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#496103 - 09/26/14 10:58 AM Lawman Killed At Caracol
Marty Offline

Investigators Suspect Guat Bandits

For the first time in memory, a Belizean lawman on duty has been killed reportedly by Guatemalan civilians, presumably border bandits in the Chiquibul forest. It happened today just after noon at the Caracol Archaeological Park - in extreme western Belize. 20 year old Cayo resident Danny Conorquie, a police special constable assigned to the Tourism Police Unit was shot and killed after he rounded up some horses being used, presumably, by cross border bandits who were engaged in illegal activity near Caracol.

A press release from the Ministry of National Security says it occurred in the general vicinity of the main temple in plain view of several tourists and tour operators. Today the BDF Adjutant, Lt Col. Raymond Shepherd told us more about the incident. He says the BDF at Tapir Camp in the Pine Ridge received a distress call at 12:10 from the two tourism police officers to say that they were coming under fire:..

Lt. Col. Raymond Shepherd, Commander, Chief of Staff - BDF
"On behalf of the commander, office admin of the Belize Defence Force I would like to express our condolences to the family and friends of the deceased, to the Belize Police Department and in particular the Belize Tourist Police Unit."

Daniel Ortiz
"Now sir, discuss with us what you guys have been able to establish on the ground in the Caracol Archaeological Reserve?"

Lt. Col. Raymond Shepherd
"We received a call about 10 minutes after 12 earlier this afternoon that the tourism police at Caracol had captured 5 horses and they are requesting a backup as they are receiving fire from the xateros."

Daniel Ortiz
"When you guys got this information, what was the response from the BDF?"

Lt. Col. Raymond Shepherd
"We had BDF patrol in the immediate area and they responded. They arrive at the location at about 30 minutes later, they did a sweep of the area where they found the lifeless body of the police with 3 gunshot wounds to the left side of the his body."

Daniel Ortiz
"We are told that he was in the company of another officer from the same police unit. Can you tell us if you guys had any discussions with that individual?"

Lt. Col. Raymond Shepherd
"Yes, our patrol on the ground had spoken to him and initially he informed them that after the police fell to the ground, the xatero came up to the body and remove the firearm from him and then they made good their escape in the westerly direction towards the Guatemalan border."

Daniel Ortiz
"Has the officer describe to you the details as to what happened after the horses were confiscated?"

Lt. Col. Raymond Shepherd
"Yes, about 5 minutes later they came under fire from the xateros."

Daniel Ortiz
"Did he discuss with you how many of these persons were firing on both of them?"

Lt. Col. Raymond Shepherd
"No, not exactly."

Daniel Ortiz
"Can you tell us the details as to circumstances surrounding these police officers and their posting at the Caracol Archaeological Reserve?"

Lt. Col. Raymond Shepherd
"Yes from what I understand there are two tourism police officer that is station at Caracol on a permanent basis."

Daniel Ortiz
"Is it the norm that these officers operate by themselves? At what point do they interact with officers of the BDF who may be in the area?"

Lt. Col. Raymond Shepherd
"Whenever we do patrol in the area, we do link up with them and they provide information as to sighting of xateros in the area. We do conduct patrol in that area as routine basis on a minimum of two time per week and on a daily basis once we have tourists going into that location. The BDF escort the tourists from the Silva Camp to Caracol and back on a daily basis."

Daniel Ortiz
"Were there anyone else in the area at the time of this shooting?"

Lt. Col. Raymond Shepherd
"We understand that there were 12 tourists on location at the time."

Daniel Ortiz
"Is there any precedent for something like this where a law man has been killed by what is believe to be Guatemalan xateros?"

Lt. Col. Raymond Shepherd
"No, it is a very sad day for us. This is the first time that we have experience such incident. We suspect it involves foreign people and therefore Foreign Affairs needs to get involved."

Daniel Ortiz
"Is it something that concerns that persons who are doing illegal activities in the area have now escalated to the point of killing law men in the area?"

Lt. Col. Raymond Shepherd
"Right, it shows that they are resolve in doing what they have been doing and they will go to any extent. Therefore we have to exercise as you would expect more caution."

Daniel Ortiz
"When these incidents happen and there is no determining evidence which points to them being Guatemalans who may have perpetrated this particular instance at this particular incident - there is always that rebuttal that how do we know that they are Guatemalans. In this case are able to say with some certainty?"

Lt. Col. Raymond Shepherd
"Well primarily, you have to base off the report of the police that is still alive and whatever evidence we could gather from the scene. At the moment there is a representative from the OAS on location doing an initial report."

San Ignacio CIB and Scenes of Crime personnel were deployed to the crime scene. They arrived the around 4:00pm, and at this hour, the body is at the San Ignacio morgue.

A Ministry of National Security release says that quote, "additional security personnel have been deployed to the Caracol Archaeological Site to ensure the safety of the hundreds of visitors who frequent the site." End quote.

Channel 7


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#496130 - 09/27/14 11:01 AM Re: Lawman Killed At Caracol [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

The Caracol Context

Now, for context we should note that the Caracol Archeological Park - as part of the wider Chiquibul Forest is only a five kilometers, or three miles from the Belize Guatemala border - and that area has been under constant pressure from Guatemalans crossing the border to steal Xate leaves, illegally extract timber and loot the site - much of which remains un excavated. That they have come so close to Caracol is an indication of how brazen the Guatemalan poachers have become.

In January, we spoke to Raphael Manzanero from the Friends for Conservation and Development about Guatemalans cutting logs right along the Caracol Road - which was cause for great alarm just eight months ago.

Rafael Manzanero
"The Guatemalans cutting down the Mahogany and Cedar right along the road which is use as access to the Caracol Archaeological Reserve. The most aspect of the concern is because it is very close. In fact the trees that were cut less than 2 weeks ago they actually were dropped right over the highway; over the road. We are actually talking about no more than 1.5 miles from the Caracol center."

Jules Vasquez
"Hearing it - it requires such gall, it's such blatant outlaw behavior right now in the heart of what we should exert control and authority of - the archaeological park."

Rafael Manzanero
"That's correct and what we have done really is to inform and I would assume that NICH would be able to meet and discuss on what they would need to do. Certainly being so close to the reserve, it basically means that the rangers there, the park warden would be required to do more monitoring and surveillance around that zone."

Again, that was January, and yesterday 20 year old Danny Conorquie got caught right in the middle of that outlaw behavior - except that, yesterday, the Guatemalans weren't 1.5 kilometers away from the Caracol Center - as they had been in January; yesterday - they were in the center right near the main plaza with 12 tourists and a guide on the site. There are credible reports which suggest that Danny Conorquie was trying to protect them when he lost his life. There is also information, which says that the horses had been seen by law enforcement from the day before - and that they were involved in logging activity.

Now, there are two important breakdowns in standard operating procedure which contributed to this tragedy. First, BDF soldiers must accompany al tourists into Caracol because of the dangers posed by Guatemalan bandits - this was brought into sharp focus in May of 2006 when 9 tourists were held up at gunpoint and robbed. But yesterday, the BDF transport was not working so there was no BDF escort - had they been there, all this might not have happened. Secondly, whenever horses are captured by law enforcement, they must be removed form the area immediately because the outlaws who are always lurking in the bushes will want them back. This was not done yesterday - and the horses were left at the Caracol site.

It is disturbing on so many levels and today the opposition sent out a release saying, quote, "the PUP is outraged at this brazen, daylight killing of a young Belizean special constable in the line of duty by what appears to be Guatemalan intruders."

It continues, "every attempt must be made to bring Danny Conorquie's murderers to justice as quickly as possible. We demand…that the Government…lodge an immediate and vigorous protest of this crime and affront to our national security and sovereignty, with counterparts in Guatemala, at the highest level, once we can confirm that this abhorrent act was committed by Guatemalan nationals trespassing in our national reserve." End quote.

The release then goes unto chastise Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington who appeared on 7News yesterday urging restraint in labeling the culprits as Guatemalan.

The PUP says, quote, "We condemn the timid, almost cowering reaction, of Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington…We absolute(ly) reject any stance which does not recognize that the Special Constable paid the ultimate price for his country…"

The opposition statement says, quote, "we stand ready to meet with the Government of Belize to find practical, workable solutions to this evolving security crisis." End quote.

The NTUCB issued its own statement this evening, saying, quote, "the cost of modern day invasion on Belizean territory has gone up too high!"

Channel 7


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#496137 - 09/27/14 11:31 AM Re: Lawman Killed At Caracol [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Police Say Special Constable Conorquie Was Executed

Danny Conorquie

Tonight, there is national outrage over the murder of Tourism Police Officer, Danny Conorquie.  In this newscast, we look at his callous slaying from all angles starting with the ongoing investigations. At midday on Thursday, twenty year old Tourism Police Officer Danny Conorquie was gunned down while on duty at the Caracol Mayan Site in the Cayo District. Details were sketchy at the time as B.D.F. officers and Police CIB and Scenes of Crime personnel scoured the scene. By evening, there was much information, or we should say misinformation, being circulated on many fronts including official sources. But tonight there is credible information which suggests that Conorquie was cold-bloodedly executed by Guatemalans, shot in the back as he did sentry duty for a group of tourists who were at the site. Our News Five team was in Cayo today looking for the truth, and Mike Rudon has the story.

Mike Rudon, Reporting

Special Constable Danny Conorquie, assigned to the Belize Tourism Board’s Tourism Police Unit, died at exactly eleven fifty-six on Thursday morning. The young man was on duty at the Caracol Mayan Site, where he would rotate for two weeks at a time. There has been much speculation, rumour and misinformation circulated, but Police investigations have shown that his death was an act of cold-blooded murder at the hands of men who caught him off-guard.

Reymundo Reyes

Insp. Reymundo Reyes, Deputy Commander, Cayo Formation

“Special Constable Conorquie and the other Special Constable at the site were conducting routine patrols, providing security for some tourists at the site. Special Constable Conorquie at the time was sitting down under some thatch shade facing the main temple at the Caracol Archaeological Site when the sound of a gunshot was heard and it appears that the person came from behind, from behind the bushes to his direction and he was first shot on his back. He dropped to the ground and then two more shots were heard. This is when apparently the gunman walked up to the officer, who was already on the ground, and fired the other shots on him, fatally wounding Special Constable Conorquie.”

According to Reyes, Conorquie was also shot on the left side of his ribcage and to the left side of the face. The other Tourism Police Officer on duty heard the shots and ran to the aid of his fallen friend, but it was too late.

Insp. Reymundo Reyes

“The other TPU was providing security for two or three tourists who were being toured around the area, but he was at a distance from where Special Constable Conorquie was, where they should have met after the tour. After hearing the first shot, he ran towards the direction where he knew the officer was, and that’s when he saw the person stood over the officer and fired the shot, fatally wounding the officer, and he saw a second individual picking up the shotgun that the officer had with him and they started to retreat back towards the bushes. These persons apparently had sight of the officer and they also fired shots in his direction. He ended up firing his shotgun in their direction but they made good their escape.”

While bureaucrats and diplomats have refused to say so…trained officers in the B.D.F. and Police who are no strangers to confrontation in that area say that the men who ambushed Conorquie were likely Guatemalan encroachers.

Insp. Reymundo Reyes

“We believe that these persons are…I cannot say that they are xateros…but we know that they are not Belizeans and might be Guatemalans. The area that they made their way, or their escape route, was heading towards the Guatemalan borderline, precisely to one of the villages, I think San Valentin. That is the direction that they made their escape. At the end of the day it was not one or two but three persons seen running away from the scene.”

An official government release Thursday evening, issued by the Ministry of National Security, stated that Special Constable Conorquie had attempted to approach two Hispanic men on horseback. According to Reyes, that is blatantly false. Not only did Conorquie not approach the men, but they escaped on foot, and not on horseback.

Danny Conorquie

Insp. Reymundo Reyes

“At no time did Special Constable Conorquie attempt to apprehend anybody when he was fatally injured. He was providing security as I mentioned. He was facing the main temple where tourists were at the top of the temple. We can say that he was caught off guard when he was fatally wounded, when he was first shot on his back.”

Police have recovered three expended nine millimetre shells from the area, and are still on the ground along with B.D.F. personnel, hoping to catch up with the culprits, we’re sure. Mike Rudon for News Five.


Murder at Mayan Site is A Security Wake-Up Call

Reymundo Reyes

There is unity in outrage over the senseless execution of Danny Conorquie. But there are also questions about the rationale behind having only two Special Constables providing security at such a remote location. Today we asked Reyes if the tragedy might serve as a wake-up call that there needs to be an urgent revision of security protocol.

Insp. Reymundo Reyes, Deputy Commander, Cayo Formation

“These officers are deployed every two weeks, every two weeks there is a changeover of two police officers and we know that they have the support of the rangers and of the B.D.F.  Unfortunately, it appears that yesterday, when the tours were happening, it was only the two tourism police officers that were on the ground. They are trained, they know the grounds and how to patrol the areas, but they never had the support yesterday unfortunately of the B.D.F. at the time on the grounds.”

Reporter

“Is this something of a wake-up call beucase I understand that special constables receive very little actual police training, maybe in terms of confrontations? Is this a wake-up call to say we need to revisit our presence on the ground as police officers?”

Insp. Reymundo Reyes

“There are several things that we have to look at when it comes to the security of these officers—not only of them, but also the tourists. Training has been always a part of the police and I think that certain things need to be revised to ensure that an incident like this does not occur or happen again.”

The National Institute of Culture and History issued a release today stating that the site at Caracol is closed until further notice.

Channel 5


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#496143 - 09/27/14 12:02 PM Re: Lawman Killed At Caracol [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Killed At Caracol, Constable Conorquie’s Family Grieves

Yesterday, 20 year-old Special Constable Danny Conorquie was killed by Hispanic men - believed to be Guatemalans - at the Caracol Archaeological Site in Western Belize.

If they were Guatemalan, the young constable Conorquie becomes the first Belizean lawman to be killed on Belizean soil, in the line of duty by civilians from the other side of the border. It is disturbing from a security perspective - but there's also the tourism angle: the shootout which led to his death happened in plain view of several tourists and tour operators who were visiting Caracol.

And then, there's his family: they lost a son and brother in circumstances that would boil the blood of any patriot. Today, they came to the City from their home in Georgeville to deal with the post mortem.

His mother was still overcome with emotion - and angry at statements made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs:

Jean Conorquie - Mother of Deceased
"Danny love his job and he always talk on defending himself on his job, but then I don't know what went wrong for them to hurt my son like that. I am trying to hold up, but just now when I went to see him in there he doesn't look like my son at all. They are doing the post mortem, so we had to gone and ID the body. It's really hard, it doesn't look like Danny. I know someday Danny would get hurt with the cycle, or on the job, but I didn't expect it like this. They never had to do my son that. I don't know if he had any enemies out there, but in the village that he grew up everybody is Danny's friend. Everybody talks good about Danny. Everywhere I go "Ms. Jean you have a nice son" - thank you miss, thank you sir and they told me to keep on encouraging and I tried my best, my sister tried her best and everything. I don't know what went wrong."

Insp. Reymundo Reyes, Deputy Commander, Cayo Formation
"Mr. Conorquie is a young officer in the Tourism Police Unit. First he started to work in Belize City and later on he was transferred one year and 9 months now that he was transferred here in San Ignacio. He is a very productive officer; one I could say best when it comes to arrests and so forth. He was willing to go on operations, does his job to th4e best of his abilities that he could. Disciplinary, we never had any problem with that young man. He was somebody that always wanted to gain your trust and he was a friendly person."

Daniel Ortiz
"So it would be safe to say that the police department has lost a good officer?"

Insp. Reymundo Reyes
"That is right."

Jennifer Conorquie - Aunt of Deceased
"He had dreamt to be a police officer and I know that he had got into the force he would have been one of the police officer that wear that uniform with pride. The thing that really hurts us right; I work with the ministry of national security, but this might cost me my job but I don't care, it's my nephew. When we were watching the news the thing that pains a lot is that the BDF were saying that it was the xateros that shot Danny and then for the Minister of Foreign Affairs to come on the television and say that he got information that there were only two Hispanic men. Who else could it have been? It has to be the xateros. Who else would come out of the bush and hurt my nephew like that. It hurts a lot. We don't have any anger. But it pains a lot to watch the television and to hear it from the Minister of Foreign Affairs saying something like that and like we sitting there and then like there is nobody call us or anything. We, the family are trying to figure out what we are going to do or what we are going to say to my dad. My dad is 86 years old and when we had to break the news to him, it was like it's not true, Danny would never get shot because Danny don't have any enemies. But it pains our heart for someone to say it's the xateros and then coming from the high above is saying its two Hispanic men and not the xateros. I mean everybody knows that lots of things happen at the back there and it doesn't come on the news. This is not the first time that there was a shootout, they had many more, just that it doesn't come on the news."

And while that is the family side of the story, the police, the state, and the military also have to react. First off, it's a police homicide investigation.

Last night, you heard the BDF Chief of Staff explain that he was killed because of some confiscated horses. Well, police from the San Ignacio Police Station say that Conorquie wasn't involved with the confiscation of those horses. Their investigation says that another group of law enforcement officers were patrolling in the area a few hours before, and the encountered persons believed to be Guatemalan Xateros. Those officers confiscated 5 horses and lumber, but they didn't catch the men who fled.

The area then cooled off for the time between that first encounter and Conorqiue's subsequent shooting. What the investigation points to is that the young special constable was doing his duties at the site, which is to keep an eye on the tourists at the site. The Hispanic men then arrived on the compound just before midday in an ambush-type operation. The men shot him from behind and then one of them stood over him and executed him with multiple shots to the head.

We stress it's just a theory that police are working on: that Conorquie was the target of some bizarre retaliation against Belizean law enforcement.

Today, the Deputy Commander of San Ignacio Police talked with us about what they've been able to establish so far:

Insp. Reymundo Reyes, Deputy Commander, Cayo Formation
"At the time of the incident it was sometime around 11:56pm when Special Constable Conorquie and TPU Monty Peck were conducting routine patrols within the site whilst tourists were visiting the temples, when allegedly Conorquie was sitting down underneath one of the shades looking at the main temple where some tourists were when 2 male persons came from behind the bushes and fired a shot which caught him on the center of his back. Special Constable Conorquie apparently fell to the ground and that is when the person approach, stood over him and fired a single shot on his face causing him to die right on the spot. Accompanied was another male persons with these persons who shot Special Constable Conorquie who picked up the shotgun that Special Constable had and they start to retreat back towards the bushes when TPU Monty Peck had sight of them and they ended up shooting at the officer, so he in turn return fire with the shotgun that he had also, but unfortunately I believe that he never hot any of them and they manage to make good their escape."

"At this moment in the investigation we are interviewing people. We are getting statements from tour guides and so forth who were in the area, but we do not a motive. One would believe that the persons went there not to rob tourists, but they had a motive, their intention was to just reach there because as they approach the officer who was giving them his back at the time - he was shot without a word being said to him whatsoever. The officer weapon was taken. These persons came not to rob tourists or whatsoever. He was the first contact that they had and he was the first person that was shot there and then killed and they took his weapon and made their way towards the direction of Guatemala."

"Where the incident happen is actually within the compound of Maya site. The incident happened in the site itself. How far is any of the other villages that connect us to Guatemala, I cannot say, but the directions that the persons took based on the tracks that were followed by members of the Belize Defence Force lead them to that the persons made their way towards Guatemala side."

As we've told you, a representative from the Organization of American States has been dispatched to look into the shooting death of Constable Conorquie. The Foreign Affairs Ministry is keeping a close eye on the investigation, but at this time it is a Foreign Affairs matter because there is no evidence which points definitely to Guatemalan perpetrators.

Channel 7


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#496174 - 09/29/14 11:00 AM Re: Lawman Killed At Caracol [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Police say Guatemalans murdered Danny Conorquie

Police have now concluded that the death of Special Constable Danny Conorquie was at the hands of Guatemalan nationals.

The officer commanding the San Ignacio police formation Assistant Superintendent of Police Dinsdale Thompson stood up at the funeral for Conorquie today in Georgeville and as he conveyed condolences on behalf of the Police Department, announced that the investigation, which is still ongoing, has definitively concluded that the murderers of Conorquie are not Belizeans and that they are of no other Central American country than Guatemala.

This announcement drew sharp reaction from many at the funeral, who openly said that this announcement needs to reach Belize’s Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred Elrington whose comments following the murder on Thursday, September 25 about ascribing blame without knowing the identity or nationality of the murderers was premature.

The 20 year old Special Constable was laid to rest at the Georgeville cemetery following a well attended funeral service.

Conorquie was given a full police funeral, complete with a twenty one gun salute at the graveside.

Patrick Jones


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#496175 - 09/29/14 11:02 AM Re: Lawman Killed At Caracol [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
If you are interested to lend your voice and stance against the execution of Danny Conorquie. there will be a bus leaving the pound yard bridge at 7:00am Tuesday Sept 30 and it will leave San Ignacio at 1 pm to return to Belize City. Plz indicate if you will go on this bus. you can call 223-3491 during office hours or just send an inbox message here on fb to confirm as we want to make sure we fill our bus.

See the official invitation below.

==================

Esteemed Colleagues,

On behalf of our fallen brother and fellow patriot, Special Constable Danny Conorquie, we hereby invite you all to attend a protest in honor of this brave young Belizean patriot. This show of solidarity for our patrimony, sovereignty and most of all for the people who place their lives on the line on a daily basis deserves more respect and support from central government.

We have watched the swift response by GOB regarding the shooting death of Guatemalan Thomas Ramirez, in the Chiquibul. We demand the same and more for this our fallen brother, along with increased security for our tourist and fellow Belizeans tour guides, who frequent this area as a part of their daily routine and livelihood.

We meet at the Macal River Park @ 9.00 AM on Tuesday September 30 2014, we then move via motorcade to the Western Border thereafter.
This is a non partisan non political event, please be advised accordingly.
The Belize People's Front, The People's National Party, Vision Inspired by the People, Belize Territorial Volunteers, COLA, BUA, San Ignacio Tour Guides and many other patriotic Belizean NGO's have committed to attend.

We look forward to a united and clear intent to place the security of all Belizeans as a priority.

In Solidarity,
The Belize People's Front Executive

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#496198 - 09/29/14 06:56 PM Re: Lawman Killed At Caracol [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Discussion on incursions into the Chiquibul Forest, on the heels of the shooting near Caracol. On Open Your Eyes, with Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director of Friends For Conservation and Development, Lt. Colonel Raymond Sheppard Chief of Staff of the Belize Defense Force, and Joe Awe, president of the Cayo Tour Guide Association and vice president of the BTIA in Cayo.


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#496230 - 09/30/14 10:52 AM Re: Lawman Killed At Caracol [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Police Force Cayo Cop To “Come Again”; Danny’s Killer Was Not (Necessarily) A Guatemalan

The funeral service for 20 year old Police Special Constable, Danny Conorquie was held yesterday in his home of Georgeville village. Conorquie was killed on Thursday at the Caracol Maya site, and the perpetrators are believed to be Guatemalan poachers - who were in the area illegally and cutting trees without a license. Police investigators are working on the theory - and it is a very disturbing one - that Thompson was killed merely as an act of retaliation against the state after a team of Belizean lawmen confiscated five horses and lumber form them earlier that day. Police say that Conorquie likely didn't have anything to do with it - but still was targeted for attack because he only had one other officer with him.

So, Conorquie, who was assigned to the Tourism Police Unit, died doing his job, protecting 12 tourists and a guide who were on the site - without a BDF escort that day because the soldiers didn't have any working transport.

Nationally, it's very heavy: a Belizean lawman - the first - killed by Guatemalan cross border bandits; but for his family, the weight is so much more: They lost a son and brother just as he was coming into adulthood. Yesterday afternoon, Danny, who aspired to be a full police officer received a police burial in his home village of Georgeville. Police from Cayo and the Tourism Police unit carried his coffin draped with the Belizean from the funeral service to a waiting police pickup. There was a procession on the Western Highway with a police escort, and a cordon of police officers. Senior police officers were also in the procession.

They escorted the body to the village cemetery where fellow lawmen lowered his body into the grave - followed by a gun salute. At the funeral, Officer Commanding San Ignacio, Superintendent Dinsdale Thompson gave his farewell to the group. Like everyone else, he had only good things to say about Conorquie:

ASP Dinsdale Thompson OC, San Ignacio Police
"He said boss whenever I return from Caracol I want you to write a recommendation for me because I will go and join the next intake. I tell him yes Danny I will surely write that. I would have been in deed a pleasure to write a recommendation letter for Danny without any hesitation, like what his cousin a person with great quality, so Danny wanted to join the Police Department in the next intake that is coming very shortly. Whatever many people have said, Danny is indeed that type of individual that we know at the Police San Ignacio Formation. He will be greatly missed by the police department, by his family and the entire members of the police department and the Commissioner of Police, the CEO of the Tourism Unit. They will definitely miss him greatly. We have not just lost a special constable, but we have lost a great man; someone wonderful that we can in deed looked at as an icon for being a right standard of relating to the public. The right way of how to address people. He would many times come to my office along with Cpl. Young from the Special Branch in San Ignacio and other officers and said boss I want to borrow your gun, we are going out on a mission and would say here Danny go ahead. Whenever he comes back he would tell me all what he did. Danny was always committed. One time I gave him an assignment and later on I called him and ask if he had finish the assignment, he said no boss because an emergency came up with the other officers and I had to go. I said okay, I have trust in you and I know that you will do it. And when he came back he said I did it boss. He is indeed like what his mom was telling us that Danny would not give up."

And in that same address, Thompson took the opportunity to speak to the grieving friends and family about the progress of their investigation. He declared definitively to everyone that Conorquie was killed by a Guatemalan:

ASP Dinsdale Thompson OC, San Ignacio Police
"Now the issue pertaining his death in Caracol, we have done all that we can do in relating to investigation. Our officers went out there, we have done interviews and are still interviewing some more persons in relation to who have seen and have heard certain evidence that we can put together and what we have concluded with our investigation that it is not Belizean, it is not any other Central American but Guatemalans that did this. It is more than time for us Belizeans to raise up when it comes to those who want to just come upon our soil and take our lives or take our possession in the way that they are presently doing it. Tomorrow I understood that there is taking place a rally, a demonstration in support of the family, in support of peace within the country on Belize saying that we Belizeans we are tired of Guatemalans coming here and just intruding upon our lands and taking our lives, taking our substance just for the sake of taking them how they want. Danny life for sure we are celebrating, but it goes towards saying that it is time for us to rise up because when we see that other nationals coming in from other countries and killing the citizen of Belize, not only citizens but law enforcement officers - then it is saying something that we need not sit down anymore and allow activity or such type of behavior by foreigners upon this land no more, so as I said we are continuing our investigation and we won't leave any stone unturned and know for sure that our diplomatic part will be kicked in in relating to this to bring about the individual or individuals who have cause the death of Danny to persecution here in Belize."

Today, there was an un-precedented reversal of the position. 24 hours after he said it, and it made national headlines, the police press office issued a statement from Officer Thompson saying, quote, "I am hereby retracting what I had said publicly at the funeral. I would like to now say that we have no evidence to prove that the culprits who shot Danny Conorquie are from Guatemala."

If you're saying "wow!", so were we. But that sudden, sharp and rather embarrassing reversal is an effort on the part of the government to de-escalate tensions with the Guatemalans. This is much to the dismay of Conorquie's family who told the media on Friday that they were enraged by the comments of Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington who cautioned against calling the culprits Guatemalans without certain proof of that.

But, there's only so far you can go with that because anyone who knows even a little about that area five kilometers from the Belize - Guatemala border knows that armed Guatemalans are all over it, and engaged in multiple illegal activities.

Today Prime Minister Dean Barrow issued a statement, quote, "There are reasons to believe that Guatemalan nationals may be responsible for the shooting and this has been communicated to the Guatemalan Authorities and the OAS. The Guatemalan Foreign Minister expressed his government's regret over the death of the Belizean Special Constable and offered full collaboration in the effort to bring the perpetrators to justice."

The statement also says quote, "The Prime Minister has spoken personally to Special Constable Conorquie's next of kin, and offered every assurance that the ultimate sacrifice made by this Belizean hero will not be forgotten....the Government commits to looking after the financial welfare of his immediate survivors." End quote.

The statement adds that "Every effort will continue to be made to strengthen the security arrangements in the border areas."

On Friday the BDF launched Operation Incisive Gallop 2, to clear illegal border incursions along the Chiquibul Forest.

During the last operation by the same name in May of this year, a total of 25 fields covering 125 acres were discovered and destroyed.

Channel 7


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#496235 - 09/30/14 11:30 AM Re: Lawman Killed At Caracol [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Tour Guide Recounts Shooting Death of Special Constable

Following the murder of Conorquie, Caracol has been closed indefinitely by the National Institute of Culture and History. The site is one of the most visited in the country, but the brazen, cold-blooded broad daylight murder has raised some serious security concerns. When Conorquie was shot, there was a tour in progress and tourists in the plaza. Tour Guide Luis Zaiden had taken three tourists to the site, and was in the middle of his rehearsed spiel on the ancient monument when they heard the first gunshot. He told News Five about the terrifying moments which followed.

Luis Zaiden, Tour Guide

“We hear wah gunshot. Now that mi sound unusual fu hear wah gunshot in dat area. My tourists seh well she mi think they deh kill wah snake, because at the same time they midi look fu wah snake we mi see earlier…wah jumping tommy goff weh mi deh deh. But then the second gunshot ring out bout two seconds after the first one. And then wah third one. Then I walk up. And when I walk up wah fourth one ring out and wah fifth one. And by then Mr. Conorquie mi deceased. He done mi dead. And then Mr. Monty Peck…wah officer weh put his life on the line fu we…I come right ya da this funeral just fu shake fu he hand because he mek we feel safe. He gawn and he shoot back atta di man deh and the man dey deh return fire.”

Reporter

Luis Zaiden

“When you get in sight of weh happen…what exactly you see?”

Luis Zaiden

“I see three man. First da mi only two. And then two a deh run and then wah next one join in with them. They look like they mi wah go down wah lee gully. But di lee gully gat lot of trees, lot of vines and they neva feel safe fu go down deh. So they run behind what we call the B Plaza Ballcourt and from deh we just hear gunshot deh fly round the masked temple…and then Mr. Monty Peck deh shoot atta them this way. So dat da weh I see.”

Channel 5


Incident At Caracol

On September 25, 2014, a policeman was shot dead in the archeological site of Caracol in Belize near the Guatemalan border. This is what we recorded moments after the incident.


Manzanero told news media that government must get serious where border encroachments are concerned.

Manzanero - "From all the reports it was a cold blooded murder and I think it shows the level of aggression that people can impose upon Belize. It has happened before on wildlife and trees, and it is still continuing on right now as we speak…you know the illegal logging, so there is no way for us to take this lightly. We have been saying this…it goes to a next level of aggression now I think. If we can just learn now from this and be able to put the components that we have been saying for quite some time…I fear that this is just a beginning to demonstrate that if we are not serious, practically they can get rid of life, and Belize is almost non-respondent on how to deal with this, so I would hope that we can demonstrate that we also have the veracity to deal with such matters. But that is left to the government machinery. It is not only one sector of government. I think we need to look at the general machinery of government and what we need to do and of course from the private sector and the population at large. We are really dealing with a front now that we need to be much more serious and disciplined in dealing with this.”

Corozal Daily


Caracol Belize special constable shot dead

Just before midday September 25th, 2014, 20 year- old Special Constable (SC) Danny Conorquie, assigned to the Tourism Police Unit was shot and killed in the line of duty at the Caracol Archaeological Site in the Cayo District. Initial reports reveal that SC Conorquie approached two men of Hispanic descent who were on horseback. The two men opened fire, mortally wounding SC Conorquie, and then fled the scene retreating into the dense cover of the jungle. SC Conorquie was rushed to the San Ignacio Town hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. A special constable in Belize is not a full police officer, but rather a low ranking officer receiving two weeks basic training aimed at assisting police officers in the execution of their duties. Caracol is a highly visited tourism site. It is believed that Belizean soldiers in the area had stolen or confiscated 5 horses from peasants in the area, and the peasants retaliated. This is the first time a Belizean has been killed in the area by suspected nationals from Guatemala. Over the past decade some 11 Guatemalan peasants have been shot dead by Belize's security forces.


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#496276 - 10/01/14 10:38 AM Re: Lawman Killed At Caracol [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Tourists Capture The Terrifying Minutes After Danny Conorquie Was Shot

Special Constable Danny Conorquie, he is the first Belizean lawman to be killed in the line of duty, apparently by a Guatemalan civilian - and tonight, five days after he was killed, the 20 year old is still making national headlines.

There was a motorcade and protest at the Benque Viejo border today - and we'll tell you about that shortly. But first to a video that was posted on Vimeo last night by a group of tourists who were at Caracol when Conorquie was killed by Guatemalan bandits.

Their video is the most arresting footage we've seen, and we air it un-edited tonight. The tourists have put some production into it - and it begins with the sound of gunshots followed by panic - we have blurred some images:…


As the video clearly shows, Conorquie was killed in the main plaza - in the heart of Caracol - an unprecedented assault - and it happened with 12 tourists and a guide on site.

As you heard the guide say in his very lucid description to the tourists - the killing was an act of retaliation - against the state security forces for confiscating their horses and timber. That is also the theory police are working with. Yesterday, the Prime Minister issued a statement saying, "the Government of Belize…expresses outrage at the heinous nature of the killing, and condemns the perpetrators of the dastardly act. There are reasons to believe that Guatemalan nationals may be responsible for the shooting and this has been communicated to the Guatemalan Authorities and the OAS."

Channel 7


Cayo Tour Guides Association Writes Letter to B.T.B. About Caracol Security

Joe Awe

The video we showed you at the top of the newscast captures the moments following the cold-blooded murder of Danny Conorquie. In addition to the tragedy and the continued incursions into our national park, there is also the issue of tourism and the safety of visitors to the prime Mayan Site. There were actually four tour guides at Caracol on September twenty-fifth, when Conorquie was executed. They were all members of the Cayo Tour Guides Association, and they were at the gathering place for the protest this morning. President, Joe Awe, says the one hundred and sixty members of the association are in full support, but despite that they did not accompany the group to the border. Awe told News Five that they believe the protest should be directed at our own government, since the failure was ours. And of course, there is also the fear that the members of the group will be targeted because they must cross the border daily due to their work. Still, don’t mistake their absence for apathy. Awe told us that they are in the processing of firing off a letter to the B.T.B. with seven main points.

Joe Awe, President, Cayo Tour Guides Association

“One is a different type of tourism detail policy that needs to be little; a little education on tourism to the security systems that are there; a suggestion that NICH also invest in the security systems as far as wardens go at the site – a particular way…perhaps we could go to our neighbours in Guatemala, Tikal. They have a fantastic way of security Tikal. It includes roads and particular security options…those are a few of them and I am certain that our tour guides are recognizing that the ease with which this happened, there was a tremendous failure in recognizing that something like this could actually happen. We can’t even imagine what the guests were going through. That place where this gentleman was sitting, and where he was executed by these three people – a lot of guests sit there when they can’t climb the site, so if two or one or a guide was sitting there, or this guide that saw it was sitting there…we would have been mourning him. One of the things that is certain is that we were appalled by the initial government reaction to this thing. We don’t know who it…that is right, we don’t know who they are, but Belizeans don’t go to Caracol like that. Yes you can argue that we don’t know that either…but no Belizean – not even the gangs in Belize City or anywhere that there are gangs, ever pull a gun and kill a Police Officer. So this is somebody or people that really didn’t care.”

According to Awe, the site at Caracol, located five kilometres from the Belize – Guatemala border, is still closed. 

Channel 5


Was Danny’s Death Preventable/Foretold?

We’ve shown you the video captured by tourists at Caracol in the terrifying minutes after Special Constable Danny Conorquie was murdered, presumably by Guatemalan cross border bandits. It is an important document – and today, the group of tourists who captured and posted the video sent us an email saying, quote:

"Despite this isolated incident in Caracol, our impression of Belize is very positive. We did not feel unsafe in anyway.”

"We thought that the situation was handled very well by the local guides and guards in the area. We know that Mr. Conorquie was doing his job protecting tourists like us. We feel grateful for that. We really hope that the politicians of both countries care enough about their people to resolve this long standing border issue."

But, do they care enough, and has anyone been heeding the many warnings of grave risk to the lives of under equipped security personnel? There is credible reason to doubt that tonight. 7News has received what we believe to be a genuine internal police memorandum sent in January from the officer commanding the Tourism Police Unit ASP Diana Hall. The document is about serious security concerns in Caracol and warns that the TPU officers are quote, “equipped with two shotguns which are no match for our Guatemalan counterparts many of whom also have a military background.” She notes that Guatemalans have gone as far as to fetch water from the building that houses the Tourism police.

She states that quote, “I personally believe that these officers are put in a high risk position and although it is an archaeological site, the tourism officers are not the ones who should be manning that site. She prophetically warns, quote, “God forbid that we do not lose one or more of our officers and when we get a public outcry we start to play the blame game as to who is responsible.” End quote.

We received the memorandum form an anonymous source late in the day and could not confirm its authenticity before news time, but based on the content and presentation we believe it to be authentic. We will do more of a follow up into it tomorrow.

Channel 7


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