By Glenn Tillett: It has taken a few days for me to regain some semblance of emotional control to write this, and to do so without profanity I think, but please forgive me, because that is not a promise.We are an armed, angry, paranoid people.
Many years ago, and it no longer matters how long ago it was in years, I criticized Mr. Barrow’s much heralded “Restore Belize” initiative and predicted it would fail. My primary point was that he had created a pretty but petty bureaucratic solution for a real problem that needed real world street leadership and tactics. I tried not to gainsay the effort too much because I had by then long accepted that the problem of criminal violence, particularly on the streets of southside Belize, needed a massive expansionary but inclusionary effort, the likes of which is unprecedented in the annals of Belize’s existence, and therefore anything, and I mean any-frickin-ting, was better than nothing.
It took me almost 72 hours to process that my friend, the esteemed Albert Cattouse Esquire, was gunned down in cold blood on a Belize City southside street.
It will take me the rest of my life to mourn his death.
I not only considered Catt a friend, a bit of a mentor, and a great fellow citizen, but he was the proverbial salt of the Belizean earth.
He was an “activist” because he was unafraid to speak up and stand for what he believed in. And what he believed in was a more just and equitable Belize.
Even when we disagreed, even strenuously and vehemently, I could count on him returning to his good humour and amicable outlook on our friendship, and his love for this nation and its people before all else.
Catt’s murder is a political hit.
It is a hit because our political leaders refuse to accept their responsibility for and duty to a society that continues to spiral into the chaos of civil war.
I said those many years long ago that Restore Belize would fail because the politicians who had been elected the leaders of those violence depraved constituencies were not given any responsibility or duty for its success, ergo the failure. I do not know what is the bottom line price tag for Restore Belize but it sure had enough to be a line item in the hundreds of thousands year after year in the annual national budget so it would seem lack of money was not the problem but …
Their impunity continues.
Mr. Barrow is the elected leader of one of the most violent constituencies but his people boast he does not need to even set foot in it to be elected and re-elected again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again.
The legacy of his stewardship must also be measured in the volume of the blood staining the streets, and the number of the bodies that have piled up.
And he is not the only one. He has at least a few times rolled up his sleeves and brushed off his Armani’s and met with some of the supposed perpetrators of the violence. But when in government and at the head of the government he has NOT held any of the elected leaders accountable, some of whom sit alongside him in Cabinet weekly, for their reponsibility to their duty to their constituent communities and to this nation and people.
And one of those is my friend. RIP Albert “Catt” Cattouse. A nation will miss you.
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