It never gets any easier to report the many murders taking place in Belize City or elsewhere. But when the victim is well-known, and well-liked, and in fact one of our very own in the press corps, it is especially painful.We have the sad duty tonight to report the passing of 27 year old Kareem Jabbor Clarke of New Road, Belize City, who was shot to death early this morning. The reporter for Amandala Press had been riding his bicycle on Vernon Street heading toward the bridge crossing Lakeview Canal at Lakeview Street, heading home after visiting a female friend, when a gunman opened fire. Clarke was hit with multiple gunshots – to the left side of the forehead, back of the head, abdomen, right upper back and middle of the back – and police recovered eight expended 9 millimeter shells from the scene. It is all depressingly familiar, and so too are the tears of his family, to whom we spoke this morning as they remembered their fallen loved one. His sister told us that Kareem was well-liked and certainly had no enemies who wanted him dead.
Sister of Deceased – “Early this morning around 2 o’clock, that’s the approximate time that I could recall because everything is jumbling in my mind right now. He’s my brother, my heart, that’s my mommy heart they took away from us. Kareem nuh do nobody nothing. He was an intelligent student, he graduated Honors at E.P. Yorke. He was very like that everyone of his working establishment, he worked at Fultec, he worked at Ready Call, and now KREM and Amandala. And he loved his job because late da night he used to sit up di write ih stories – peace and quiet. Di hours he used to deh up we used to seh, ‘huh, my bredda nuh wah mek it fi goh da work.’ He loved – ”
He was not one to report such threats in his daily life to his family.
Julia Clarke, Mother of Deceased –“He da somebody weh nuh talk. He nuh wa tell yuh – he’da neva she, yuh know. You woulda neva know weh di happen wid ah. Neva. Ih neva tell yuh nothing. You’da have to find that out pan yuh own or stranga tell yuh.”
From the police’s perspective, Supt. Hilberto Romero of Eastern Division says they have neither motive nor suspects. However, they have a major problem, as the Vernon/Lakeview area has now seen its third murder in a week following those of Ruben Leslie and Tyrique Thompson last week. The Superintendent says police were too far away to stop this one, but they will double down on their efforts.
Hilberto Romero, Superintendent of Police –“The patrols are in that area, there’s a checkpoint in that area and this shooting happened – the checkpoint is located closer to the entrance of the Mayflower, this happened at the corner of Lakeview and Vernon St.”
Reporter – “Were police there actually at the checkpoint?”
Hilberto Romero – “I know that there’s a checkpoint there and that is manned by polices.”
Reporter – “Was it active at the time?”
Hilberto Romero – “I will need to check on that.”
Reporter – “Do you have any person that you are probably going to arrest or so for this?”
Hilberto Romero – “Well, we are following up on several leads but we don’t have anybody detained at this time.”
Reporter – “Were there any witnesses or have you spoken to anyone?”
Hilberto Romero – “Well, the police are out there doing investigations, they are interviewing persons, canvassing the area to see what they can get regarding this murder.”
Amandala Press’ official statement released this afternoon notes that on this particular Monday, when Amandala publishes its mid-week issue, Kareem would have been busy preparing stories. He had just come off writing a headline story for the Friday issue on the death of Myra Carbajal in San Ignacio, and is credited with many more, including, quote, “major stories on the Penner Passport Scandal and the troubles of the cañeros in northern Belize, in addition to the usual beats of crime and politics from across the length and breadth of Belize.” End quote. This month marked two years since he joined Amandala’s staff, and the newspaper says that, quote, “His murder has left a vacuum that will be very hard to fill.” Kareem also covered stories for Amandala’s sister media houses KREM Radio and KREM Television. He will be sadly missed by all in the press corps, and their messages will be featured later in this newscast.