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Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #410340
06/22/11 08:08 AM
06/22/11 08:08 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,185
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

Marty  Online Happy OP


Some of my readers do not like for me to talk about sports, but there is no way you can understand the civil war level of violence amongst young men on the Southside of Belize City unless you have a sense of what happened to the sports programs which used to excite the interest and absorb the energy of our studs back when.

In England, football is a very important sport, so much so that a high ranking member of the royal family is always the president of their Football Association. In British Honduras, the two most powerful commercial business houses in the capital city in my childhood were Brodies and Harleys, and they were both very British. The people who refereed football games largely came from the native element which worked at Brodies, Harleys, and also the very colonial Belize Estate and Produce Company (BEC).

When Dunlop became senior football champions in the city around 1957, 1958, it may have been the most roots organization to dominate football at its highest level. The sponsor of the team, Guy Nord, did not interfere with the team’s activities, so that the management of Dunlop was all Bobby Moore, who was an old gambler and a man of the world, so to speak. None of the Dunlop players were high school graduates: they were what we would call street youth.

But, the football association (“the committee”) and the referees were British in their culture. Those Dunlop players who did not migrate to New York and Chicago, were quickly bought out by BEC, a move which, in a sense, restored “social order” to football.

The team which endangered that social order in the middle 1960s was Independence, sponsored by PUP Leader George Price and led by a former Dunlop player, Louis “Mugger” Garbutt, the late Charles “Qualify” Nicholas, and Serapio “Big Mole” Alvarez. Independence, like Oliver Twist, dared to “ask for more,” more than half of an orange at halftime. Independence asked for money. The offenders were suspended by “the committee.” The story has been buried in history. Randolph “Scalp” Young, however, is still alive.

At what point the referees became professionals, I really can’t say, but in late 1975 or early 1976, when a group of leading first division clubs met at the old Riverside Hall to ask for 15 percent of the gate revenues, referees were already being paid. Berger 404 (Chris Mayen), Charger (yours truly), White Label (Sir Andie), and CrossSpot (represented by the aforementioned “Scalp” Young) voted for money. The only team which said no to money was Landivar, represented by the late Albert Hoy and Raymond Davis.

An incident in the knockout finals at the end of my first season in football, which was the 1972/73 season with Diamond A, had suggested strongly to me that, even in sports, my leadership of UBAD was attracting special and negative attention from Belize’s power structure. I concluded that the most I could hope for with my football teams was to play an attacking brand of ball which would entertain the fans and pack the MCC Garden. I told the players I recruited as much. We will not be allowed to win, but you will get girls.

Fast forward now to 1983. The referees had already become the dominant organization in Belize football. They were led by Delhart Courtenay, a BEC employee who essentially went on to rule football for the next two decades. Football became a sport controlled by the referees and football officials, and the fan support, which is the most important source of recurrent revenues, became inconsistent. This is the core problem in Belize football: the referees and sport bureaucrats are far more powerful than the players and the fans.

In 1983, my father was chairman of Belize’s National Sport Council, and he realized, based on advice, that the playing surface of the MCC Grounds simply had to be re-sodded. He reluctantly decided the football season had to be played at the National Stadium field. (Today, the abuse of the MCC Grounds by trucks, heavy equipment, massive stages, music concerts, and bazaars is shameful, downright sacrilegious.)

There was this one game when BTL, which was Bailar Smith’s team that year, was playing a Dangriga team at the National Stadium. BTL’s hulking Crane Major contested a ball in the air with the Dangriga midfielder Walker Kuylen (who died some years later in a traffic accident). Their heads smashed together, and Kuylen collapsed on the field with epileptic seizures. It was a totally frightening incident: as was usual in football, there were no certified medical personnel on the scene.

It appeared to me that it began to be the norm after that, for Crane and other defenders to seek to intimidate forwards in the air. It is for this reason that I have the greatest of respect for Erwin Contreras, for I saw Crane seek to intimidate him on more than one occasion, and Erwin never flinched.

The thing is that Belize referees never made a conscious decision to protect our forwards in the air. And so, the art of heading the ball in the attacking zone, which had made Ortis Gladden so famous in the 1940’s, became practically a lost art in Belize.

While more than half of all international goals are scored with the head, you will almost never see a Belizean striker score a header in international play. I blame the Belizean referees for this, in the initial instance.

This is only one small example of what has happened here over the last thirty years in football. In Argentina, no referee or bureaucrat is bigger than Messi. In Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo must be protected at all costs, because it is he whom the fans pay to see. But in Belize, Dr. Chimilio disrespected Tiliman, and he got away with it. Tiliman, if you don’t know, was Belize’s Messi. This is Belize. The players and fans don’t count for that much. We can’t really go anywhere like this.

Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #412345
07/23/11 08:08 AM
07/23/11 08:08 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,185
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

Marty  Online Happy OP
I wish that you had been at Brother Nick’s funeral on Tuesday afternoon in Belize City, to find out how many people’s lives were touched by this humble man and how much he was truly loved. This was a man of great strength, both of body and of mind, but this also was a really gentle man, a man of calm and sensitivity.

Months before he died, Brother Nick asked me to speak at his funeral, the church service for which took place at the Mormon church on Cemetery Road. I believe the formal name for the Mormons is the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.” Major controversy surrounds this church in the American black community, but this was the religion where Brother Nick found a home almost thirty years ago, this was the faith which gave him strength as he came to the end, and this was the congregation which stood for him. Yet, Wilfred Nicholas, Sr.’s credentials as a black Belizean revolutionary leader were impeccable.

In 1996, the core remainder of UBAD in Belize City reorganized itself as the UBAD Educational Foundation (UEF). Among the former UBAD officials who were active in UEF were myself, Brother Nick, Rufus X, Lillette Barkley-Waite, and the late Edgar X Richardson. The person who dominated UEF for many years, however, was Dr. Leroy Taegar, who had not himself been a UBAD leader, but who might as well have been, if you understand what I mean.

Like myself, Leroy is not a religious person in the denominational sense of the word. In UEF meetings, there were often sharp exchanges between himself and Brother Nick. Mischievously, I often provoked these exchanges between my two friends, because they made UEF meetings more lively. I knew that no matter how aggressive Taegar became about the failings of the Mormons, Brother Nick could handle it. Brother Nick could handle anything. He had the broadest shoulders you can imagine.

By the time UBAD had come to an end in late 1974, Brother Nick had become the officer to whom I was closest. His solidarity with me was such that I felt that this was a man I would never want to let down in any kind of way. Because of the UBAD incidents on the night of May 29, 1972, in Belize City, Mr. Nick had been terminated from his job at Ismael Gomez’s warehouse on Mosul Street. In 1959, Mr. Nick had married a lady who had four children previously, and by 1972 they had one of their own – the very famous Chickiblue. In 1972, therefore, Brother Nick had major family responsibilities.

In early 1970, when Charles “Justice” Eagan and I began hanging out a lot, Justice used to take me with him when he visited the said Melin Gomez’s business on Mosul. I have never seen an office so disciplined and professional as that one. Justice knew the Gomez family from their poor beginnings in Orange Walk. The late Melin was a stern and serious man, but when Justice entered the office, with me tagging along, Justice behaved as if he was himself the boss.

Of the UBAD people who marched that 1972 day of May 29 which turned into night, Brother Nick was probably the one with the heaviest home responsibilities. Brother Nick was the one who could least afford to lose his job. I think Sergeant George Heusner, the police photographer who made the complaint, may have been assaulted by a crowd and remembered Brother Nick in the crowd around him. Anywhere he was, Brother Nick had this impressive presence that would make you remember him. I can’t believe that Sergeant Heusner totally fabricated his story, but I also don’t believe that Brother Nick assaulted him.

Wilfred Nicholas, Sr., was arrested. Mr. Gomez became impatient with Nick’s legal travails, and fired him. I know that Nick’s wife was angry at UBAD, the organization which was responsible for Nick’s problems, and I could never have blamed her.

My decision to run in the October 1974 general elections as the sole UBAD candidate, was a symbolic one. I felt that I had to do something which would prove to those who were still loyal to me, Brother Nick most prominently, that we had to move on from UBAD. My 1974 defeat in Collet, however, was worse than I could have foreseen, for the UDP blamed me for the wildly popular Ken Tillett’s defeat there by a single vote.

The UDP’s venom reached the point where, when the ruling PUP’s leadership sent the late Ray Lightburn, late 74/early75, to reason with me, I listened. UBAD had been dissolved following the 74 generals. Things were desperate for me. I met privately in Belize City with the Deputy Prime Minister, C. L. B. Rogers (deceased), about four or five times. My most urgent request was that Brother Nick be employed on a regular basis. As a result of Mr. Rogers’ intervention, Brother Nick thus became regularized on the waterfront. This was during the time when the Christian Workers Union, which ran the waterfront, was led by the late Desmond Vaughan, along with the late Mike Rosado.

As I said in church on Tuesday, and I was glad to see Eckert Lewis there, Mr. Nick deserves public, state recognition for his work in boxing and with the youth. It would have been better while he was alive, but they can still do it after he is dead. Mr. Nick never sought fame. What he did, he did from his heart. There were so many of us who admired and loved him. So, the authorities shouldn’t feel that they can’t honor Mr. Nick because that would give old X credit. Hon. Michael Finnegan was in church on Tuesday afternoon. He can testify that Wilfred Egbert Luis Nicholas, Sr., was a hero of the Belizean people.

Power to the people. Power in the struggle.


Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #412567
07/27/11 08:57 AM
07/27/11 08:57 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,185
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

Marty  Online Happy OP

The holidays and the oil

In the years past, at this newspaper we used to rail about the change of the long school holidays in Belize - from April, May and June to June, July and August. We considered the change to be an injustice perpetrated upon the children of Belize, because the change, which was intended to make it so that the school year in Belize coincided with the school year in the United States, essentially changed the holiday here from the dry season of invigorating south-easterlies to the rainy season of squalls and mosquitoes. The change, initiated in the summer of 1964, meant that Belizean children from the urban areas no longer spent the long holidays at cayes, in coastal villages and in the countryside. Those who could afford it began to fly to American cities for the summer. The children of Belize lost some of the love for Belize which used to be engendered during those school holidays before 1964.

For many years now, we have not complained about the change, because we understand how important it was for Belize’s new rulers in Washington to begin the process of Americanization. You should note that 1964 was also the year of self-government in British Honduras, and the year when the American government first began to give a little foreign aid to Belize. The Americans had ignored Belize previous to 1964, on the grounds that the place was a British colony.

The change of the school holidays, then, while it was effected in the almost casual manner of an afterthought: just a news announcement on the Radio Belize 12:30 p.m. news one day – no debate, no discussion, was an early part of a process which began with the Puerto Rico conference in 1962 and would lead to the Seventeen Proposals in 1968, the Heads of Agreement in 1981, the Maritime Areas Act in 1991, and the Ramphal/Reichler Proposals in 2002. That process, it appears to us, is focused on the oil fields of Belize, the neighboring oil fields in Peten, and the hydrocarbons in the Bay of Amatique.

Before Hurricane Hattie in 1961, we natives, while penurious, felt somewhat important in British Honduras. The British had just sent their MCC cricket team to entertain us the previous year. Our spirit of anti-colonialism and Belizean nationalism was so high that the British had chosen to negotiate constitutional changes with us prior to the March 1961 general elections.

In the half a century since Hattie, we natives chose to become a tiny minority in the United States, a move which reduced us from a majority in Belize to a minority here. In 2011, we do not have that sense of self we enjoyed in 1961, and our overall behavior in Belize now suggests a level of disorientation.

All those years we spent complaining about the change of holidays, and being disappointed about the lack of interest therein on the part of the people of Belize, we were expecting too much from our people. The game being played in Belize since 1961 is a game which just gets bigger and bigger. There is great oil wealth in Belize, but it is going to be difficult to have that wealth shared for the benefit of the people. If you think that some local politicians have become wealthy in the last two or three decades, off things like passports and drugs and land deals, watch what happens when they find two or three more major oil fields in Belize.

The problem is precisely that: all we may be doing is watching, because the oil companies have decades and decades and decades of experience in getting the deals they want from a few local oligarchs – try Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea just for size. Corrupt native leaders send the money they are bribed with to the same Western banks which are owned by the oil companies. The oil leaves the fields of the Third World, but the money remains in the banks of the First. Belizeans, we need to go to school.

Power to the people. Power in the struggle.

Last edited by Marty; 07/27/11 08:57 AM.
Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #413416
08/07/11 08:31 AM
08/07/11 08:31 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,185
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

Marty  Online Happy OP
On more than one occasion in this column, I have explained to you that three decades ago Leroy Taegar told me how really big the Belize game was, and how powerful the players were. It was not that I did not believe him, but that I preferred not to pay any serious attention to him. I did not wish to be intimidated by the facts.

There were major oil companies doing exploration work in British Honduras before the masses of our people had any idea whatsoever of what was taking place. This was back in the colonial days fifty, fifty- five years ago, and the level of our people’s ignorance was truly appalling.

As I have also said to you before, in the sea and fishing circles of the colony in those days when I was a child, we heard that people were “blowing up the reef,” so to speak. It has only very recently been officially revealed where exactly oil explorations, by means of dynamite charges, were taking place in the offshore waters of British Honduras. What’s done is done, they say, but it would be valuable if some institution like Oceana would finance research into the secretive era of initial oil exploration here.

The esteemed and highly knowledgeable Compton Fairweather, CBE, published at least two articles in June 2006 issues of The Reporter, wherein he discussed his employment with Gulf Oil Corporation of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the business of oil exploration in British Honduras. Personally, I only have the second of these articles, and I will quote some of Mr. Compton’s revelations and opinions in that article.

“My duties with Gulf were to assist and be trained by senior geologist, Dr. Giovanni Flores, on Italian geologist employed by the company.

“We explored every river bank, highway excavation, quarry, cave, sink hole and outcrop we could find between the Sarstoon and the Rio Hondo Rivers, taking samples from the sedimentary rock strata.”

“Yes! We did find oil (called ‘shows’ in the industry) at two locations.

“The best quality was found at Galvez’ ranch between San Ignacio and Benque Viejo, now called Clarissa Falls.

“The other was at the Western Highway and Belmopan junction, now known as the Agriculture Show Grounds.”

“Even today, almost anyone can break the right rock and if lucky can fill a jar with oozing crude oil.”

“As I have indicated earlier, the Southeastern Mexico oil find which was producing 235,000 barrels of oil per day brought Mexico’s daily output to 635,000 barrels per day by the end of 1974, and it is part of the same Cretaceous zone we were exploring in the Yalbac area in the mid 1950’s.”

“It is my honest belief that when Belize achieves an oil bonanza it will be in the Yalbac area.”

In British Honduras in my childhood, there was never any discussion about oil in the newspapers, so far as I can recollect. In fact, all that Mr. Compton was writing in 2006 was news to most adult Belizeans.

This Tuesday morning, on a whim, I drove to Belmopan and visited the Archives building there. Mose Hyde had asked me to help in any way I could with a television documentary project about 1961’s Hurricane Hattie, so I decided to go through the 1961 copies of The Belize Billboard, which was definitely the colony’s leading newspaper at the time. As a matter of fact, Philip Goldson, who became a Nominated Member in the British Honduras Legislative Assembly after the March 1, 1961 general elections, had resigned as the Secretary of the National Independence Party (NIP) in January of 1961 to work full-time on the Billboard. (Mr. Goldson did not run as a candidate in the general elections, which the PUP swept - 18 seats to none for the NIP and none for the CDP.)

In the Sunday, May 28, 1961 issue of the Billboard, there is a front page story, cum photograph, of Mr. Henry Bowman, Sr., with an 8-foot (with sword), eighty-pound sailfish he had caught off Carrie Bow Caye. I believe it is in that same issue of the newspaper, but my notes are not 100 percent clear, that there is this story by Robert Taylor, a Billboard reporter at the time, of a camp at Big Creek where 42 Belizeans and 20 Americans were drilling for oil in the sea on a round-the-clock basis. According to Taylor, the men were employed by “International Offshore Rig Baton Rouge Inc. Los Angeles” and “represented by Phillips Petroleum.” The drilling was taking place about 9 1/2 miles out to sea from the camp. Mr. Taylor even has a picture of two British Honduran natives, Delvin Gordon and Bingham Reneau, with an oil drilling rig.

As I’m thinking about it, my conjecture is that Taylor must have gone south to do the Bowman sailfish story, which was headlined, and drifted into the Big Creek oil drilling encounter. In 1961 in British Honduras, the oil story would have been quaint, is all. I give posthumous respect to the late Mr. Taylor’s reporter’s instincts. His story is another piece in a petroleum puzzle in which Belizean researchers should now be interested.

Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #413443
08/07/11 01:55 PM
08/07/11 01:55 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 5,546
Birdland - 1 mile north
ScubaLdy Offline
ScubaLdy  Offline
In one of my chats with Jerry McDermott he told me he first came to British Hondorous hired by an oil company to report back on the possibility of finding oil. Jerry said he fell in love with the country and quit the oil business. I'm sure someone on the board will refute the above - I'm only reporting what I was told. I liked Jerry.

Take only pictures leave only bubbles
Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: ScubaLdy] #413457
08/07/11 06:15 PM
08/07/11 06:15 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,713
Illinois, Arkansas,South Dakot...
bywarren Offline
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Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: ScubaLdy] #413458
08/07/11 07:07 PM
08/07/11 07:07 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,018
Sequim, WA & San Pedro
Loansum-Al K Offline
Loansum-Al K  Offline
Harriette, looks like you were right! See ya in a couple of weeks!

I'm happier than a pig in s__t...a foot on the sand...and a Belikin in my hand!
Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #413864
08/14/11 09:10 AM
08/14/11 09:10 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,185
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

Marty  Online Happy OP

Ideas and Opinions

About Governments

This piece is really about Belizean Governments, starting with the Government of the United Democratic Party elected in 1984 and, about nationalism. All the governments, from then and until now, declare when they are seeking power that they would do great things for the country and they would serve the best interests of the people but, they did not. When they are in office for five long years, the interests of the nation are subordinate to the personal interests of individual ministers and to their political party interests.

According to the columnist Searchlight in this week’s El Guardian, the notion that a political party in office should put the national interest above that of the party is noble but unrealistic. I disagree with Searchlight, although I concede that the behavior of all but one government would support her view. The notion is indeed noble but, it is also what the people expect and, are entitled to. No people can become a nation if their leaders, during their foundational years, are dishonorable men. The reason why this is so is this: - The interests of individuals and parties are narrow and limited. The interests of a nation are great and boundless.

I invite Searchlight to consider the dictum: Profster Salutem Nostrum. It means, for the benefit of my readers (not Searchlight), enlightened self-interest. It is enlightened self-interest for a government to put the national interest above that of his party because, in the end, the pursuit of the national interest benefits everyone. Simple logic. It is in keeping with Profster Salutem Nostrum that our government is acting in the matter of our administration of our Public Service Utilities.

The government of Prime Minister, Dean Barrow has declared a policy that government should exercise direct control of our public utilities and, is proposing a constitutional amendment to enshrine this measure for all time. This is putting the interest of the nation above all else and, two of the most affluent and powerful entities have been discomfited. These entities might have been very generous contributors to a party that put its own interests first.

You would have thought that there would have been overwhelming support for the proposed amendment but, that has not been the case. Some individuals and groups think that it will serve a higher cause than that which the amendment seeks. They have objections which have to be dealt with, but, in the end, it has to be accepted that Parliament, with the supreme authority given to it by the people has the ultimate power to act in their name, and no court can prevent it from doing so. Only the people can withdraw the power given to Parliament.

The Third Sex

God made the sexes, male and female and human beings have added a third.

I have great admiration for the proponents, apologists, advocates and practitioners of what was once considered to be abnormal and unnatural behavior and in fact, a perversion. You can’t help but admire their journey from being social pariahs to being firstly, tolerated, then accepted and now, demanding that their activity be approved by society with the sanction of the state. They have come a long way, and deserve to be commended for seizing every opportunity, making the right alliances, joining the right causes and practicing the finest arts of diplomacy. Following the lead of the Western Democracies, it has been established here that what adult citizens do in their private rooms is their own business. So. If two men live together for a long time, they may reasonably be suspected of engaging in acts, “against the order of nature” but, the police cannot enter their abode to confirm their suspicion. They have a right to privacy. Not satisfied with the status quo, Caleb Orosco and his associates have brought a suit in our court claming that the law which declares, that it is a crime for persons who engage in carnal intercourse against the order of nature, is unconstitutional. Their attorneys submit that the law is unconstitutional because it denies their principals right to privacy. On the face of it, it would seem the applicants’ case has no merit because, it is a fact that in Belize not only are their right to privacy not denied, it is respected however, attorneys for the applicants (one of then is a Queen’s Counsel) would not bring a suit against the Attorney General if they were not confident of the outcome.

The action is against the Attorney General but, in reality is against our Belizean Society. The law, which the applicants seek to have declared unconstitutional, reflects the mores of a society, which is predominantly Christian. The law prohibits carnal intercourse against the order of nature and, therefore, the only question that needs to be settled is whether the act expressing the sexual preference of homosexuals is against the order of nature. Caleb Orosco says that God is not the be all and end all. He is right about that in America and England but, not in Belize. God is in this country. That is why in the preamble to our Constitution (in which resides its Spirit) the supremacy of God is affirmed. Also, it is explicit in the preamble that individual freedoms are limited and the Common Good takes precedence over them.

Let me conclude by referring Caleb and his associates to the immortal words of John Donne. “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a part of the continent, a piece of the main.” The society (the continent) has the right to set standards of conduct and behavior and, to make rules for its protection, good order and survival. The individual has the obligation to exercise self-restraint in his conduct and behavior. This is what makes a society, cohesive. Without it, things would fall apart.

A Unique Newspaper

There is a weekly newspaper, which name is represented by initials N.P., published in our capital city, Belmopan. It was first issued in August 2008. Since then it has had 158 issues and, in every one of these issues is featured an ad, caricaturing and attacking the publisher of Belize’s leading newspaper, Amandala. In addition, there are regular articles, even editorials, featuring Evan X Hyde, always derogatory.

The paper has two or three competent journalists, whose standing in their profession would entitle them to positions on the editorial staff of reputable national newspapers, well able to pay them what they are worth and, to provide them with the opportunity to make valuable contributions to our national discourse. That they remain with N.P., despite their bright prospects, where they spend much valuable time singing the praises of their publisher and attacking Evan X Hyde is very intriguing, unless, of course, they have their own personal axes to grind and, their cause and their publisher’s is the same.

After reading a few issues of N.P., a discerning reader would have to conclude that the primary purpose for the existence of this paper is to attack the person and his character and, to destroy the reputation of Evan X Hyde. If that is true, that would make the N.P. unique in the history of newspaper publications, would it not? Unique, not in a wholesome, healthy sense but, as a blotch on the honor of the Fourth Estate.

Sir Edmund Burke once wrote that if a society had no internal restraint, it should have to be imposed. So. I have to ask this question. Has the publisher of the National Perspective no self-restraint?

Janus, for Amandala

Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #414050
08/17/11 07:51 AM
08/17/11 07:51 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,185
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

Marty  Online Happy OP
Amandala at 42

August 13 marked the 42nd year of this newspaper’s publication. Since 1981, Amandala has been the nation’s leading newspaper, and we feel proud of this status. Jamaica’s most famous newspaper, The Daily Gleaner, by contrast, has been published since 1834, so on Partridge Street we have to put our accomplishment in humble perspective.

The stunning thing about the August 1969 establishment of Amandala is that it was done without substantial capital formation or orthodox investment. Members and supporters of a young organization called the United Black Association for Development (UBAD) raised about $250 in donations, and the remainder of the money to purchase a Gestetner stenciling machine for $534 from the old British Honduras Distributors, came from a schoolmate of UBAD president Evan X Hyde’s at Dartmouth College. That student’s name was Wallace L. Ford III, and he told Hyde that he had gotten a donation from a Professor of Chinese at Dartmouth by the name of Paul Mirsky.

For many years after the dissolution of UBAD in 1974, Amandala was mostly about editor/publisher Evan X Hyde. But beginning about two and a half decades ago, various members of the family whose patriarch is Charles Bartlett Hyde, 88, began to work at this newspaper. Hyde family members in the structure of Amandala now include the business manager, the editor-in-chief, the sports editor, the copy editor, a proofreader/consultant, and, of course, the publisher.

Amandala is thought to have the ability to influence some percentage points of the voting electorate in Belize. In more concrete terms, a son-in-law and a son of this newspaper’s publisher are three-term area representatives on Belize City’s Southside and senior deputy leaders of the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP).

To sum up, then, when this newspaper takes a firm position on a vital matter in Belize, it has a socio-political effect. The newspaper does not believe it has to take a firm position on every vital matter in Belize. Take the so-called UNIBAM matter, where a select group of Belizean homosexuals, apparently with international support, are seeking to have the ancient Belize laws against homosexuality, revised and updated. The issue is a vital one, because powerful individuals and institutions, led by the Belizean churches, fear UNIBAM has a more advanced agenda, such as same sex marriages, and have come out strong against the UNIBAM initiative. With respect to UNIBAM, this newspaper decided to function editorially in an observer status, one reason being that our core fight against the sexual abuse of children has been pointedly ignored for years by some of these church leaders.

Now to the matter of the 9th Amendment, wherein the Dean Barrow administration wants to ensure that Lord Michael Ashcroft’s battalion of Belizean and British lawyers cannot use the courts to regain control of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL). Ashcroft gained control of BTL, in the first instance, when the PUP government elected in 1998 allowed him to purchase more than he could legally own according to the original BTL legislation drafted by the then ruling UDP in 1988. The BTL matter proceeded to become a battlefield for lawyers through the years, two reasons being the incredible profitability of the company and the growing arrogance with which Lord Ashcroft began to treat the local politicians.

Using an “Accommodation Agreement” signed secretly and illegally by the previous Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Said Musa, Ashcroft was refusing to pay income taxes on BTL, and the wrangling between the BTL majority owner and the new UDP administration reached the point where Prime Minister Barrow decided in August of 2009 that it was in the national interest of Belizeans to take the company away from the Lord, and compensate him in due course. Lord Ashcroft’s people, however, had already gutted BTL technologically in order to ensure advantages for a new telecommunications company, Smart/SpeedNet, in which the family of the Opposition PUP Leader, Hon. John Briceño, is prominent.

So then, whereas BTL had been a telecommunications monopoly from before, with Ashcroft refusing to allow Intelco interconnection in 2003, for example, and whereas the same Ashcroft people had been controlling BTL and the new Smart/SpeedNet in a telecommunications duopoly until August of 2009, since August of 2009 the Government of Belize’s BTL, on the one hand, and the Ashcroft Briceño Smart/SpeedNet, on the other, have been locked in fierce competition.

A few weeks ago, Lord Ashcroft’s lawyers won a decision in the Belize Court of Appeal which declared the Barrow acquisition of BTL in 2009 to have been unconstitutional. Lord Ashcroft’s people moved in to take over the BTL compound at St. Thomas Street the same afternoon, but Government of Belize officials regained control before the night was through.

The Government then went back to the House of Representatives seeking to correct the legal flaws in the 2009 acquisition, while they are appealing the pro-Ashcroft Court of Appeal judgement at the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). Seeking to ensure air-tight national control of BTL (and BEL), Government then introduced the 9th Amendment, which has become crazy controversial.

Lord Ashcroft’s lawyers then went immediately to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), lodging a case by Ashcroft’s British Caribbean Bank against GOB “asking the court to bar ministers from procuring the Governor General’s signature until further order of the court, because they are challenging the July 4, 2011 re-nationalization of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL).” (pg. 4, Amandala, Sunday, August 14, 2011)

In the days of piracy in this region, you know, there were pirates whose ships had so many guns they would anchor in the harbor of some towns and demand whatever they chose from the residents. Today, it is appearing to us that, if you have enough lawyers, you can bully, or at least severely inconvenience, the governments of sovereign, but small, nation-states.

At the end of the day, which is projected politically as March of 2013, all the legal technicalities surrounding BTL will end up being resolved by electoral politics. This newspaper’s pre-eminent journalist, Adele Trapp, last week did her usual thorough and precise job in laying out the 9th Amendment legalities and analyzing them.

Support for the Prime Minister’s 9th Amendment initiative has been weakened at the popular level amongst Belizeans because Mr. Barrow is unable to convince some people that the BTL matter is truly a life-and-death issue for him. Mr. Barrow’s style is an above-it-all style. Again, if his lawyers couldn’t get the original BTL nationalization right, who is to say that they are getting the 9th Amendment correct? And when did our Belizean lives become so dominated by lawyers and litigations, and, ultimately, who is to blame for this?

The majority of the Belizean people are not lawyers, and the 9th Amendment arguments quickly became too lofty and convoluted for them. There are some critical bread-and-butter issues with which the Belizean people are battling. Families are struggling, for example, to meet the various expenses for the fast-approaching new school year. At some point, with all the pressure and stress on the people, it is possible that something quite simple, something other than the 9th Amendment, will become quite complicated, and perhaps chaotic.

Power to the people. Power in the struggle.

Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #414299
08/20/11 09:04 AM
08/20/11 09:04 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,185
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

Marty  Online Happy OP

Ideas and Opinions

Author: Janus

Propter Salutem Nostram

It means enlightened self-interest. During our lifetime, we are going to be faced with a choice between a personal good and that of a group, of which we are a part. If we choose the personal good, there will be personal satisfaction, which may last for a little while. If we choose the good of the group, the satisfaction is multiplied and you will share in it. The latter choice would be in keeping with propter salutem nostram.

Here are some examples where the dictum would apply.


If you are an attorney, especially if you are just beginning your law practice, you would think that it is your good fortune that the level of crime, especially crimes of violence, is so high, because those accused would need to be defended. The established advocates would have more than they could handle so, jobs will be left for you. Hooray for crime. No, my friend, that is shortsighted. Your training does not equip you only to defend criminals. Of course, they are not criminals, not till they are convicted in a court of law and, you can prevent that and be well paid for your services.

Think about this: Have you added anything to the GNP, if your defense of a man accused of murder is successful? In economic terms, service is of value when it is added to a good. Is your service of value when the person you defended did commit murder and is now free? That is not your fault. You believed in his innocence and you were practicing a noble profession but, think of this. At least 95% of accused murderers are guilty. 5% or less are innocent. So. The chances of your successful defense being a service added to a good is about 1 to 19. I will concede that practicing your profession in an administration of justice system is itself a good, though it may have been better for society, in the present circumstances, had your efforts not succeeded.

On the face of it, an ordinary citizen, like myself, would have to say that the high incidence of crime in our country serves the interests of counsels for the defense. So. It is understandable and, has to be accepted that neither individual attorneys nor the Bar Association has any interest in the reduction of crime. Why should they? Unless the dictum, “Propter Salutem Nostram” points to a better way.

There is a better way for the populace and the attorneys. They should use their best efforts to bring it about. They should use their considerable mind power to find ways to reduce the level of criminal activity. A low level of criminal activity will create a climate favorable to entrepreneurs. When there is an increase in ventures, there will be an increase in the establishment of business companies. They will require the services of attorneys to provide legal advice and protection. Then, there will be more job opportunities, which will divert some young people from turning to crime. All this would come about if the legal fraternity could see where lay their enlightened self-interest.

The politicians

Should a politician who is a member of the House of Representatives always vote with the government side, if he is a member of the majority party or, always with the opposition if he is a member of that party? Career safety says yes. Enlightened self-interest says, not if the question is against the interests of his constituents and, not if it is against the national interest. He is being practical when he stands up for his constituents. He is being true to his oath of office, his conscience and his sense of nationhood if he puts his country’s interest above that of his party. A reputable newspaper columnist in Belize would say he is being noble. I think that his decision would be in keeping with, “Propter Salutem Nostram.”

The Government

We have been conditioned to think of the government as the majority party, when the government is really Parliament, that is, the House of Representatives and the Senate.

When the House is in session, it becomes the Legislature. In the House, the government and Opposition sit facing each other and the proposals, usually put forward by the government side, are debated from different points of view. It is the duty of the opposition to point out the flaws in bills or resolutions, and propose amendments, so that the final decisions best serve the people they represent. It would be fair to say that in the House, government and opposition are adversaries but, they have a common objective, the best interests of the nation.

Government and opposition have a relationship outside the House and, the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition often confer, as required by the Constitution and, in the normal course of serving the people. For example, not long ago, the Prime Minister had a meeting with the Leader of the Opposition. At that meeting he proposed that the parties should work together to find the best ways to deal with crime. After consulting with his colleagues, the Leader of the Opposition declined the invitation. He had good reasons for his decision. If he joined in the effort and it failed, the opposition would have a share of the blame. If it succeeded, the government would probably get all the credit. There might have been another reason for his decision, which might not reflect favorably on the opposition, for it is not inconceivable that they may, like the Republican Party in America, wish the government’s efforts to fail.

Would it not have been in the national interest for the elected members of Parliament to join forces to deal with crime? I think the answer is resounding, Yes! I think that if they had, the whole nation would be united in support and, we would not fail.

Had the Opposition accepted the invitation, would you say that they would have been demonstrating “enlightened self-interest,” or being noble but unrealistic? You be the judge.


Support the Government

Author: Janus

It is wise and sensible to support the Government. If you are red and the government is blue, why should you support it, when it is the enemy? The government can’t be your enemy, because it represents all the people, and acts for and in our name. It is in the nature of a democracy that there are general elections at decreed intervals, when the people choose, between the candidates of different political persuasions, those that will represent them in the House of Representatives.

The government is not the majority party. The House of Representatives composed of the elected members of all parties and, the members of the Senate, comprise the government. So. It is not proper to say that the government is red or blue, regardless of which party predominates.

This business of enmity or preference for one party or the other, as far as the ordinary citizen in concerned, should apply only during electoral campaigns. After the issue is settled, the government (all the members who take the oath of office) should dedicate themselves to serving the people, which means putting the National Interest above all other considerations.

Now then, if the executive introduces Bills or puts forward resolutions in the House, to carry out the promises in the majority party’s manifesto, why should there be these contentious, sometimes “heaty”, debates between the government side and the opposition side? Here, the term “government” is used to apply to the members of the majority party. There is nothing wrong with that. The bills and resolutions put forward by the government side may have laudable objectives but, the opposition could have strong difference to the form, methods and approaches proposed. It is the duty of the opposition to criticize, propose amendments, or utterly condemn a bill or resolution, even though they share the objectives they seek to accomplish.

The role of a citizen is different; he should support the government in its objectives, regardless of his party affiliation. He should want the government to succeed because, if the government succeeds, the people succeed. He does so by paying taxes, obeying the law and cooperating with public authorities.

I have been dealing with normal times. Now, let us consider the role of the opposition in the House of Representatives and the ordinary citizen in a time of crisis. Specifically, let us focus on the crime situation, which is becoming, if it is not already, a crisis. We have to consider it a crisis, when there are criminal gang members who are armed with AK rifles and grenades, and who are prepared to shoot up people’s homes and throw grenades where crowds are gathered; who if apprehended cannot be convicted because, witnesses will not testify for fear of their lives. There is more but, this should be enough.

The government has an overall plan called “Restore Belize” which includes dealing with crime and, it has proposed what may be called extraordinary measures to the same purpose, which the public has reacted to unfavorably. No other organized body with persuasive power and influence, like the political party in opposition, the Bar Association, the Trade Union Congress, and the Chamber of Commerce, have made any recommendations. It is as if they are saying that it is for the government, only, to solve the problem.

The government has the power to do what is necessary but, though it has a super majority, it is not a dictatorship. They have a term of office which ends in fourteen months. In fourteen months or before, there will be general elections and, a new government will be elected in which, in all likelihood the majority party will not have the numbers to do what is necessary, without opposition support. They will not be able to devise and implement the extraordinary measures which are required to solve this problem.

What is the problem? As I see it, the problem is to break up the gangs, which are criminal organizations. The individual gang members are like the fingers of a hand. When the fingers are clenched into a fist, they become the gang. Therein lies the strength and power of the criminal. The solution is simple: break up the gangs. Not so easy. A law has to be passed making membership in gangs illegal, with the appropriate sanctions. How will it be established that a person is a gang member? There must be a way. It has to be found. Another law must make it illegal for three or more persons to hang out. What about freedom of assembly? What about civil and human rights? They may be impediments standing in the way of achieving a desirable objective. These impediments can be overcome. Individual rights are not unlimited. The fundamental principles on which our constitution rests, declare that the Common Good should prevail over individual rights.

Let me diverge, for a moment, and talk about gangs. They are like a pack pf wolves, which regard the rest of society as sheep. They are predators who have the power to kill (with impunity, it would seem). Their members may be the product of societal forces but they choose to join gangs because it provides them with power, protection and, the association of kindred spirits. To them, murder is not a reprehensible crime, but something they have to do in order to survive. If my assessment is correct, you can see why we have to break up gangs as an order of first priority.

I have some ideas on how to determine who are gang members, in a fair and transparent way; what effective sanctions may be imposed to persuade people to leave gangs voluntarily and, how those listed as gang members without cause may be removed from the list?

You may well ask why a country like America, with all its resources of brainpower and finance, cannot deal with gangs as proposed. My answer is that America is wedded to the Free Enterprise Capitalist system, where every individual and organized body put their interest first. We Belizeans are different. We believe that we are our brother’s keeper and, in the Common Good. That is what we affirm in our Constitution.

The government has to be supported in its efforts to deal with crime in general, by all our citizens but, especially, by those organizations with power and influence, referred to in this article. In regard to the members of the opposition who are in the House of Representatives, they have a duty to support the government in those efforts because, they have taken a sacred oath to do so. If they do not, they do not deserve the title of “Honorable.”


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