Sunrise 20th December 1949, Sunset 24th December 2019
As one of the first family to have moved to Cinderella Street in Orange Walk Town, he has left a lasting impression on all of us. A true man for all seasons, his journey in life has led him to be a successful farmer, businessman, trade unionist and an activist for the Masewal community.
When our family moved to 10 Cinderella Street, the Perez family lived directly in front of us. His father Don Joaquin, had a small shop that sold vegetables and corn. My mother use to send us to buy an almud of corn as we had some local chickens that provided eggs and meat for the family. His mother Doña Eluteria (Doña Elut) also lived at the same residence.
Don Domingo use to travel a lot and on one trip to Cayo he offered to take me to Roaring Creek to viait my grandmother and would have picked me up on his way back. For some context, cell phones where not in use yet and the only village phone was at the police station which was a mile from my grandparents house. Upon returning from Cayo, Don Domingo flew pass my granny house and she got worried. As a 9 year old it was all fun to me! But he did return 20 minutes later after he realised his third passenger was not on board. He told me “even if I was halfway (to Orange Walk) I mi wah still hafto come back!”
In my high school years, I spent a summer working on his “Bound to Shine Farm” which is situated on the Chan Pine Ridge Road. Oliver del Cid who is presently the ambassador for Belize to La Republica Mexicana was also working with me for that year. The work was really backbreaking and that is when I realized that it would be to my advantage to use my brain.
I believe it was in 1980 that there was the infamous riot between the cane farmers and BSI. As the leader of the workers union, he was at the forefront of the battle. An ardent socialist and unionist he was forever educating his fellow peers in the advantages of the mass. For the people in power he would be considered an agitator but history has shown that adjectives are being manipulated by those in power. A mujahadeen was a freedom fighter while fighting the Soviets in 1980’s but as they decided to renew their struggles against western manipulation they were branded Taliban and terrorist.
Don Domingo eventually moved to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye where he took his tortilla factory with him. His business boomed and because of his magnetic personality, he contested a municipal election and became a member of the San Pedro Town Council.
Upon his retirement, he returned to Orange Walk Town and continued to be a part of the business community by opening up a food stall by the Fort Cairns market. During this time I was not aware that his was ill and so it came as a surprise to me when one of my friends messaged me about his passing. Our community has lost one of the original pillars of our society and all that remains now are the memories of his life. May his memories never be forgotten and his legacy be a reminder of what a true neighbour, friend and patriot should be. QEPD Don Domingo!
By Abelino Gomez