Word of Belize, particularly San Pedro, has likely reached all the corners of the world this week, but it is not probably the best publicity that we have expected, or want for our beloved country.
A murder that occurred over the weekend in the northern part of the island of Ambergris Caye has been picked up by international media and exploded into the airwaves, television and, in particular, the internet. What has made this murder a highly volatile news item is the fact that a very well known ‘celebrity’ is caught in the middle of the criminal investigation.
Millionaire and antivirus software mogul John McAfee, who has been residing in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye for some time now, is wanted by the local police for questioning due to circumstantial evidence. He is not wanted for murder, only for questioning as a person of interest, among others. McAfee was a neighbor with the US national who was murdered and he had an argument with him. What is making the news even more sensational is the fact the McAfee is hiding and through US media contacts has commented that he does not want to be caught by the Belize police force because he fears for his life.
It is a well known fact that McAfee has had his share of run-ins with Belizean authorities earlier this year with a case that involved guns, police raids, drugs and multiple teen lovers. Therefore, it is all of this sensationalism surrounding McAfee's lifestyle that the international media is following from the chaos in mainland Belize, now to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye as he has made the island his second home in the country.
Major media houses from around the world are flocking to San Pedro, making their own reports and carrying multiple stories mostly on McAfee’s eccentric lifestyle, and nearly nothing about the homicide case that left one dear friend of island residents dead. Little is coming forth from the police department as they say that investigations continue, with a couple of McAfee’s employees already detained for questioning.
Mayor Daniel Guerrero says that his office telephone line has been ringing off the hook with calls from major and small international media houses that include the United States, Mexico and Canada. The Mayor says that everybody wants an update on the murder case and to know if there is any further connection of McAfee to the case. According to the Mayor all he can say, is what he and everybody else know and that is that the case is still under investigation.
What Mayor Guerrero is doing, is taking the opportunity to market Belize and invite all these media personnel to come and visit San Pedro to see how life on the island is. It is not a war zone as probably pictured in some of the reports. We live in a beautiful Paradise in which so many tourists return to visit because of its charm, beauty, people and the peacefulness . This is only one murder case that has been sensationalized by the fact that a high profile personality is potentially involved.
The fact is we cannot run away from this story as it has already blown up to major proportions outside of the country. It’s a sensational story that has definitely carried a negative connotation of life in Belize. But Mayor Guerrero is confident that we can pull out of this. He urges island residents and Belizean counterparts to stay positive and help by clarifying certain negative and misguided reports about our country, and be active in the social media to promote Belize as the paradisiacal haven that it really is. Yes there is crime, theft and murder in Belize, much like in every other country in the world, but it is surely not as gruesome as some outlets picture it to be.
I am not denying there has been a recent increase in crime (mostly theft) on the island, but the Mayor, Area Representative and local authorities are taking measures to reduce this spike in criminal activity on the island. Many steps have been taken, some are in the works, and gratefully the island has started to see positive results. What we all have to prepare for is the high tourist season that is coming up and prove to all these visitors why we are called La Isla Bonita, which I know we can and will.
In the video below, San Pedro resident John D. Turley expresses his sentiments, and that of the majority of residents of San Pedro Ambergris Caye, about the media frenzy surrounding the murder case of Gregory Faull and possible ties with John McAfee and the negative sensationalizing of crime in Belize.
"Ambergris Caye, Belize is one of the most beautiful, most desirable, and most accessible islands in the Caribbean. It is consistently rated as one of the top 10 islands in the world to live on, and has been rated by Islands Magazine as the #1 island in the world to retire to."
PLEASE TAKE TIME TO WATCH THIS VIDEO. THANKS JOHN TURELY.