A week or two before the Prime Minister actually called the 2012 general elections, I met on the Kremandala rooftop with all the employees of our member organizations. I believe that such a meeting may have been unprecedented. We have had various social events over the years which involved all our workers, but not a business meeting as such.
I told our people that the indications were several that the Prime Minister would call the general elections for the same date on which the municipal elections were scheduled. I said that Kremandala would be supporting Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde, but overall we would not take sides in the elections. I explained that there had been general elections before, such as in 1979 and 1984, when I had believed that I would personally be in serious problems if a specific side won, and therefore I had worked very hard for the other side. But, in 2012, I believed that Kremandala would survive no matter what.
Last week the PUP newspaper, The Belize Times, published, in toto, a letter to Amandala from Mr. Lynn Young, the chief executive officer of Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) during the Fortis years. This was a decision by The Times which exposed a certain amount of venom on their part. The Times should have edited that letter.
Mr. Young was responding to an editorial in this newspaper which questioned his personal, high-profile involvement in “Friends of Belize,” a group which met in Washington, D.C., recently. We suggested to Mr. Young that the proper representative in Friends of Belize should have been the Fortis boss, Stan Marshall, not himself.
Mr. Young chose to defend his position. He did so vigorously, and he did so disingenuously. He did so disingenuously because he tried to undermine the accomplishments of the Kremandala Raiders, a semi-professional basketball team which dominated the sport for many years. He did so vigorously, and excessively we thought, by referring to a previous situation wherein he had paid this newspaper in order to respond to claims made by attorney Rodwell Williams, the chairman of the board of BEL, in an article by the assistant editor of Amandala. In that instance, Mr. Young approached the business manager of this newspaper, and he did so “checkbook in hand.” That is her recollection of the matter.
In the present instance, Mr. Young sent a letter to the Amandala editor in which he snidely wondered if he would also have to pay for this letter to be published. We chose to remove the more offensive sections of the letter, those referring to the Raiders and the paid response to Mr. Williams’ charges, and published the bulk of Mr. Young’s response.
In matters like these, one presumes that the “plaintiff” will copy his letter to the other newspapers. Of the other newspapers, it was only The Belize Times which chose to publish Mr. Young’s letter to the Amandala editor, and they did so, apparently with relish, under the head: “Lynn Young strikes back.”
The attitude of The Times suggests to us that we are considered under the category of “hostiles” by prominent people in the political party which publishes The Times. In fact, we were reminded of the National Perspective. Kremandala is supportive of, but not responsible for, the actions of Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde. We have preserved, we think, a fairly balanced neutrality in this campaign. The Times’ decision last week, however, means that we have to expect negativity if a PUP government is formed in March.
A similar thing took place in 1993, though the fact that Amandala endorsed the PUP’s Jose Coye in Caribbean Shores was indeed a provocation to the UDP. Kremandala did not actively participate in the 1993 general elections, but the UDP government which came to power on July 1, 1993, almost immediately began treating us as a hostile.
Fair enough. Politics is war, and “all’s fair.” It is always good to be advised of the intentions of one’s adversary before combat is joined.
Power to the people. Amandala