Hostel Residents Protest!

Hostel Residents Protest!

Belize City: 2nd October, 2018

On Tuesday morning shortly after 10:00 am, ten (10) female resident youths of the Princess Royal Youth Hostel staged a protest because they were unhappy that classes were being held inside their dormitory instead of the usual classrooms. The ten females were able to make their way to the rooftop of one of the buildings by breaking through the ceiling made of sheetrock and prying open loose zinc.

According to official sources, the reason for the change of location was because some of the staff called in sick, and relief staff were on their way. Due to this staff shortage, the residents could not be escorted around the compound as per the normal schedule of activities until the relief staff arrived at the compound. This resulted in the ten female residents reacting to the change in operations.

The population at the Princess Royal Youth Hostel, Gracie Rock Village, Miles 21 on the George Price Highway is made up of both males and females. The residents are youths that are considered high risk and/or are in conflict with the law in Belize. The main responsibility of the Youth Hostel is to equip the youths with knowledge, skills, and empowerment to help them become more productive members of society. 

 Could what took place at the Princess Royal Youth Hostel this week be a microcosm of a much larger society? Are our youths fed up of the system that has failed them over and over? Just this week it was reported that over 60 students from the Saint Peter Claver Community Extension College are also staging a protest. The students there are unhappy because 9 teachers were fired after standing up for their rights. The teachers were unhappy about changes made to the payment of their small stipend. As we go to press the students at Claver Community College remain out of class and there is still no resolution ahead.

In November 2015, there was a horrific fire at the female section of the Princess Royal Youth Hostel. Three girls are Ana Carlos,  Shadisha Arnold both 16 years old and  14-year-old Elizabeth Mckoy were burnt to death. The three (3) teenage girls were locked in a room after escaping the day before and were re-captured by police. Serious allegations were made that several protocols were not followed. One such allegation is that the door to the room where the three teenage girls were being held was padlocked and at time of the fire was giving trouble to open.
Despite a report being completed on what really transpired on November 28th 2015 inside that building where the three (3) teenage girls were being held; the findings were never made public. Two (2) years ago on March 4, 2016, CEO of the Ministry of Human Development, Judith Alpuche told the local media “although the report is concluded, neither the report nor the names in it can be made public at this time until all necessary legal procedures are followed through.”

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