Editorial — 12 April 2013

Kirk Nicholas is the son of one of Belize’s greatest musicians, saxophonist Bert Nicholas, the founder of the famous Harmonettes. Both of Kirk’s parents (Mr. Bert and his wife, Eva Lodge Nicholas) are dead, and Kirkie has been mentally challenged for some years now. Kirk moves in the Regent Street West area where we sell this newspaper on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. So, we see him often.

The television news reported on Wednesday night that Kirkie had been sentenced to two years in jail by a magistrate after he had been declared competent to stand trial by a psychiatrist. A society lady of substance had accused Kirk of assault. Please understand, we are not blaming the complainant. Mentally challenged people can be frightening. We’re not even blaming the psychiatrist. And, we’re not blaming Belize. We are a poor country, and poor countries have all kinds of problems dealing adequately with the mentally challenged.

We just feel so sad, because Kirk Nicholas does not belong in jail. And, mentally challenged people make the job harder for people who run Kolbe. This is a no-win situation, from beginning to end.

Having a mentally challenged person in the family adds greatly to the pressures of life on those Belizean families who are so afflicted.

In the larger sense of the community, it is some of our most brilliant and sensitive citizens who become mentally challenged. This is sad.

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