, ole youth, Laddie sausage, chips, Laddie daddy, ladman, big knee” but the only name he answered to was the one he gave himself. “King Lad”.

Tayshaun remembers Laddie as his breakfast maker, that was another of the attributes that he had learned from his mom, Granny Fel. He knew how to make a very decent breakfast.
Laddie was a warrior from day one. He was not afraid of anything. He did not make his size keep him from doing the things he loved and especially if the bigger boys were doing it as well.

laddie gillett and his friends in swimming pool
laddiee gillett potrait in football jersey

Laddie's Friends

Laddie always chose older boys as his friends since his first friends were his cousins Tayshaun and Albert. As they were older than he was, their friends at school soon became his friends as well. This is exactly how he met Thomas Palacio, the friend who was the last person to see him alive on that fateful day.

They played football for a while on the same team. At that time Laddie was the runt on the team, Coach P explained to him (after he wouldn’t stop begging) that she will put him on the team just because he loved the sport and had the talent and not necessarily because he had the age. All the shirts were too big for him but that was not an issue for him. He was on the team and looking like a little penguin in his big shirt was the least of his problems.

Thank You

To all his family and friends, his teachers and classmates, his coaches, his motivators and anyone else who had contributed in any way to Laddie’s life, we thank you for loving him. Thank you to the entire country of Belize and beyond for supporting us in this demand for justice for our child, our champion, our warrior, our friend.