BELIZE CITY, Fri. July 23, 2021– Belizeans countrywide have been both angered and saddened by the recent fatal shooting of 14-year-old Laddie Gillett on a Placencia beach by a police officer.
Since the incident, the Minister of Youth, Hon. Kevin Bernard, has publicly expressed his outrage at the unjustified shooting of an innocent minor. “It is disheartening to learn of the killing of the minor, without apparent cause or justification. This fourteen-year-old had his entire life ahead of him. I am deeply disturbed by this news. I join with the rest of the country in a call for a proper investigation to be carried out and for justice to be served on behalf of Laddie Gillett,” Hon. Bernard said while being interviewed by local media.
Minister Bernard stated that he is of the belief that more should be done to better safeguard the lives of young people countrywide. He stated, in reference to public outrage over the DPP’s decision to bring a charge of manslaughter, rather than murder, against the officer who shot Laddie, “The charges, that is they’re based on the law, is manslaughter; I personally feel that we should look at that. Personally, I cannot do it, but I think the attorneys will have to fight that there is better and stronger justice. But not just for Laddie; there are many other young people who have faced this same thing”. The Minister further talked about reform in the Police Department, which he feels is necessary so that every citizen receives appropriate treatment by those in authority.
Minister Bernard and the Ministry of Youth have expressed their regret and condolences to Laddie’s relatives and loved ones.