The shocking murder of Gilbert Alamilla – the man we’ve come to know as Mister Program – happened in the early hours of this morning. Tonight, it is still unclear what happened at a house on Simon Lamb Street where Mister Program was stabbed to death by a man he knew. It’s an odd, but chilling story; Mister Program was hanging with two persons he knew when another person arrived at the house and threatened to kill all three occupants. But then, he ordered one of the men at the house to murder Mister Program. That’s the report from the police. A source alleges that the man who ordered the killing is related to one of the men who were at the house. Police haven’t released a lot of details about the killing, but here’s what reporter Andrea Polanco found out.
….Prophetic lyrics twelve years after he released his hit song ‘See I Rise’. Thirty-six-year-old Gilbert Alamilla – better known as Mr. Program – whose life was cut short around one o’clock this morning sent shockwaves across the country. He was inside this house on Simon Lamb Street in Belize City along with two men believed to be his friends when another man stopped by. A police report says that the man threatened to kill all three occupants of the house and then he handed over a knife to one of the men and told him to kill Alamilla. The man then stabbed Alamilla multiple times and left him lying in a pool of blood. Police arrived on the scene just after one and rushed Alamilla to the hospital but by three o’clock this morning he was dead.
Kareem Alamilla, Brother of the Deceased
“We know that the house they found him in some friends’ house and it seems the information we got so far is that no one was in the house when the police arrived on the scene – just my brother with multiple stab wounds to his body on a table.
My sister went to the morgue and just the way she is describing him to me dah like only God could have brought him back because it wasn’t a nice sight. They really hurt him real bad.”
“Did he go to that house often?”
“Well, lately, like maybe a week or two now, he mi the go there often. But normally, he would just drop in and drop out – heng with the guys probably the drink together and socialize.”
“Did he know those guys for a long time?”
“Well, I nuh really sure who were the guys who were with him at the moment but the owner of the house was a good friend to our understanding there was no one in the house. Where were you when my bredda need help? Where were you?”
It’s a bizarre and tragic story. Kareem Alamilla says that Mr. Program never disclosed if he had a target on his back. He describes his brother as a helpful and caring person – but that someone wanted him dead and he has no idea why.
“This dah wah intentional death. They mi wah do ah that, probably from a long ago.
They hurt somebody weh always the help people. Sometimes we try help people and they nuh really appreciate what we do for them.
He was a children kinda person. He loved kids and give them all kinda treats and gifts. That dah he. He always helped people more than he help we weh dah his bredda.”
The Alamilla family last saw Mr. Program alive sometime on Thursday night when he visited the family home on Kelly Street. According to Kareem, his brother was drinking but he was calm and at peace before he left.
“He mi the tek his lee drink you could notice but he nuh mi the be loud or disorderly. We left him out yah and I gone work work afterwards but we left him out here with us. I remember the last thing he mentioned to me is that unu take care of each other.”
“How your family the process all of this, Kareem?”
“My family deh just – deh nuh the expect it. You know you have Santa and the reindeers – well, he was the second in line to pull the sleigh – my oldest bredda was the first and Mr Progam was the second. Now that kinda shaken up our sleigh.”
Mr. Program was also at Kareem Musa’s Caribbean Shores Political Office just a stone’s throw away from where he was killed a few hours later. Today, Musa, a friend and supporter, condemned the tragic killing of his favourite artist.
Kareem Musa, Friend & Supporter
“It was a very heartbreaking morning not just for me but for the entire community – the Kelly Street – Kings Park Community who saw Mr. Program on a daily basis. He would always stop in by our office by Baymen Avenue and last night being no exception he came by around eight-thirty and he spent almost an hour there with us. We had another artist there with us. Her name is Brittney Star and she was there and she and Program were just dropping lyrics and we were all having a very good time enjoying their music and their talent. So, it is very sad to wake up to this new this morning. I am definitely at a loss because I cannot comprehend who would want to do this to him. Everybody knew Program was harmless. He wasn’t that kind of trouble maker and he was definitely someone who believed in his own talent and he sold his music everywhere we saw him selling his music everywhere across the city and as far as Ladyville. So, it is truly a great loss to the community and to myself – he was a friend of mine. He did a remake of his hit song ‘See I Rise’ – it was the first song I commissioned for my campaign because was my favourite artist.”
Mr. Program – His Legacy Will Rise!
When he burst onto the local entertainment scene a few years ago, he was considered the next big thing in music. But his career didn’t quite take off as his hit single, ‘See I Rise.’ It wasn’t for lack of trying or talent, but more so the lack of support and infrastructure in place to harness and develop local talent. While he hasn’t had the longevity of other artists, his music and name will live on although his life was cut short this morning. In the following story, we take a look at Mr. Program the artist who, as we were told today, was on the cusp of making a big comeback.
Andrea Polanco, Reporting
‘See I Rise’ catapulted Mr. Program to national popularity mid-2008. He released several other songs over the years – and although those songs didn’t enjoy the success of his hit, See I Rise was enough to cement his name in music in Belize. But for over a decade – he was peddling his CD and promoting his music. He was a talented artist – who struggled to make it big and although he had to hustle hard – he never gave up. For the past two years he was working with producer Devin Peyrefitte to make a comeback with some dancehall and reggae music. In recent months he was hitting the studio consistently.
Devin Peyrefitte, Music Producer
“We were supposed to do videos. We just worked in the studio. Apart from the music we would just chill in the studio and talk about other stuff besides music trying to see how we could take the music and get it outside. He just wanted to do music. He wanted a second chance because people had started looking down on him like he was a joke that he was selling the same CD’s from ten years ago and that never stopped him. When we linked up he was like let’s make five songs and put it on a CD and I could sell ten thousand of those. I told him I was going to do that and I actually promised him like last week when we were together that I was going to print a thousand CD’s of the music that we are working on now for him to sell but unfortunately we are not going to be able to do that.”
Peyrefitte plans to release the music and help Alamilla’s family with the proceeds.
“The music that we have, I already spoke with Victor who is his cousin and we are going to proceed with the project that we are working on and I already made a pledge to him and his family that we are going to give them hundred proceeds of the music – everything is going to be for them. Kareem and I spoke just now and he is going to be contributing towards whatever and a few other people have reached out as well. The songs spoke about life and celebrating life stuff like that and it hit me different then that damn he is gone now and he was saying this. So, those are the type of music we recorded and we also have party songs and the music that he and I did I let artists say what they feel or do and some of the music that he recorded for me was just about life, hustling, and get stuff and try to make a better life out of this situation.”
Peyrefitte says Mr. Program’s talent was undeniable and perhaps his biggest hit is still ahead of him.
“To me, and I am sure for others, M.r Program is a legend in Belize. It is crazy because I work closely with Konshens’ manager and I posted a clip on Instagram and he was like yow this guy sounds just like Konshens but in a good way. So, I was telling him that I am working with him and trying to get him back in his feet and we spoke and he was like see what you can do for him and help him. His music to me, his voice is powerful and that is music. Every time I send him a beat like no problem he would send it back right away with projects. He was focusing and he was ready to take over again and do it right this time. He wanted to get to right and he had all his credentials in order to collect all the royalties from his music and I felt like it just came at the worst possible time when he was about to get everything in order. At this moment he is working with other producers – local producers and Jamaican producers and it is sad because he was about to get back in the scene and do what he does.”
“You feel that there were big things on the horizon for him?”
Devin Peyrefitte, Music Producer
“Right. Exactly, you know.”
…and he shared that talent everywhere.
Kareem Musa, Area Representative, Caribbean Shores
“It is definitely sad to see him die especially under these circumstances being murdered. We didn’t realize last night that those would have been the final moments we would have gotten to share with him and it was very touching because it was real. It was raw emotions he was sharing with and the other artist that was there – they were sharing how real and hard it is for young artists out there. So he will definitely be missed; like I said on Facebook, I saw him rise because I enjoyed his song so much and I am so glad that he did that final remake for me.”
A talent gone too soon – cut short by the very violence he condemned. But he will be remembered for his talent and passion for music.
Kareem Alamilla, Brother of Deceased
“His music dah part of his life. What he went through in life. He bring that out in music he bring that out positively. Even with he dead now, his music wah foreva live on because he mi the envision this before it even happen.”
Popular Belizean artist, Mr Program, stabbed to death
The music industry in Belize is left reeling from the murder of one of their own. Those closest to 36-year-old Gilbert Alamilla, otherwise known as Mr Program, are questioning the circumstances surrounding his death, as he was known as a hardworking musician who troubled no one. Reporter Courtney Menzies spoke with his family and friends to find out more. Here is that story.
Re: Gilbert Alamilla, “Mr. Program” is Murdered in Belize City
#545436 10/09/2004:39 AM10/09/2004:39 AM
Today, Belizean artist Gilbert Alamilla better known as Mr. Program was laid to rest. A large motorcade was held through the principal streets of Belize City which led his casket to his family home on Kelly Street for a viewing of the body where family, friends and fans were able to pay last respects. The casket was later taken to the Lord Ridge Cemetery for burial. Here’s a snippet of some of the highlights provided by the Live Events and Designs on Facebook:
“We had a situation where we had – where you could see a conflict between the city council and Belize Police Department where the police officers are saying that they just want everybody to social distance. They have allowed the motorcycles to be in they just need to be six feet more or less apart. They told us that they don’t want anybody to walk so we can continue now.”
Father Noel Leslie
“Gilbert used his talent that God gave him – his voice – he used his gift to awaken many things – to bring joy and also to alert us of issues in his own community. One of his pieces spoke about violence and interestingly the same thing he commented against was what affected him – that took his life.
His life was taken in the blossoming years – when he was making a certain degree of impact with his songs, his lyrics. He will not be forgotten because his lyrics will live on and many of you will remember what he has written and what he has shared with the Belizean community over the years.”
Brother of Deceased
“I want the world know that my bredda mek the world know that Belizean artists need to get supported by the government. Up deh. Up deh. They need fi get supported; look at; talk to deh and know weh the go on and tell deh look yah mien – unu need fi go dah Jamaica or America and rise up like how my bredda rise – and now my bredda wah rise in glory.”