Commentary: The brutal murder and beheading of a beloved pastor in Belize
By Wellington C. Ramos
On Saturday, July 16, 2016, I received a text from a family member that the police in Belmopan, Belize, had found the head of her relative Llewellyn Lucas, better known as “Pastor Lue” in a bucket in a vehicle belonging to a Canadian man. When I heard this I was shocked, amazed, angry, disgusted and in disbelief because I knew Pastor Leu when he was living here in New York City as a pastor and a real estate agent.
Born in Dangriga Town, the cultural capital of Belize, Wellington Ramos has BAs in Political Science and History from Hunter College, NY, and an MA in Urban Studies from Long Island University. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science and History
I called her immediately to reconfirm if what she had texted me was in fact true and she said yes. I then said to myself what did Pastor Leu do to this man or other individuals to be killed so brutally?
Then I also said to myself even if he did something to this man or other individuals, no human being has the right to take the life of another human being unless he or she is defending his, her or other peoples’ lives. I was so perplexed by this story that I even wondered why he was carrying Pastor Leu’s head in his vehicle.
As a former criminal investigator in the Criminal Investigation Branch in the Belize Police Force, I came to some possible reasons. There were a group of people who conspired and plotted to kill Pastor Leu. One of these individuals was given the task to make sure that he was killed.
That person was possibly told that they needed to have the head to prove that he was in fact killed. Without the head they will not be paid for killing him. Why? Because an intelligent killer will never walk around with any evidence to associate him or her with the crime he or she committed. Once the head of Pastor Leu was found in William Mason’s vehicle, he is responsible for the murder.
All the information that I was receiving was saying that it was a Canadian man. In my mind I kept on thinking that it was a white Canadian man. Why would this man come into our country to commit such a vicious crime? I thought about all the possible criminal charges, which are kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, aiding and abetting murder, conspiracy to commit murder and murder. These are charges that, if this man and all the people who are involved are found guilty, will be liable to face the death penalty.
Despite the fact that the country of Belize has not executed anybody for murder in many years, the punishment is still death by hanging. The director of public prosecutions can ask the judge to impose the maximum punishment on these individuals due to the gruesome nature of this crime.
Death by hanging is a controversial issue in Belize and many other countries in the world today. Some people are for and some are against it. I am in support of capital punishment in some cases because many of the people who kill innocent citizens do not value other human beings’ lives.
When we listen to the news coming from Belize, almost every day somebody is being killed and it has become a routine. It is like some people in Belize do not value human life anymore. These killings in Belize must stop and we have to try something new because what we are doing is not working. All the people who have and are losing their loved ones know how it feels. Almost all Belizean citizens have had a loved one who was killed for no justifiable reason.
According to the police report, Pastor Leu was last seen alive on Friday, July 15, 2016, at 1:00 pm. He was kidnapped by these individuals, and then taken to William Mason’s farm where he was stabbed multiple times and then beheaded. The remainder of his body was burnt and the police are awaiting DNA testing to confirm that the remains found were his.
The police have arrested and charged the leader of the group, who has several names, for the killing of Pastor Leu: William Mason, a person of Indian descent born in Guyana, was a citizen of Canada but lost it due to a firearm conviction, went back to his hometown Guyana, arrived in Belize around 2012 with a Guyanese passport and then obtained a false Belizean birth certificate to get a Belizean passport. Also arrested with him were Keron Fernandez, Terrence Fernandez and Ashton Vanegas.
It is being alleged that Pastor Leu was probably killed because of a business transaction that went bad between him and William Mason. Whether this is true or not, we will know because there is an ongoing investigation taking place with the kidnapping of a Canadian Mennonite and his wife a month ago. Mason is a suspect in that kidnapping and about $300,000 ransom was demanded from the couple. Pastor Leu was the mediator or go between to receive the money from a source to deliver to Mason but he did not get all of the money from him.
The Mennonite from Canada will be coming back to Belize to give an official complaint to the Belmopan police about the kidnapping. Once that report is received by the Belize Police, it should clarify how much money was given to Pastor Leu, if any, to deliver to William Mason. The police are planning to also charge him for kidnapping the Mennonite and his wife, and possibly unlawful imprisonment and conversion of the money that was paid.
This investigation seems to be huge and will be ongoing. I think it will involve many other people and that could lead to additional charges being brought against them and others.
All this will not bring back the life of Pastor Leu because he is now dead and gone and left many grieving family members and friends mourning. I now appeal to all the relatives and friends of Pastor Leu to come together and get behind the government of Belize to make sure that justice is given to them for the brutal and unjustifiable death of their loved one.
For the police to discover the head of Pastor Leu in this man’s vehicle is what I call God’s divine Intervention. He was truly blessed indeed. Otherwise, his family would have just reported him as a missing person and these murderers would still be going around Belize, probably doing the same things to other Belizean citizens.
I also would like to take this opportunity to commend Assistant Commissioner of Police Russell Blackett and his team for a job well done. We worked together at Patrol Branch in the 1970s under the command of ASP Barber and George Grant before they retired from the Belize Police Force.
Our duty as police officers is to apprehend the people who commit crimes, despite their race, colour, creed, religion, social or political status. There will be times when pressure will come to turn the eye away from justice and to be a part of injustice but the consequences of such actions will be everlasting. This is not the time for anyone to turn their eyes away from this despicable act.
We all have loved ones and we want them to be here with us, until God call them home. We do not want them to go home because a person or a group of persons decided to end their lives. May the Good Lord enter Pastor Leu into his kingdom, until we all get to be with him one day. This is one journey we all cannot escape from, no matter how much money, power or status we possess on this Planet Earth.
Please keep these prophetic words in your mind, when you go about your daily business with fellow human beings like yourself.