Author: Evan X Hyde
That element within the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) which has been referred to as the “old guard” since their electoral defeat in February 2008, has paid a lot of propaganda attention to myself since this defeat. The more immediate, and I think more relevant, problem for them is the combination of the Albert and Lake Independence area representatives – Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde. But, it has reached a point where the line the old guard has been taking, is that Mark and Cordel are listening to me. Imagine.
There is another situation to which the PUP should be paying attention, and that is the “area of disturbed weather,” to use the meteorological term, which COLA, APAMO, Oceana, SATIIM, VIP, PNP and the like represent. If you have lived in these tropical regions, you know that vague areas of disturbed weather sometimes end up becoming monster hurricanes.
Anyway, the fundamental reason why electoral politicians, and they come from both the blue and the red, often pay major attention to me, at the same time while they routinely ridicule my electoral record, is because there is a group of voters who are loyal to me and others like me. If we use the yardstick of Evan X Hyde in Collet in 1974 and Rufus X in Belize Rural North in 1989, these being poorly-financed, independent candidate runs, that small group represents a minimum of 4-plus percent of the electorate.
4-plus percent certainly does not look like a lot, but it can be the difference in certain areas. And the thing about that 4-plus percent is that it has been proven to be a consistent and determined group.
Politics has proven to be both a curse and a blessing in my life, and I will explain. I am a writer. I was a writer before I ever mounted a public rostrum, which was 1969. Politics and writing are very different professions. Politics is about people, of course, but writing is about the words and sounds, the moods, dreams and ideas in a writer’s mind. As a writer who became a public speaker in 1969, I was leader of a cultural organization which attracted support and loyalty from a defined mass of Belizeans. That defined mass of Belizeans was judged to be a threat by the ruling PUP in early 1970, and it was considered a possible salvation by the Opposition National Independence Party (NIP) in late 1971. The PUP sought to imprison me in 1970, and then the NIP sought my support in 1971. These situations both proved to be curses.
At the same time, though, the support and loyalty of that defined mass of Belizeans made it possible for this newspaper to be established and for it to survive attacks of various kinds, from foundation. Amandala was authentic, it was indigenous, and it was revolutionary. Had it not been for politics, in the sense of an organized body of people/defenders, it would have been crushed.
Now then, when the PUP won general elections in 1998 and 2003, the PUP was supported by this newspaper and by myself. As a minority presence in Belize’s public life, I have always been compelled to react to the much greater forces of the two major political parties. When the PUP or the UDP become entangled with myself, I have to seek refuge in alliance with the “other” party. For reasons going back to their 1984 to 1989 term of office, the Manuel Esquivel-UDP and myself became antagonistic to each other. When Mr. Esquivel returned to power in 1993, he committed his administration to punishing me. In retaliation, I was PUP in 1998. In 2003, I would say this was perhaps a case where I didn’t know any better. Plus, the UDP in 2003 didn’t really deserve anybody’s support.
The old guard of the PUP have apparently decided that they can intimidate me into supporting their party in 2013. The UDP leaders, for their part, have begun to become nervous about what they perceive as criticism by Amandala journalists. So, last week for example, we had the PUP old guard newspaper running their weekly half-page advertisement condemning yours truly as a sell-out to Barrow, while the Barrow Guardian was, at the same time, attacking Amandala as being in the service of Cordel Hyde, among other things.
The political parties in power, change from time to time. But there are certain institutions which remain in power in Belize, no matter what. These are the churches, administrated from Europe and North America, which control the schools and, hence, the minds of our children. As a roots and revolutionary writer, early on I was branded anathema by the churches. Denied the imprimatur of the churches, I found writing salvation in the arms of the Belizean people. That is the true meaning of this here story.
Power to the people. Power in the struggle.