The mystery of Garveyism in Belize has to do with the fact that the Garvey movement in British Honduras became colonial in thinking, and began to swear allegiance to the King of England. We have said it before, and we have to say it again: the academics and the intellectuals in this country are not doing their job. In this age of Google, Wikipedia, Kindle and all the other technology facilitating research, they have no excuse not to seek and disseminate the truth.
There are two sets of institutions here which are averse to seeking and disseminating truth, on principle. These are the religions and the political parties. The religions are dedicated to faith, and the political parties are obsessed with votes. Truth can sometimes interfere with faith, and it can complicate propaganda. For the religions, faith is paramount, and for the political parties, propaganda is more important than truth.
That said, we submit that the vestiges of colonial Garveyism were pretty much resident in the National Independence Party (NIP) in the Philip Goldson era. After 1956, the PUP’s move, under the leadership of George Price, to include the districts and the rural areas in nation building, sparked accusations of “Latinization” amongst some black elements in the colony, especially middle class blacks.
The supposedly black-conscious NIP, which was really more “Afro-Saxon” than black-conscious, experienced electoral shellacking after electoral shellacking in the 1960s by a PUP which was clearly being supported by working class blacks. The Garvey people here have to explain why this was so. The reason we have to call on them to do so is because there is a Garveyite element within the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) which consistently disrespects the contributions of the UBAD Party (1969-1974). The fact of the matter is that the UDP, from foundation in 1973, was even less black-conscious than the NIP. The UDP was committed to downplaying the racist Guatemalan claim to Belize. There were times, on the other hand, when it had seemed that the Guatemalan claim was the only issue Goldson’s NIP had.
Garveyism is less relevant to Belize in 2011 than it was to British Honduras in 1921. This is because the Garvey concept of racial purity will not fly in racially-mixed Belize today. And when the Garveyite element in the UDP is openly accepting huge cash handouts from the neocolonial hands of Lord Michael Ashcroft, there are questions these people will have to answer at election time.
Between May and October of 1972, the UBAD Party, a bipartisan party of Belize’s post-World War II generation, broke the street power of the ruling PUP. The PUP had been intimidating the NIP to the point that elections were only a matter of going through the motions. The NIP were always beaten before the voting even began. On the December 8th night in 1971 when UBAD was in a CitCo election alliance with the NIP, armed elements of the PUP attempted to intimidate the UBAD leaders at St. Mary’s Hall. Once the results became obvious, and this was early, the NIP leadership had disappeared. Only the UBAD leaders and their young supporters, many of which were students, remained until daybreak the following morning. The PUP could not help themselves. They could not resist the opportunity to bully UBAD.
There were consequence to this, and those consequences took place between May and October of 1972. In those months, something fundamental changed in the streets of Belize City. To a substantial extent, it is because of the work done by UBAD that we Belizeans can change governments, and we have changed governments, so frequently and so smoothly.
When half of the UBAD leadership was absorbed by the cynical and opportunistic UDP leadership in 1973, those UBAD leaders were never given their proper respect. That is one of the reasons why the UDP lost, in a stunning upset, in the 1979 general elections. And that is why the UDP lost, in another big upset, in the 1989 general elections. And that is why, some in the UDP will always tell you about Garvey. They will never, ever tell the truth about UBAD. Amandala