Headline — 25 August 2015 — by Rowland A. Parks
Melchor mob attacks Belizean shoppers

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Aug. 24, 2015–Around this time of the year, there are more excursions from Belize to Melchor de Mencos, Guatemala, than the normal weekend trips, because many Belizean families are of the view that they can literally stretch their dollars in Melchor, especially in the season before the new school year, when their uniform/books expenses are very high.

Yesterday, Sunday, however, a Belizean family suffered a traumatic experience and had to run back across to the Belize side after they were attacked by a mob of Guatemalan men near the Melchor market.

This incident comes on the heels of the Guatemalan navy’s aggression against the Belize Territorial Volunteers two Sundays ago, on August 16, in the Sarstoon River, Belizean territory, where the Guatemalan navy has been exercising sovereignty since the last days of May when the Belize Government ordered a contingent of the Belize Coast Guard to withdraw from the area.

Belizean forces have never returned to Sarstoon Island to exercise Belizean sovereignty over it since that incident. The other side of the story, however, is that Melchor de Mencos, a western Guatemalan border town, benefits tremendously from the money spent by many Belizeans who flock to the town to buy schoolrelated supplies and other items, and a good number of Belizeans also go there to buy cheaper vehicle parts.

A Belize City resident, however, has called for a stop to Belizeans spending their money in Guatemala.  Belize City resident Diana Trapp, who had to be rushed to the San Ignacio Hospital by Belize Immigration officers after she sustained a large cut wound near her left calf, told KREM Radio and TV reporter Sharon Marin-Lewis that a group of Guatemalans began cursing them in Creole and told them they don’t like Belizeans and that they should go back to Belize.

The clash between the Belizean shoppers and the Guatemalan men occurred because one of several men, who were in a group drinking, allegedly touched a twelve-year-old girl inappropriately. The girl is a relative of Trapp.

Trapp said that she has been making the Melchor trip for a long time and has never had any problems. This weekend, however, as their excursion time was winding down, she and other members of her family, including some children, were
discussing what they should do next with the limited time they had left to spend in Melchor.

After they finally figured what they were going to do, they began walking and came upon a group of taxi drivers who were socializing on the side of a street. As they walked past, one of the men grabbed at Trapp’s twelve-year-old niece, and it was when the older family members, including Trapp and her boyfriend, reacted, that all hell broke loose.

Trapp said that as 2:00 p.m. was approaching, she and her family were standing near a dollar store, located in the vicinity of the old Melchor market.

“One of my girlfriends said, ‘Man, no mek we go through deh’,” Trapp recalled.

“I did not pay that no mind. We still end up going through there. And when we were about to turn into the market, which is like an alley that had two stalls, left and right, some men were sitting there, some on the right and some on the left. My two nieces, my two nephews and my boyfriend, my sister and my two friends, they were all ahead of me.

Me and a young lady name Keisha mi deh da back. We di tek wi slow lee time and we di walk through,” Trapp recounted.

“Wan lee old man whi mi di sit down by the left hand side of the store grabbed at my niece, but he caught her bag. My sister no hesitate, she just give him one or two box. And I think I would have done the same thing, because da my niece,” Trapp explained.

“My boyfriend look round and asked the man, ‘whi you touch my niece fa?’” Trapp went on to relate.

“I couldn’t believe so many Spanish [people] know fu talk English over deh,” Trapp told Marin-Lewis. “The man start to cuss we inna Creole,” she said.

“Unno set a b…ches, haul unno f…in rass out a fu we country. We hate unnno,” Trapp said the man cursed them.

In describing what happened as they walked off, Trapp said, “wi just si pint bottle start to fly.”

“One of the man whey have one store, he haul one big machete after my nephew, who is only fourteen years old,” said Trapp.

Trapp added, “My nephew returned with a pint, and everybody try run. I mi done get hurt. Some run left, some run right; I know I run right. When I reach around whey all the taxi deh, my friend said to me, ‘Dianne, you get cut!’ I look down and saw blood di spray.”

Trapp said that she got into a taxi and returned to the border, where she found one man who could speak English.

“But I guess because him da Guatemalan, he can’t help me,” Trapp said.

She recounted that when they reached Belize Immigration, her boyfriend went to three policemen who were on the Belize side of the border and explained to them what had just happened to them across Melchor.

The policemen told him that they could not do anything, Trapp told Marin-Lewis.

After she handed the immigration officer her documents, she was taken to the San Ignacio Hospital, where a doctor explained to her that pif the cut she sustained had been a little deeper, it could have cut through a main artery and the loss of blood could have cost her her life, Trapp said.

“I just wa sey one thing to all Belizeans: wi need fu stop go spend wi money da Melchor. Spend it ya. I think we could spend it ya, enjoy it and nothing nu wan happen to we,” said Trapp.

Trapp said her boyfriend’s ankle was swollen as a result of the attack, and another woman got a small cut. Trapp explained that in Belize we don’t allow any man to touch a young girl, and they could not tolerate such a thing just because they were in Guatemala.

“I would a go down di defend my niece, my boyfriend and my family,” Trapp said.

“Dem hate we, and we need fu stop go deh,” Trapp remarked.

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