The case of the missing businessman, Owen Tucker, intrigued me, despite my semi-retirement from case research. It was a routine “missing person” announcement in the media early last week, but after a couple days it seemed to me that I knew this name. I did not recognize the 66-year-old person in the photograph, but the name seemed somehow familiar.
Our newspaper has a brilliant lady (computer specialist) who works with us who lives in Biscayne, the area from which Mr. Tucker had disappeared.
I believe it was on Saturday afternoon that I got Deshawn’s cell number from Jacinta, the business manager, and called Deshawn, who began to fill in some of the vacant spaces in the story.
By then, it seemed to me that Owen Tucker was a person who had attended Wesley College in the mid/late 1970s and had won a Belize Open Scholarship. But, he had been abroad for many years, and I couldn’t find anyone to confirm my speculations.
Now, I no longer research stories at our newspaper. But, here was a Belizean who had made a major investment in the Crocland project which had been a Luke Espat concept during the days in the early years of this century when Michael Ashcroft was pouring money on him like crazy, and the daring Luke had bought the Port of Belize, begun the Crocland project and begun building the Renaissance Towers mega hotel. Spectacular stuff, by Belizean standards.
The Owen Tucker investment in Crocland indicated that he was moving in the big leagues of business. How does a man who is so big disappear from the same area, Biscayne, where his major business investment is located?
On Monday this week, I made contact with a source who directed me to a fairly close Owen Tucker relative, who is himself a business powerhouse in Belize. His company secretary gave me a cell number, whereupon I made contact with said relative, and introduced myself.
The conversation was not extended, because I did not want to involve him in this affair which was beginning to appear completely tragic. I wanted him to confirm the Wesley College and Open Scholarship aspects of the Tucker biography, and he did. Owen Tucker had discussed his Crocland investment with his relative, but they had not been in contact for three weeks before Owen’s disappearance.
Now this is a story for our local journalists to dig into deeper. For me, what angers me is how a Belizean who brings money from abroad to invest in his native land is murdered so brutally. I didn’t know Mr. Tucker personally, but remember him as a quiet, respectful young man.
A couple weeks ago, I wrote that I don’t recognize this Belize of 2022. This incident is a warning to Belizeans who decide to return home after a long while abroad. This place is out of control. One of the reasons for The Jewel being out of control is that big-time business people in the “legitimate” circles are in contact with the most violent “shatazz” in the streets.
I am reminded of the Therese Blake murder near her home in the exclusive Barracks area. The millionaire heiress daughter of the business magnate, James Blake, Therese was shot and killed in her own vehicle two decades or so ago. As I remember it, this sensational murder was never solved. Of course, this is how it is with the vast majority of murders in Belize.
Belize is a country which began living a lie after political independence in 1981 and after the first change of government in 1984. Mr. Price was not a saint. There were people close to him who had gangster tendencies, but I don’t believe things were out of control, not the way they are now. Mr. Price had the personal power to keep things Belizean under relative control.
To me, insanity began when Belize began selling passports and opening our society to total strangers, massively wealthy strangers, and so on and so forth. Some Belizean attorneys got very rich off this exercise, but various, traditional aspects of our society began to unravel.
Owen Tucker returned to a Belize where life is cheap. This was not The Jewel he left after winning the Open Scholarship. It is terrible what was done to him. And for what? A small business dispute?