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.
(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.)