BELIZE CITY, Mon. June 27, 2016–The life of Anthony “Pun” Gillett, Sr., 38, was suddenly ended by a man with whom he usually drank and smoked.
According to eyewitness reports, as was his Friday night ritual, “Pun” was drinking and smoking with his friends.
He had just taken out a strip of bamboo to roll a marijuana joint when one of his “friends” took out a firearm, put it under his chin and fired a single shot, which then exited through his head.
Gillett died on arrival at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital at 1:24 a.m. on Saturday. His friend-turned-alleged killer, Ryan Barnett, a George Street resident, has since been arrested and charged for his murder.
Ryan Barnett, 30, did not have to enter a plea today, Monday, when Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser read a single count of murder to him, which stated that he “intentionally and unlawfully cause the death of Anthony Gillett.”
Barnett will now join the list of those prisoners who are transported to the Magistrate’s Court on a regular basis for adjournments until a preliminary inquiry is held to determine if his case will be committed to the Supreme Court.
Barnett’s case was adjourned to August 16.
Initial reports had said that Gillett had been shot twice, but police have confirmed that he had been shot only once. The bullet wound on the top of the head was an exit wound, a senior police source said.
While ACP Chester Williams has classified Gillett’s death as non-gang-related, we have been informed otherwise. His death, his work colleagues said, was a loud and clear message to one of the reputed leaders of a testy northside Belize City gang.
Gillett, who was a father of six children, ages five months to seventeen years, and who served almost two decades as a porter at the Philip Goldson International Airport, is the third of his brothers to lose his life by gun violence.
Almost seven years ago, his older brother, Norman “Pungu” Gillett, was executed on the steps at the House of Commoners, at the corner of Partridge and Vernon Streets, after shooters climbed over the fence.
Gillett’s daughter, who had spent a few hours with him before his death, told Amandala, “If my pa mi kill lot ah people or chance somebody everyday like they real gang man, den I neva mind, I mi wa seh ‘yes, daddy, da yuh turn’, but my pa innocent…”
Today, four of his six children and their mother reminisced on the life he had lived. They recall him being jovial, hardworking and supportive.
When Amandala visited his colleagues in Ladyville, they were all distraught. As his colleagues and his children cleaned out his locker at the airport, pain was visible on their faces.
Myric Flowers, who had worked all 16 of his years at the airport as a porter alongside Gillett, told Amandala that the bond they shared was beyond friendship; they were brothers, he said.