BELIZE CITY, Wed. Dec. 6, 2017–In an exclusive interview today with Amandala, president of the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU), Senator Elena Smith, confirmed that she was the victim of what appeared to be an armed robbery.
Smith recounted that on Friday evening sometime around 5 p.m., she, her 13-year-old son and the Finance Officer at the BNTU headquarters were all going home from the office. When the three were near the lane behind the Belize Elementary School, in the vicinity of Nacho World, two men on separate bicycles rode past them. The men stared at the trio, then circled back, and this time the men approached Smith.
“They asked for money and my phone and the request was, ‘give me your money and your phone or I’ll shoot you,’” said Elena.
One of the men began rummaging through her purse, but found nothing.
“He was unable to find anything, and I guess he became agitated and he said again, ‘where is the money, where is your phone?’” Smith recalled.
The robber, who did not actually show a gun, motioned near his waist as if he had one, and again warned Smith that someone would be injured if they did not comply.
“My child was with the phone because I had just given it to him to do something, and he had the phone and I guess he probably got frightened when he heard the threat of someone being shot. He made a turn, causing the robber to see the phone. He then took the phone from my son,” related Smith.
While the BNTU president’s son was being relieved of her Galaxy Note 4 cell phone, the other robber attempted to rob Senator Smith’s female colleague, who began to scream for help, at which point employees at Nacho World were drawn to the commotion and so immediately called for police.
Before officers arrived, however, the robbers had ridden off into the night. Reportedly, no money was gotten by the worthless thieves.
According to Smith, it was unfortunate that she lost all her photos and videos of her family. It was also unfortunate that her son had to undergo this experience.
She said, “Unfortunately, my child was with me on that day, and so that is what I am regretful of, that he was there.” “I’ve requested that his school counsellor meet with him just to see if they can offer any help just to make sure that he is okay, because as adults, we were quite shook up; it took me the entire weekend to really get myself calmed down, and so just imagine a 13-year-old,” she added.
After the incident, police took Senator Smith, her son and her colleague home. On Monday, she provided officers with a statement on the incident.
Hours before the robbery, Smith had made blazing statements in which she scolded the ruling UDP administration. She had gone on the record urging them to pay the $90 million arbitration award which the Caribbean Court of Justice, in a recent ruling, had ordered the Government of Belize to pay to Belize Bank Limited.
When Amandala asked Elena if she thought that the entire robbery was staged by persons tied to the ruling government to intimidate up and silence her, Smith said she hoped not, but would not at all be moved by it.
“I hope not. I would not expect that persons at that high level would stoop so low. Yes, it was frightening for me, but it’s not going to stop me from doing my job. I have a job to do, and I will do my job no matter what. My work continues, and they will not stop me from doing my work. I’ll have to die first,” she said.