Many Belizeans have expressed outrage that a Belizean Officer in the line of duty was shot down and killed allegedly by Guatemalan poachers; and that it would appear they will not be held accountable.
On Tuesday, about two hundred Belizeans organized for a rally, protesting Government’s handling of the situation. The rally started with a motorcade which was about one mile long, beginning from San Ignacio and making its way to Bengue Viejo del Carmen.
One of the protestors and organizers, Nancy Marin, said that the purpose of the rally is to show the Guatemalan Government that even if the Belizean Government does not care that Guatemalans breach the border to kill Belizeans, the people of Belize do care.
“Our people are no longer secure, not in the jungle and not on the borderline. Today we are all risking ourselves because we’re putting our lives at risk for Belize
A few months ago there was shots fired, not by Belizeans you know. They were Guatemalan men who fired.”
“[This rally] is a symbolic message that we’re sending, that though our government is apologetic, is appeasing, is fearful, that we as active Belizeans have had enough. We’re not afraid of anything. We’re not trying to create any kind of diplomatic disturbance, like they had suggested, but in reality the Belize People’s Front, and the affiliate members, believe that we are not enjoying diplomatic relations with Guatemala.
The pressures that they’re putting us under, simply just to organize this rally. You wouldn’t believe the pressures that came on the Belize People’s Front, and on the Police Department here in San Ignacio, and this is pressures coming from Government.
We see people out here that are Civil Servants, that are Police Officers, that are Special Constables, that are Tour Guides. This takes a lot of courage to stand up here.”
At Tuesday’s rally, Attorney Audrey Matura Shepherd was the keynote speaker.
Audrey Matura-Shepherd – Attorney
“Many people don’t want you all to know that just before the shooting with Danny the reason the BDF could not respond immediately was because the vehicle broke down. That is what Sedi Elrington should be clamoring about. How come we don’t even gave them the proper tools? You know what else they don’t want you all to know? They don’t want you all to know that yes someone died now!
But long before that our security personnel were being shot after; BDF and the special constable and the police and the people from FCD. That is the reality on the ground. It did not made the news because no one died and for those guides it has become an everyday norm of life. But they didn’t want you all to know that, but those were the warning shots. Those were the warning shots that they never took serious.”
As we reported on Monday, Superintendent Dinsdale Thompson had gone on record to say that Danny Conorquie was killed by Guatemalans. However, he was seemingly pressured to retract that statement on Monday, and those gathered at the rally on Tuesday had a lot to say about that.
Also present at Tuesday’s rally was Danny Conorquie’s mother, Jean Conorquie, who expressed gratitude to those who turned out for the rally. She said that the show of support for her son is overwhelming.
“Well I feel good this morning to see everybody turn out. This makes me feel good because I know Danny has support. What touches me today is because I never knew Danny had so many people who cared, and loved him.
I never knew that he was loved so much. I knew that Danny had lots of friends, but when I came out here, and I heard over the radio how people talk and call in and thing, and I said my son, I never knew that you were loved by so many people, and that gave me the strength to come out. I feel good now because I see everybody taking part. The village came out to take part.”
Jean also told us more about the 20 year old Danny Conorquie who was loved not only by his mother but by his Aunt who was a second mother to him.
“Danny never got to finish school because things were bad at home. The furthest Danny reach was third [standard], then he say ‘Ma, things are hard, I’m going to work and mind you.’
I remember Danny, like six o’clock when he get up, because the first thing he do he say, ‘Morning Ma’. He’d go straight to the stereo and put on his favorite song, and he sang while he polished his shoes. He sang while he ironed. And the last thing Danny did before he left the house, he turned off the radio and he gave me a kiss. And danny left the house for work.
Every morning at six o’clock, I remember Danny and cry.”
The rally ended off with a small parade in front of the Customs and Immigration Building. The protest started at about 9:30 Tuesday morning and lasted for over two hours.