Posted: Thursday, December 30, 2021. 9:07 pm CST.
By Felix Novelo: It was the headline “Dwayne Cummings, the promising student-athlete from UB, found dead”, that sent shock waves around the country. One would dare say it was the beginning of an unprecedented unified outcry for justice and dissatisfaction against the crime and violence that permeates Belize as well as the inadequacy of the police department to combat crime and senseless murders, and the weakness of the judicial system in delivering swift justice.
Dwayne Cummings-Avila, well-known and well-loved in Orange Walk was a rising basketball star for the hometown semi-pro team, the Orange Walk Running Rebels. Just after midnight on a Saturday, February 8, 2019, he was walking home when someone shot him once to the head taking his bright future and life away.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and Head of the National Crime Investigation Branch (NICB), Joseph Myvette, in a press briefing stated that “shortly after midnight, on Saturday, Orange Walk police was called to an area on the San Lorenzo Road, where, on an off-road, they discovered the apparent lifeless body of Dwayne Avila, who reside in the same area. Our investigation so far has indicated that the deceased was at the basketball game at the stadium, and shortly after 11 p.m., he left the area of the game on foot, walking alone.”
The mother of the deceased Delcia Cummings gave an interview to 7 News Belize– “Answers, all I want is answers. The only reason I am doing this – because I honestly said that I wouldn’t speak. I don’t want to go through this, but I just need answers. I just want somebody to come and tell me what did he do to deserve this. I don’t even need to sit here and say what type of person Dwayne was. Everybody knows him, and everyone loved him. Dwayne had so many different families in Orange Walk. So many different persons I can sit here and say were his mothers, treated him like family.”
hard-working parents, brothers, uncles, nephews, and cousins. Only 48 hours later Masaki Yanai another UB student was fatally shot when attempting to defend his father from gunmen who entered to steal at their home. Then it was Kevin Frutos, a UB student again and a public officer – who is believed to have been robbed and then killed.
These murders sent waves of outrage across the country, enough is enough! UB Students started to protest against the gun violence, senseless murders, and all the pain and suffering it had brought. Abdias De Paz, UB Student at that time expressed to the news media ‘I just think we need to take a stand against this injustice. We have someone like Dwayne who was dear to us, not only a friend but my past student as well and just to see him lose his life because of foolishness and I think we are tired of this foolishness and we need for it to come to a stop.”
Alyssa Sosa, Dwayne Cummings girlfriend also commented “They are normal citizens who just want to live their lives and they have been cut from the chance of having a good life and just being there with the people they love because someone choose to put a bullet in them and because they had no reason to I guess and even if they did, I believe that if anyone saw anything or if they know anything that they should come forth and just help because the police job is not an easy job and they need all the help they can get.”
On February 14, 2019, Breaking Belize News reported “Police: One step closer to solving the murder of Dwayne Cummings”. ACP Joseph Myvette told the press that, “We have been following on several leads where certain information was gathered, and as a result of that, certain materials of evidential value were retrieved, and those were taken to the lab.” Several persons were detained, interrogated, and released in connection with his death. However, formal charges are yet to be brought against anyone.
As it approaches 3 years of Dwayne’s unfortunate and senseless murder, we take the opportunity to pay homage to an outstanding and talented athlete, one of many that gun violence has robbed from their future and the great contribution they would have made to society. Our wish for 2022 is that this coming year gunmen take conscience of their actions and acknowledge the amount of pain they are causing.
Mr. Gunman – Enough is Enough.
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