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Dr. Leroy Taegar
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Poster Marty Offline
Posted 10/08/11 02:18 PM
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General practitioner of medicine, teacher and board member of the United Black Association for Development Educational Foundation (UEF), Dr. Leroy Taegar, 74, died Sunday night, October 2, at Belize City’s Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), where he was admitted for treatment after suffering two massive strokes at his Coral Grove home early Saturday morning.

Dr. Taegar studied medicine in Jamaica and Trinidad at the University of the West Indies (UWI) after obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Marquette University in Wisconsin (U.S.), and practiced medicine at the old Belize City Hospital on Eve Street before entering private practice in Belize City. Along with his wife, Andrea, also a medical doctor, he opened a clinic on Albert and King Streets, moved to Regent Street, then to Chapel Lane, Amara Avenue, and eventually back to Regent Street before retiring. A few years ago, he was a member of the Commission of Inquiry into a scandal concerning three KHMH patients given blood that contained the HIV virus.

A graduate of St. John’s College (High School), Dr. Taegar later taught there and at its Extension Department before going to the United States to begin his studies in the late 1950’s. Incidentally, at S.J.C. Leroy Taegar was a star basketball player.

He was a member of the UEF’s parent organization, United Black Association for Development (UBAD), and later became the first youth organizer for the People’s United Party (PUP) in the mid-1970’s, a forerunner of their Belize Youth Movement (BYM) today. Dr. Taegar, along with luminaries like Said Musa, Lois Young, Evan X Hyde, Signa Yorke and others ran unsuccessfully for the Belize City Council in 1977, in a slate known as “The Dynamic Nine.” Before his health became compromised, Dr. Taegar was also one of the star panelists on the Evan X-chaired Kremandala Show on KREM Radio.

Dr. Taegar is survived by his wife Andrea, their sons Sydney (a physicist) and Sean, daughters Romy Saunders and Tracey Taegar Panton (former Director of Tourism), nine grandchildren, and numerous other relatives.

According to Tracey, Dr. Taegar was first and foremost a teacher, and taught those who knew him about the value of the human being and the pursuit of knowledge as the best path in life. She added that Dr. Taegar believed there is no death, simply “a transition to a new state of being.”

In honor of that belief, his body will be cremated and there will be no formal funeral services. A memorial gathering in his honor will be held at the House of Culture in Belize City this Friday, October 7, at 1:30 p.m.

This newspaper extends deepest condolences to the family of Dr. Leroy Taegar and all who knew him. May he rest in peace.

Amandala
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#418144 - 10/08/11 02:19 PM Re: Dr. Leroy Taegar [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Leroy – the real deal

The late Dr. Leroy Taegar had given his family instructions as to how he wished his passing from earthly life to be conducted, and all indications are that his widow and children have followed those instructions this week.

Leroy was an extraordinary man, a man of great depth and complexity, but the bottom line was that he stood for the people. In that stand, he had come to believe that organized religion in Belize, his native land, had become part of the problem where Belizean liberation and development were concerned, instead of being a part of the solution. Dr. Taegar decided that his death should not become part of a process wherein the inadequate status quo would be confirmed and glorified.

Of all things, Leroy Taegar detested ignorance. He fought against ignorance, because he believed it was the greatest tool of our oppressors. In Belize, the system of education is dominated by denominational religions. In the twelve or so years Dr. Taegar spent in Milwaukee, Chicago, Jamaica and Trinidad doing studies at the tertiary level which culminated with his becoming a physician, he became convinced that the people had to be educated in order to be liberated. The fact of the matter, however, was that the churches which controlled Belize’s education had faith as a priority, and sometimes education can become a threat to faith. In Belize, faith rules. Straight like that.

We admire Leroy Taegar for his brains and for his bravery. There are Belizeans, before him and after him, who have challenged how the system operates in Belize, but it is seldom that they sustain this challenge to the end. Leroy was the real deal.

We understand from people older than we that Leroy Taegar became an ardent supporter of the young People’s United Party (PUP) while he was still a teenager attending St. John’s College in the 1950’s. The son of a waterfront worker, Leroy Taegar grew up experiencing the hardships of life in colonial British Honduras, and he saw the philosophy of the early PUP as anti-colonial and progressive. He embraced that philosophy.

When Leroy Taegar returned to self-governing Belize after all the aforementioned years of tertiary study, the PUP he met in 1971, 1972, was not the PUP of 1954 and 1955. His decision to seek to become the PUP Albert Division standard bearer was a decision which was undermined by the PUP leadership. The PUP leaders wanted Leroy Taegar to be an educated factor in the party, but their actions indicated that they wanted the late attorney Joseph Grey to remain in charge in Albert. There are those who believe it that the PUP thought it was convenient for Mr. Goldson to hold his seat in Albert.

We mention the incident of Leroy’s betrayal by the PUP leadership, which took place in 1975 or 1976, for the historical record. He continued to work with the party, and was appointed an executive official (Youth Organizer) and then chosen as a PUP candidate for the December 1977 Belize City Council elections.

After those elections, however, Leroy went on to become an inspirational guru for many of us who were grappling with the problems in Belize. Had he been successful in his Albert bid, we wonder how life would have been different for Leroy. Those of us who learned so much from him, prefer things to have worked out the way they did. Leroy Taegar was victimized, but there were those of us who benefited from his heroism. Leroy was the real deal. We celebrate his life and mourn his death. We honor him, totally.

Amandala

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#419426 - 10/21/11 04:36 PM Re: Dr. Leroy Taegar [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Black Summit Speech – September 2003


Dr. Leroy Taegar

I must express my appreciation for being invited to be a part of this historic meeting of solidarity of the Black Community of Belize, and I thank Professor Molefi Asante and Dr. Rashidi Ruokono for joining us to share their considerable experiences. I must also acknowledge the courage of the organizers and those of the society who dared to show their moral and financial support.

A few years ago an experienced public speaker advised me to alwaysremember that after seven minutes the audience starts to wander, after twelve minutes it gets bored, and after fifteen minutes it falls asleep. Today, I will try to stop just before you fall asleep!

Although I speak in the vocabulary of the Black Belizean experience, I am cognizant of the fact that my other ethnic brothers, the Mayan, Hispanic and East Indian masses share similar experiences. We have all been the victims of colonialism, and are in fact now being prepared to serve its son Neocolonialism disguised as Free Trade Globalism!

I have always been puzzled as to why we have always been at the bottom of the economic totem pole. We have always been the foundation on which Master built his wealth and power. We seem never to be able to get above the level of hand to mouth survival, day after day, generation to generation, century after century.

We are the menial ones, we are the gofers, the sidemen, the garbage collectors. We are relegated to the jobs no one else wants. We are the most diseased, the least literate. We are number one in every negative aspect of society. We are the poorest. We outnumber every other group in the prison population. We are lied to, abused and misused. We are looked upon as useless eaters, yet we are the workers who produce the wealth. We live in poverty and die in debt. We seem to be inextricably stuck in the quagmire of hopelessness. Is being poor, barefoot and pregnant the only legacy we can leave to our children?

Throughout my years at the University of the West Indies and my travels in the English speaking Caribbean, and here at home in discussions with my contemporaries about this enigma we always concluded that it was because Master had gotten control of our minds and control of the land. Circumscribed by an imposed Westminster model of government, abetted by religions and indoctrination, enforced by terror or the threat of terror’ a lesson learned very well from the experiences of the Middle Passage.

We realize that unless we are able to wrest control of our mind and of the land, replace the elitism of the Westminster model, understand the agenda of religious indoctrination and recognize the subtle and not so subtle application of terror, then we will never reach the Promised Land of psychological freedom and economic liberation.

I pause to note that we were aware that we were in the land of contradiction. Here we were and are discussing Master’s power over us in his language. It couldn’t be otherwise because Master had vanished our mind and replaced it with his.

He had selected bright young men/women from the masses to serve his purpose of maintaining European scholarship: “The format in which we operate, the literature which we read, the people to whom we feel responsible for justifying this or that position, are all decided by Master.”

The bright, young men/women soon realize their education had been an illusion when they came home only to find there were no jobs for them. Many returned abroad thus contributing nothing of their training to their birth place; some became Master’s surrogates; only a tiny few challenged and continue to challenge master’s right to be the final arbiter, to be the only truth.

This tiny group questions why our examinations need to be determined by master, why he sets the standards, evaluates the results and decides the grades. This group challenges master’s concepts and dares to create new definitions, resisting all efforts to crush them. The tiny few persevere in new thought processes and refuse to sacrifice local cultural diversity, ethnic differences and traditional historicity to master’s agenda of continued white supremacy.

This landscape of master’s mind control is still largely operative in Belize today. It is called the Church/State system of education, a system for which the state pays all the bills, yet has no say whatever in the schooling of our children to express themselves for their people. The reality is the Church runs the show and the leaders of the State are there to nod and obey its dictates. Any dissent from the state leaders and they are homilid and whispered out of office and replaced by those who will comply. The reality is that education has been privatized, sold to the church.


The result of this arrangement is summarized in the 2002 National Report on the Primary School Examination that reveals the National mean performance level in Math, English and Science to be as follows:-
Year            Math          English       Science               Budget
2000            44%           52.8%         51.3%                 $82,605,307.00
2001            46.5%         52.9%         58%                   $90,500,879.00
2002            41.8%         50.5%         58.9%                 $101,037,710.00

We have spent an enormous amount of money to achieve these results. Even more abysmal is the admission. “In test items where candidates are required to recognize explicitly stated information from reading passages, the performance was unsatisfactory and showed a decrease from the performance in 2001, particularly noticeable in critical comprehension.”

In creole terms our children cannot spell so they cannot read, so they can’t understand, so they can’t comprehend, so they can’t learn!! Hello phonetics.!

Behind every so called educational reform, from the teaching of new Math to that of phonetics we find foreign consultants spending the silver their agencies give/lend us to teach our children to be subservient to the New World Order.

The present model is falling woefully short in preparing our children to be masters of their destiny. We must create an alternative.

The imposing of the donor’s philosophy is too high a price to pay forthe educational grants and soft loans developed countries use to control the developing world. We must shift the emphasis from constructing imposing buildings and using expensive foreign text books which do not mirror the world in which our children live, and instead use the money produced by us to attract and train better quality teachers. Teachers who are able to recognize and accept the fact that children are endowed with different gifts and talents and who can develop models to ensure the full realization of each child’s potential.

To put the academically gifted and the technically gifted together is the best way to institutionalize mediocrity in both groups. To say you are developing the whole child is to say you are creating the perfect child. This is impossible to achieve because you who develop the system are yourself imperfect. We need an educational model that will develop a high degree of critical thinking in our children. In short, the system must produce intellectual revolutionaries who can create change appropriate to the world they live in.

Religion should use its own monies to sustain its agenda of the kingdom to come, the state should use the people’s money to develop a system of education predicated on the axiom that “the Cosmos is ruled by Law; chance is undiscovered law.”

Man does not live by spirit alone, so God gave us land to provide us with bread. That is why it is said that the land is the bank. It is the second unit of control. It is the reality on which wealth is built. Without the masses having a fair and equitable opportunity to exploit its wealth, a slave state is guaranteed. The land is the foundation of physical existence; it provides us food, shelter, clothing, water, energy, healing, and recreation. Control the land then and you control the physical being of the masses.

In every societal model man has developed through the centuries to improve his physical lot, the land is the key. In every ism from feudalism to mercantilism, capitalism, communism and now globalism, always, a relative few, recognizing that the land is the bank, seek to control and manipulate it, knowing it gives them power over the masses.

After independence I noticed that crown land became national land. I also noticed that an estate of 1857 was being probated (probit = legal determination of validity of a will). Odd I thought, it took 124 years to do this? So I ask myself how many estates were out there waiting for probate? How did the owners acquire them and from whom? To whom did they pay land taxes and how much were these taxes? How much crown land was there then for national development in this new sovereign and independent nation? Hard as I sought I could not find answers, until one day, by chance, I mentioned my concern to a friend who told me I would have to visit the archives in London to find answers as to exactly what kind of independence master has bequeathed to us.

I have recently revisited these concerns as I have watched the movement of large acres of Belizean Real Estate without any explanation to us natives.

We hear of 686 thousand acres going to ProgrammeFor Belize, of 50 thousand acres to Audubon Society; of 85 thousand to some Balam Limited; thousands to some Janus Foundation; reserves and protected areas across the country including Cockscomb Basin and Hol Chan Marine Reserve; in short official figures say 42% is involved. Forty two of every 100 steps we take are on foreign land. I ask then, how much and what type of land is there for our children and grandchildren to develop.

We have come from the plantation slavery of our ancestors, the mahogany cutters and Chiclero bleeder, to programming our children to become computer robots in the global marketplace.

We need to conceptualize new ways of looking at the use of land to meaningfully impact the masses. One such concept has been demonstrated in the fishing and sugar industries, and is being tentatively introduced into the citrus industry. The system of co-operatives. We must resist the advocates of global slavery by making arable land available to our farmers and keeping them on the land by developing markets for their produce and providing infrastructure, which will allow their families to enjoy the amenities of urban life.

Their children, with a better quality of education and more progressive ideas will in turn find ways to establish agro-industries on the so-called “useless” land. In short the land must become the people’s bank.

The continued control by Master can only be sustained because of the Westminster model of government, which obtains in Belize. This elitist, oligarchical system sooner or later must evolve to right-wing fascism or to a left-wing dictatorship of the proletariat: each has the same end point- enslavement of the masses.

Just as the lumpen proletariat failed so too will right wing fascism now being sold as globalism, fail. Just as these systems were created by man, other systems can and will be created by future man. Systems predicated on the enlightened realization that no man owns another’s mind, body and soul.

One such alternate system is the Republican model of government, which for the past 200+ years has been the most successful in improving the quality of life of the masses. It is tragic that the underlying principles for its success “That all men are created equal and born with the inalienable right to lift, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is being eroded by the mind setthat man can create God in his image.

The author of the above words enshrined in the Gettysburg address evidently came to know God as one whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere, and that race, ethnicity and creed are but different manifestations of His dynamic creative power.

I believe it is the mission of this nation of Belize; our children, to create a new model of learning of land management, of Governance free from religious bigotry and fanaticism, using as its guiding principle of love of God and love of one’s neighbor as one’s self. There is no better time to begin its implementation than right now. The result will be the living of social justice as envisioned by Jesus Christ.

I must acknowledge my indebtedness to Dr. C. Woodson, W.E. Dubois, Dr. Walter Rodney and my wife Andrea for her editing.

I thank you for listening and for staying awake.

Good Day!

(Editor’s Note: Dr. Leroy Taegar passed away on Monday October 3rd, he was 74 years old. This address he gave at the Black Summit is but one example of the magnitude of his intelligence. Belize has definitely lost a luminary.)

The Guardian


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