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Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #419868
10/26/11 09:36 AM
10/26/11 09:36 AM
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Posts: 71,286
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Marty Offline OP

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Stop, and think this over

“The colonel was assigned to assure ‘air superiority’ – but there was a string attached. He was to do the job with the least possible number of planes. At the same time, he received the similarly contradictory order – which also came to apply to the expedition’s ships, its arms, and its command and control – to make the CIA’s best professional efforts look sufficiently amateurish and shabby so they could be passed off as Cuban. The American sponsorship was supposed to be deniable. ‘Plausible denial’ was the intelligence jargon for the applicable doctrine of clandestinity.”

- pg. 70, BAY OF PIGS The Untold Story, by Peter Wyden, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1979

Our various experiences with the legal system here suggest that there is an unwritten assumption that litigants do not possess unlimited amounts of money. Lawyers are expensive, and overall court costs are expensive, so the average person does not enter into litigation frivolously, or continually. It is costly to initiate and pursue court action, and it is even more expensive, much more expensive, if you lose.

In Belize, It has been hitherto thought, especially outside the realm of possibility, or reality, that a single citizen should own more financial resources than the Government of Belize itself, allowing that citizen to continue appealing every decision, whether a government decision or a legal one, to a higher court and a higher court, ad nauseam. This has never happened before in Belize, until now, so that the present politico-judicial reality in Belize, insofar as matters involving the Ashcroft group, is an unprecedented reality, and it is somewhat disturbing from a sovereign, constitutional perspective. We are looking at a new ball game in independent Belize.

When we, the Belizean people, elect a government according to the rules of the so-called first-past-the-post system we have adopted from the British, what we get is governments which have far more authority/power than you would assume from the actual percentage of the overall votes the particular political party received. In 1979, for instance, the incumbent People’s United Party (PUP) won 13 out of the then 18 seats in the House of Representatives, but they received only 51.8% of the votes cast in the general elections. This was the election which laid the final section of the foundation for a controversial political independence. What our system does is give virtually all the power to whichever of the parties wins the most seats. In fact, in 1993 the United Democratic Party (UDP) won 16 of the 29 House seats, but actually received 2,000 fewer votes than the PUP. The UDP, in a sense a minority government, went on to rule for five years and three months …

In most nation-states of the world, no matter how independent and sovereign, there is usually a substantial portion of the adult population who do not consider themselves government supporters, so to speak. What this means is that if a powerful outside force, whether national or mercenary or investor or otherwise, makes a determined decision to interfere in the administration of that nation-state, the equilibrium of that specific state can be seriously disturbed. Extreme recent cases of this are Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011. And remember, all former colonial territories, including Belize, have unresolved tribal issues which divide the population.

Iraq and Libya are not parliamentary democracies, of course. They are former colonial territories which have experienced hereditary monarchies and ended up, in our time, being ruled by strong arm dictators. Hence, when powerful outside forces decided to interfere in the affairs of Iraq and Libya, which are big time oil-producing states, they did so in a violent military manner, but there were dissident elements in both nation-states with whom the powerful outside forces made common cause.

In the case of Belize, which is a parliamentary democracy with a functional judiciary within the British Commonwealth tradition and orbit, if you are a powerful outside force which has a quarrel with the elected government, you always have a strong, established Opposition party with which to ally yourself, and you can also create all kinds of expensive mischief for the government with repeated law suits and higher court appeals.

In the aftermath of World War II, imperialism and colonialism were being condemned all over the colonized world, where the vast majority of the citizens were so-called “people of color.” The colonial powers, dominated by the Europeans, under duress, began to grant political independence to those of their colonies who were agitating for it. But because the former colonies were poor in technology, science, manufacturing, and overall economic productivity, and were also afflicted by the aforementioned tendencies to tribalism and other divisive behavior, political independence became a terrible, bloody experience for many of them, the classic case being that of the Belgian Congo (now Zaire).

Although Belize became independent under a state of emergency, it soon became the norm for us Belizeans to congratulate ourselves on the success of our constitutional change. In recent years, however, the quality of our daily lives in Belize has eroded to the point where more and more of our citizens, older ones especially, can be heard, from time to time, questioning the benefits of our independent status. Specifically, we Belizean citizens do not feel safe in our communities; the forces of lawlessness appear to be more powerful than the forces of law and order.

Now then, at a less violent level, we are engaged in continuing confrontations in the courts, where, if you stop and think it over, the question is whether the billionaire investor Chichester or the elected Prime Minister of Belize is more powerful in critical areas of Belize’s economy and politics. Chichester is a powerful outside force whose Belizean allies are significant. The contest between himself and Mr. Barrow has reached a point where we wonder whether Lord Ashcroft really recognizes, respects, or remembers Belizean sovereignty.

The implications of all the Ashcroft-initiated litigations are substantial for the party politics of Belize. If you stop and think it over, the PUP is becoming like the original National Party (NP), and the UDP is becoming like the original PUP. Stop, and think it over.

Power to the people.

Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #422517
11/18/11 10:00 AM
11/18/11 10:00 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,286
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Marty Offline OP

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NIGERIA –

Royal Dutch Shell PLC must clean up three-year-old oil spills that have destroyed the livelihoods of tens of thousands of farmers and fishermen in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta, Amnesty International said.

Shell acknowledged responsibility for two spills caused by operational issues in 2008, but said that the vast majority of those harming the area are caused by oil thieves and saboteurs.

- pg. A25, Houston Chronicle, Sunday, November 13, 2011

BRAZIL –

Brazil’s president has ordered a full investigation into an oil spill near an offshore field operated by oil giant Chevron Corp.

Dilma Rousseff says in a statement that she wants a “rigorous investigation” to determine responsibility for the spill near the well being drilled by Chevron’s Brazilian subsidiary.
- pg. A25, ibid.

When I was growing up, Spanish Caye was a very big part of my life. My father’s younger sister owned the northern half of this caye, and my mother’s relatives owned the southern half of the island, so I figured I would always have a place there. If any problems arose in the future with one side of the family, there would always be the other side. Or, so I thought. Well, since those days of innocence in the 1950s and 1960s, problems have arisen with both sides of my family, and I no longer have a place at Spanish Caye. But, more devastatingly, the pristine nature of the precious sea around us has been violated by the overwhelming swarms of visiting human beings, and the modern lifestyle which rules – powerboats, plastics, cruise ships, fertilizer/pesticide runoff from the mainland, and so on and so forth. (Check out Trevor Vernon’s article in this issue of Amandala.)

I consider myself a raging environmentalist, but one cannot absolutely reject the benefits and comforts of modern science and technology. A New Yorker by the name of John L. Stephens, traveling as a passenger in a sailing brig, visited these here parts in 1839/1840, “these here parts” being the settlement of Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, and southern Mexico, and he wrote about his travels. One of the things which will strike you if you ever read his book is the amount of people in this region who were dying of different fevers in those days. Whether these fevers were malaria or dengue, he wouldn’t have known. Medical science was poor in those days where malaria and dengue were concerned. In fact, instead of “poor,” you can pencil in “non-existent.”

When I was growing up, however, DDT had been discovered as a chemical which would kill the anopheles mosquito which carried the malaria it had picked up by biting malarial individuals, and infected healthy people with its bites. Every few months or so, families would have to cover up everything in their homes, we would have to go outside, and the malaria eradication people would come into your home and spray the place with the whitish DDT. If you actually contracted malaria, they could save you with quinine and related drugs. So, as a raging environmentalist, would I want to live in 1839/1840 when this area was absolutely pristine but they were helpless where malaria was concerned? I don’t think so.

Anyhow, I think, totally as a matter of surmise, that Spanish Caye originally ended up being owned in the first half of the twentieth century by members of the Hyde and Belisle families because it was such a devilishly difficult place to reach from Belize City. The trip was only nine miles plus, but the prevailing winds in Belize during the dry season are blistering southeasterlies. When I was a child, we mostly used sailboats, and Spanish Caye was due south, or maybe even south by southeast. So you had to sail almost directly into the strong winds and the brutal waves. If you went by motorboat, people would often be violently seasick because of the battering of the waves. This was, most times, a rough ride from the city to the caye. Going to islands like St. George’s Caye, Caye Chapel and Caye Caulker was usually a lark compared to the trip to Spanish Caye.

Again, Spanish Caye was not one of those beautiful sandy cayes like Goff’s Caye where you had a beautiful beach to enjoy and iridescent waters for swimming. Spanish Caye had grass and conch shells and mangrove and sea eggs (white and black) in the waters offshore. This was not your ideal place for swimming, trust me. But, Spanish Caye had the finest fishing on planet earth. This was in the time, five and six decades ago, before the dynamiting for oil, Hurricane Hattie, the diving for lobster, the gill nets, and the uncontrolled sewerage of cruise ships.

The fishing was so good at Spanish Caye we “picked and chose” what we ate. We didn’t eat grunt, paagy, or yellow tail, and sometimes we even “cut our style” with grouper, barracuda and jack. We ate silk snapper, red and black snapper, kingfish, mackerel, and rock fish. These were the cream of the crop.

A lot of the cooking was done on fire hearth, and the deliciously pungent smell of the “mangro” (mangrove) wood burning sweetly in the evening breeze as “johnny cakes” and “powder buns’ were baking in black iron pots, is a golden memory for I. Slowly, indoor cooking on kerosene stoves began to take over, but the old days were ruled by fire hearth.

One aspect of those spring and summer days at Spanish Caye that we took for granted was our safety. It was similar walking home your girl friend in Belize City streets after the movies or dances. We took our safety for granted. Is it because we were a British colony that we were safe? This is the question which “bugs” black-conscious people like myself.

Spanish Caye was a rare privilege that I enjoyed as a member of a brown-skinned, Creole family in Belize City. Where Spanish Caye was concerned, we were the happiest and most fortunate people on the earth. I believe that was how we saw it then. For sure we can see it now.

When the U.S. Consulate here gave me a scholarship to study in America, one of the beautiful things about the scholarship was that they promised they would fly me home every summer for the holidays. A little while before that first summer vacation, in June of 1966, however, the foreign student advisor at Dartmouth, Col. Harold N. Moorman, broke the bad news. I wonder who decided to renege on the promise to fly me home, and why. I ended up fumbling around in Brooklyn until classes resumed in September. I wonder how different my life would have been if I had come home to Spanish Caye in 1966. This is how I know I’m old nowadays. I spend time thinking about things like that. Who made that decision, and why?

Whatever, whatever, whatever. Blessings on our Garifuna brethren and sistren on Settlement Day. Ubafu houn gereigia.

Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #423046
11/23/11 09:56 AM
11/23/11 09:56 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,286
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Independent voters

The percentage of independent voters in the Belizean electorate is much more today than in October of 1974, say, when the general election results in the old Collet constituency suggested that the percentage of hard core independent voters may have been around 4 percent. The results of the 2009 municipal elections in Belmopan suggest that the percentage of independent voters in Belize may now be as high as 20 percent in specific areas.

The reasons for the huge increase in independent voter percentage include the 18-year-old vote (introduced in 1978), the great increase in the amount of citizens educated to the tertiary level and beyond, the introduction of cable television to Belize in 1982, and the present philosophical vagueness of the programs of the two major political parties.

Six decades ago, it was very clear what the People’s United Party (PUP) wanted, and what the National Party (NP) represented. In 2011, however, the PUP is not sure where it is going, except that it wants to return to national power, while the United Democratic Party (UDP) has definitely moved in a populist direction as it seeks a second term in national office. The PUP of 2011 is definitely different from the PUP of 1950, while the UDP of 2011 is definitely different from the NP of 1951.

The present ruling faction of the PUP recognized the importance of the independent vote when they began to publish the National Perspective two years ago. At the same time, the National Perspective was lobbying for the return of that aforementioned ruling faction to power in the PUP leadership. Remember, the present ruling faction of the PUP lost intra-party control when John Briceño became Party Leader in March of 2008.

The National Perspective has gone out of print and is now on the Internet. This “demotion” took place at precisely the same time that a new newspaper, The Independent, began publication three weeks ago. The name of The Independent indicates the aim of its unnamed financiers. They want to convince independent voters that the publication is not PUP-owned, so that the newspaper can influence some of the independent vote.

By definition, mass political parties include, under their philosophical umbrella, factions which are practically disparate. When the PUP won a big landslide victory in 1998 and returned to office, it is safe to assume that they enjoyed trade union support. By late 2004, however, the PUP’s flagrantly neoliberal policies had cost them the union vote, so that the party began to lose elections in 2006.

The PUP has been unable to bring real heat on a UDP government which is suffering from the worldwide economic downturn, because the PUP have not recovered the union support they enjoyed before 2004. It is true that the business sector in Belize is not happy with the Barrow administration, but the trade unions are still quiet. This does not mean they are happy, but there is no indication that the unions are in any kind of marching mood.

With Belize just 14 weeks away from national municipal elections, the independent voters have yet to show their hand. In 1998, it was obvious that the independents were going blue from long before general elections, and in 2008 it was obvious from 2006 that they were going red. It is late November, and we still don’t know where the independents will go in March.

Power to the people.

Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #423285
11/26/11 08:18 AM
11/26/11 08:18 AM
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From then, until now …

Between 1998 and 2004, Belize had a fiesta and the PUP won two general elections. Belize borrowed and spent a lot of money during that period, and, as a result, Belize now owes a lot of money. Because the electorate could not really see that the money had been spent constructively, Belizeans began to vote against the PUP in 2006, a trend which has continued up to the present.

In that 1998-2004 period of plenty, this newspaper was essentially a supporter of the PUP, and we would like to explain how this happened. There is no part of the world, except in Belize, where you can find that the leading newspaper began from nothing, so to speak. Newspaper infrastructure is expensive. Newspapers require major capital investment, so Amandala, which began publication in 1969, is an anomaly.

In the specific environment of 1969, this was a black-conscious newspaper which had socialist friends, namely, Assad Shoman and Said Musa. These two socialists joined the ruling PUP in the early 1970s, and in 1973 the UBAD organization which had established Amandala, split in two. Half the UBAD leadership joined the new UDP, while the other half, which included Amandala, remained independent.

Said Musa decided in 1977 to become a business partner of Amandala’s, and that proved to be a wise political decision. At critical moments in his political career - 1979, 1989, 1998, and 2003, Mr. Musa was supported by this newspaper.

Belize is a small place, and sometimes things got personal. In 1981, Amandala had a quarrel with the ruling PUP, which included Mr. Musa in its Cabinet, and the newspaper ended up being a significant part of the UDP push which installed Manuel Esquivel as Prime Minister in December of 1984. By 1987/1988, however, the relationship between Mr. Esquivel and this newspaper had become hostile, and that hostility flared up again in the 1993 general election campaign.

It was because of the seriousness of that hostility that this newspaper “was essentially a supporter of the PUP” between 1994 and 2004. Amandala was not really cognizant of the fact that the previously socialist Said Musa had become a confirmed neoliberal. We’re not making excuses for anything. In fact, while we think our rivalry with Dean Barrow/Michael Finnegan, dating back to 1973, 74, was in the natural order of things, for the life of us we can’t figure out for sure how this hostility between ourselves and Mr. Esquivel became so serious. We can see ideological differences between Mr. Esquivel and ourselves, but how did it become personal? We are making allowance for the possibility that the fault was ours.

Today, Rt. Hon. Manuel Esquivel is a political relic, but Mr. Musa remains very much on the scene. We have to assume that he was a part of the decision making in the PUP leadership which led to this week’s exclusion of Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde from the national executive of the PUP. On our part, we had been friends with Mr. Musa for so long we could never see ourselves getting into a personal dispute with him. Our differences today are philosophical. At this newspaper, we never considered ourselves socialist back then, and we definitely do not consider ourselves neoliberal today.

It appears, on the face of it, that the PUP intends a return of their halcyon days of 1998 to 2004. For this to take place, the PUP would have to convince the Belizean electorate that that electorate has been making a mistake since 2006. The PUP needs to convince the electorate that the fault lies with Mark and Cordel. The tactic of accusing them of being “Kremandala,” does not work on the ground. It may work inside the PUP, but outside here, just what exactly is so toxic about Kremandala, why is it so evil? Again, how could Kremandala have survived and grown if it has not been supported by the people? Remember, we started from nothing.

Power to the people.

Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #424489
12/07/11 09:20 AM
12/07/11 09:20 AM
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I’m halfway through a book Dr. Dennis Young brought for me on Sunday. The work is entitled MISUNDERSTOOD CAUDILLO: Miguel Ydígoras Fuentes and the Failure of Democracy in Guatemala. The author is Roland H. Ebel, a retired professor from the Political Science Department of Tulane University in New Orleans.

Ydígoras Fuentes was president of Guatemala from 1958 to 1963. The “recovery” of Belize was a major part of his political agenda, so that his name was a fearful one for most of us who were growing up in British Honduras at the time.

It was during Fuentes’ presidency that Francisco Sagastume Pérez, a “Christian Democratic university politician,” crossed Belize’s southern border, burned the Union Jack, and raised the Guatemalan flag. Sagustume was leading “a group of adventurers and students” early in 1961.

Three years before, Fuentes himself, while visiting the Department of El Peten, crossed over into Belize on April 16, 1958. He was accompanied by the presidents of the Guatemalan Supreme Court and the Congress. “Requesting that the sergeant on duty obtain permission from the British Governor for the party to proceed to the Belizean town of Cayo, some three miles away, he had his picture taken in front of the police barracks in Benque Viejo brandishing his ‘entry permit’ – a copy of the Guatemalan constitution. When permission to proceed further was denied, he calmly returned to the Guatemalan side of the border proclaiming, ‘Belize will be ours by right or might.’” (pg. 136, MISUNDERSTOOD CAUDILLO, Roland H. Ebel, University Press of America, 1998)

I think that if we Belizeans had known that the Americans had made an informal agreement with Fuentes, in return for his allowing Guatemala to be used to train Cuban exiles for the invasion of Castro’s Cuba, to support Guatemala’s claim to British Honduras, that we would have been much more alarmed than we already were. For some reason, Fuentes’ 1961 New Year’s speech didn’t make the headlines here, as far as I can remember. “… he dropped one of his characteristic bombshells: he stated that the Kennedy administration had agreed to use its good offices to convince Great Britain to settle the Belize question in exchange for the secret training camp he had provided for the Bay of Pigs invasion.” (pg. 261, ibid.)

When I finish the book, I will talk some more with you. For now, here’s my point. In 1961, I was a 14-year-old high school student. I was an uninformed, brown-skinned, middle class Creole. “Uninformed” means I absolutely didn’t know the difference between “Spanish” and “Maya.” I didn’t know anything about the Caste War, and I didn’t know anything about the Mexican Revolution. I didn’t know anything about the United Fruit Company, and I had never heard of Francisco Morazán or Rafael Carrera. I knew nothing about Ubico, Arévalo, or Arbenz. All I knew was that we were scared of Guatemala.

I’m talking about brown-skinned, middle class Creoles living in Belize City in 1961. The British had us where they wanted us, so they “played” us. Vaguely “Afro-Saxon” as we were, we were used by the British to fight against the nationalist, anti-colonial movement here.

The Guatemalans were not in a position to launch a real invasion of British Honduras. Firstly, British intelligence in Guatemala City would have known about it before it even became organized. Secondly, the British have warships cruising in these regional waters as a matter of course, as was demonstrated in 1948. Thirdly, the Guatemalan military is important in the maintenance of law and order in Guatemala, because this is a nation which is in a state of permanent civil war. Guatemala is really two nations. One is a very wealthy, neo-European, First World state, and the other, very much Third World, is comprised of oppressed, desperately poor, indigenous people.

The indigenous people are the Achilles heel of Guatemala’s ruling classes. The indigenous people have not been integrated into the body politic. At Kremandala, over the last few years we have nurtured the indigenous Belizean voice of Clinton Uh Luna. Most of our people who have remained “Afro-Saxon” don’t want to hear anything he has to say or have anything to do with him. This is because they are uninformed. They are uninformed about the indigenous.

In the authorized biography of the Rt. Hon. George C. Price, Godfrey Smith writes that Mr. Price considered UBAD and PAC to be “nuisances” and “distractions.” Well, the two PAC leaders became PUP Cabinet Ministers in 1979, and one of them became PUP Leader in 1996, and Prime Minister from 1998 to 2008. The UBAD leader, well, he works at Kremandala, you see. And what Kremandala does, is provide information to the Belizean people on the regional and international real. We’ve been doing that since 1969. God willing, we’ll keep on keeping on …

Power to the people.

Amandala


Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #428250
01/18/12 09:16 AM
01/18/12 09:16 AM
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“Real” corruption

The former Prime Minister/PUP Leader Hon. Said Musa, area representative for the Fort George constituency, made a very big mistake in the House of Representatives last Friday. He got carried away and condemned the attempt by some senior staffers at the Social Security Board to get their mortgages below $50,000 so as to make themselves eligible for the Prime Minister’s write-off, as “real” corruption.

Things happen so fast in Belize in the third millennium, you know, most of us remember very little about the details of the national rebellion in Belize which took place in late 2004 and early 2005, and forced Mr. Musa’s government to allow hearings into the goings on at the Social Security Board and a nationally televised commission of inquiry into the abuses at the Development Finance Corporation (DFC).

Merlene Bailey-Martinez came into the national spotlight because she was the panelist appointed to the three-member DFC commission of inquiry on the recommendation of the then Opposition UDP.

What we remember vividly about the DFC hearings is that this was a militant demand by the trade unions of Belize to which Mr. Musa, under duress, had to agree.

After the DFC hearings, those who would have been most in legal danger, filed injunctions to prevent the proceedings being used as a basis for prosecution. It was all legal “tricknology” after the hearings, and, to tell the truth, we don’t remember the details. In the court of public opinion, the damage had been righteously done, and, Belize being the corrupt society that it is, we could not have expected that the DFC felons would have been “bangled.” They came, you see, from the highest places in Belizean society, and Belize is a place where big people don’t go to jail.

Had those dramatic hearings become a basis for prosecutions, had they remained in the public eye and consciousness, Merlene Bailey-Martinez would probably not have committed the indiscretion she is alleged to have committed. The DFC felons got away with hundreds of millions of Belizean taxpayers’ dollars. Merlene merely tried to make herself eligible for mortgage relief. The problem was that she was taking advantage of information available to her only in her capacity as the chief executive officer at the Social Security Board. This was wrong. It was not real corruption. Real corruption took place at the DFC in the years between 1998 and 2004.

We are hereby requesting that our editorial staff, as a result of Mr. Musa’s accusation in the House on Friday, do a rehash of the SSB hearings and the DFC commission of inquiry so that we, the people, can remember what real corruption was like.

The way the PUP has historically operated is that once one of their own does something, no matter what, then it is well done. “Touch one, touch all.” No matter how guilty one of their own is proven to be, the party is expected to defend him or her. This is a criminal mentality. It is a gang mentality. But, historically, this mentality has worked for the PUP.

The UDP, for their part, behave with a self-righteous posture and approach. They hold themselves up to an unrealistic standard of purity. The problem is that the masses of the Belizean people have historically been victims of institutionalized racism and oppression. We suffered racism and oppression at the hands of the British, who themselves behaved as if they were paragons of virtue when they were not. When the Belizean people began fighting for their freedom, it was “by any means necessary.” The UDP’s Pharisaical attitude was irrelevant.

Today, however, we run our own money. We are a sovereign, independent nation. No political party will be allowed to repeat what the PUP did at the SSB and the DFC between 1998 and 2004. If this is allowed to happen again, then we Belizeans are suckers and fools.

All power to the people.

Amandala


Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #429907
02/08/12 08:45 AM
02/08/12 08:45 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
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I left you last weekend where I had decided, in a desperation no doubt immature, that I had to go to New York City to see the Freedom Committee after the ruling PUP smashed the NIP/UBAD coalition in the December 1971 Belize City Council elections.

The importance of this period in Belizean history is trying to figure out what happened to Mr. Goldson (Hon. Philip), and when exactly it was decided, and who exactly it was that so decided, to replace him as Leader of the Opposition. In the December 1969 general elections the PUP had demolished the NIPDM coalition, 17-1. Only Mr. Goldson had won his constituency, retaining the Albert seat he had first won in the 1965 generals. Mr. Goldson was Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives – a one-man army. He was a legitimate national hero, going back to his sedition imprisonment in 1951 and coming up to his inspiring 1966 and 1968 battles against the Thirteen Proposals and Seventeen Proposals, respectively.

I knew something was wrong because, from the time I entered St. Mary’s Hall for the December 1971 CitCo counting, approaching 9 p.m., until I left the counting hall around 7 a.m. the following day, I never saw Mr. Goldson. I have been told that he looked in at St. Mary’s briefly before I had arrived.

Looking back, I realize that my decision to go see the Freedom Committee meant that I had taken up the PUP gauntlet, big time. But, that PUP gauntlet had been thrown down in February of 1970 with my sedition arrest, so that it wasn’t as if the Freedom Committee move was a really radical one. Still, the gauntlet had become an overtly political one for UBAD with our December 1971 CitCo run. In politics, you require materia de guerra, and The Big Apple was where it was.

Again, I suppose it was because of his strange non-appearance while I was at St. Mary’s Hall that I did not consult Mr. Goldson about my trip. I was just 24 years old, and the PUP had pricked my youthful pride with their heckling the morning after the counting at St. Mary’s. In fact, the PUP stalwart Darrell Carter, who was a child accompanying his PUP grandmother at the time, has declared to me that he saw me crying that morning. Very, very doubtful, Darrell, and I would say wishful thinking on your part, because we UBAD were surrounded by young sisters, and they were all “fine like wine with a great design.”

Anyway, there was a very big problem for me with the New York trip. I have a bad plane phobia, which is a combination of a fear of heights and a fear of being enclosed. Because of my plane phobia, which became evident to me as I was preparing to fly for the first time, in August of 1965 to the States to study, I knew that I could never have a political career, even had I so desired, and I had not. In government, you have to fly to transact official business. You can’t be taking buses and boats all around the place.

Norman Fairweather, the UBAD secretary-general, was supposed to accompany myself and Ismail Shabazz to New York, but he decided against it at the last minute. I was already committed, so Shabazz and I drove to Corozal, and caught a bus to Mexico City from Chetumal. I never questioned Norman about his last minute change of mind, although this was a great disappointment. Norman had the magic Fairweather name, and would have guaranteed us success in New York.

I appreciated the delicacy of Norman’s position. His sister was married to the conservative PDM Leader, Dean Lindo, and, generally speaking, Norman’s socio-politics was openly roots, whereas his family was highly respectable. It may have been that Norman didn’t want to waste his time travelling by bus from here to Los Angeles to New York, and that would have been quite understandable.

Shabazz and I reached Los Angeles in the early winter of 1972, and tried to make contact with the Freedom Committee’s Compton Fairweather to get financial assistance in making our way from L.A. to New York. We could not make that contact, so the late Edgar X Richardson, a former UBAD officer who had migrated to Los Angeles in September of 1970, loaned us $100 to buy bus tickets to New York.

The token assistance we received in New York was as follows. Compton took us to a Freedom Committee executive meeting, then he held a Freedom Committee public meeting where $250 was raised to finance our bus passage back home. In addition, Compton bought a second hand motor for us to use on our ancient Chandler & Price letter press, which we had been forced to convert to pumping by hand. The motor didn’t work on our press.

So, all in all those five weeks Shabazz and I spent on the road had been a bust. In retrospect, we two did not figure in the Freedom Committee’s plans, despite all the persecution we had suffered at the hands of the ruling PUP.

When Ismail and I arrived back in Belize in early February, Mr. Goldson had already left for London to study law. His wife, Mrs. Hadie Jones Goldson, took the couple’s six children and went to New York to work and live. The couple did not resume their marriage life until after the UDP came to power in 1984.

When the UDP was formally established in September of 1973, Mr. Goldson was still studying in London. It was generally understood that Mr. Lindo was the new Leader, but it could not be announced because Mr. Goldson’s supporters would have raised a fuss.

In our weekend issue, I will speak of how the Unity Congress, the precursor of the UDP, broke the UBAD Party in two in early 1973, and condemned me to being a villain amongst the same young people for whom I had been a hero from 1969 to 1972.

Amandala

Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #430205
02/10/12 07:03 PM
02/10/12 07:03 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,286
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

.
Marty  Offline OP

I think the evidence which shows that the “big boys” in the then Opposition knew what they were doing when they moved out the Hon. Philip Goldson from leadership between 1972 and 1974 lies in Mr. Philip’s defying of UDP leadership in the Maritime Areas Act matter and his formation of the National Alliance for Belizean Rights (NABR) in 1991, when, incidentally, Mr. Philip was completely blind. The “big boys” and all those who were backing them could never be sure of Goldson, that he would toe the party line instead of following his nationalistic conscience.

Dr. Dennis Young has told me on several occasions over the years that the late Senator Dudley Thompson of Jamaica insisted on referring to Goldson as a “genal.” This is a Jamaican term which indicates someone is a conniver, an operator. The thing is that our Belizean Baby Boomer generation of black youth felt that Goldson was all we had. Whenever there was a national crisis in the 1960s, Mr. Philip was the one who was expressing our feelings. Straight.

I would argue that the rise of UBAD just 19 years after the PUP had been established in 1950 and had appeared to be the ultimate in local roots militancy, suggests that by 1969 there were serious flaws in the PUP programs. Remember, in the initial UBAD phases in 1969 and 1970, the bulk of our youth support came from PUP families. When Norman Fairweather returned from New York and became a UBAD officer in early 1971, then a substantial youth element of NIP background joined forces with our roots youth base.

On the return of myself and Ismail Shabazz to Belize in late January 1972, we had little time to assess our situation as a political party. The ruling PUP came after UBAD officers hard – pre-dawn paramilitary raids, police harassment, and so on. During this period, we UBAD were the heroes of all anti-PUP elements in the city. Dean Lindo, the attorney who would become UDP Leader, defended us pro bono in several cases, both Magistrate’s and Supreme Courts.

Finally, all hell broke loose on the night of May 29, 1972, during and after a UBAD demonstration march. Because of his exploits that night, Norman Fairweather became a street hero of Belize City youth, and his stature was enhanced when he, Michael Hyde and Edwardo Burns (defended by Mr. Lindo) were acquitted in the October 1972 Supreme Court session.

De facto, UBAD now had two hero/leaders, the president and the secretary-general, on the one executive, and the vice-president made it known in several executive meetings whom he preferred - Norman. UBAD entered 1973, in retrospect, vulnerable to any divisive pressure from outside, because UBAD was already divided within.

The divisive pressure from outside came in the form of the Unity Congress, organized by the Rev. Gerald Fairweather in an attempt to unite all elements which were in opposition to the ruling PUP. The question was: where did the Liberal Party come from?

As harassed as I was by the PUP, I was in no hurry to join the Unity Congress. The treatment Shabazz and I had received from Rev. Gerald’s son, Compton, in New York just a year earlier, had not been satisfactory. And secondly, Lawrence, Rodriguez, Esquivel and Vasquez were looking very much Vatican to me. Shabazz had resigned from UBAD in November of 1972 to work full time for Nuri Muhammad’s Nation of Islam. My steadiest ally was gone. The UBAD executive vote in early 1973 on whether to join the Unity Congress forthwith, went five for and five against. A quarrel, of course, then broke out in UBAD, and it soon became public.

Younger generations will not find this all that easy to understand, but in 1972 and 1973 George Price and the ruling PUP were considered Babylon oppressors by the majority of Belize City youth. Because I ended up alienated first from the Unity Congress and later from the UDP, which was formed in September of 1973, and because these were the forces which took over the fight against the PUP, those Wesley College students who had idolized me during the 1971-72 school year now were forced to view me in a negative light.

I can tell you that this period was a painful one in my life. In party politics, you have to be a team player, and I was not. I was a writer who had gotten sucked into party politics by a series of events which were out of my control. How could I explain to those students I had taught that the PUP was not all bad and the UDP was not all good? Impossible.

My Wesley College students are in their middle and late fifties today. Almost all of them are in the United States and Canada. I will always remember them and cherish their youthful loyalty. I hope that time has clarified things for them where Evan X is concerned. I got caught in currents which were far too powerful for me, and I thought I was bigger and more important than I was. The “big boys” schooled me.

As for my UBAD brothers and sisters, we shared some beautiful times together amidst all the pressure and stress. The division is not of consequence. We accomplished stuff, and we laid a foundation.

All power to the people.

Amandala


Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #431684
02/29/12 09:20 AM
02/29/12 09:20 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,286
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

.
Marty  Offline OP
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

Re: From The Publisher, Amandala [Re: Marty] #432009
03/03/12 08:51 AM
03/03/12 08:51 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,286
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

.
Marty  Offline OP
… politicians are hypocrites …

- Tupac Shakur in “It’s me against the world”

After six decades of these exciting, but inevitably inconclusive, processes we know as national elections, the masses of the Belizean people are conscious that these processes are not really the end of the world, and that some very important institutions and realities will essentially remain the way they have always been.

Most prominent among these institutions which are never affected by the ballots are the churches and the schools. The churches are in charge of our souls and the schools are in charge of our brains. After your soul and your brain, all you have left is your body, and that is only on loan to you, in all its mortal frailty.

On Tuesday night around midnight someone set a car on fire in the Esso gas station parking lot on New Road in Belize City. The car belonged to the attorney Godfrey Smith, but was in the use of the surgeon Dr. Francis Smith, who is Godfrey’s older brother and who has been campaigning as the PUP candidate for the Pickstock constituency. The immediate suspicion was that this very, very dangerous crime was the work of campaigners for Dr. Smith’s opponent, the attorney Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington, who became the area representative for Pickstock after defeating Dr. Smith’s brother, the aforementioned Godfrey, in the February 2008 general elections.

Now, which absolute idiot would start a fire in a gas station in a crowded residential area of roots Belizeans? We put it to you that there is another possibility besides an absolute Belizean idiot. In a time like this, days before general elections, there are agents for interested regional and international powers who are inside the territory of Belize.

We have said to you in these editorial pages, on more than one occasion, that many violent things happen in states which have important petroleum resources. These very violent things take place because petroleum deposits are so valuable. Some people refer to oil as “black gold.” There was a state of frenzy that used to be called “gold fever,” referring to the behavior of people with respect to the yellow metal. There is a certain amount of oil fever in Belize these days. Consider this. If there had been a catastrophic explosion in the New Road gas station on Tuesday night, do you believe that it would have been possible to hold a national people’s referendum on offshore oil drilling on Wednesday morning?

In the remainder of this essay, we want to examine the political personalities involved with the campaign for the Pickstock seat, the purpose being to give you another graphic example of the PUDP system which controls the socio-politics of Belize. Sedi Elrington’s long-time law partner is B. Q. Pitts, Sr., who is the Attorney General of Belize. Francis Smith’s brother, Godfrey, is considered Lord Michael Ashcroft’s no. 1 Belizean attorney and loyalist. Okay. So UDP Sedi Elrington and PUP Francis Smith are supposed to be totally daggers drawn because one is so red and one is so blue.

In the summer of 1975, a man subsequently described as “a PUP soldier” by the late Rt. Hon. George C. Price, took out a gun at a PUP public meeting at the Courthouse Wharf in Belize City and shot four UDP hecklers who were hollering at the PUP crowd from Central Park. Fortunately, the shooter, a U.S. military veteran, did not kill anyone. He was arrested and offered bail by Magistrate Edwin Flowers. Then he was quickly spirited out of the country by the powers-that-be, proceeding to spend several years in California, and returned to Belize for “trial” immediately after Belize achieved independence in 1981. At the “trial” he was defended by the said B. Q. Pitts, a UDP luminary and stalwart. That gunman never spent a day in jail.

Now to Godfrey Smith, former PUP secretary-general, Pickstock area representative, and Said Musa Cabinet Minister. He began his legal career in the law firm of Barrow & Williams, UDP Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s firm. In 2002, while a PUP Cabinet Minister (Attorney General), Godfrey Smith formed a private company (BELIPO) to work the lucrative business of a privatized government department we once knew as the Registry. His partners in that company were attorney Eamon Courtenay, a sometime PUP Cabinet Minister, and the attorney Denys Barrow, the younger brother of the aforementioned Dean Barrow, UDP Leader.

Let us wrap up this PUDP package with the following ribbon, whatever the color. Shortly after Sedi Elrington defeated the aforementioned Ashcroft favorite, Godfrey Smith, to win the Pickstock seat and become a UDP Cabinet Minister, he accepted a gift of $200,000 from Lord Ashcroft, with which he built the Samuel Haynes School of Excellence.

Belize became an independent nation in September of 1981, but our head of state is a Governor-General whose loyalty is to the Queen of England, Elizabeth II. It is the Queen’s portrait which stares at us every day from the official currency of Belize. In the House of Representatives, all our elected leaders swear an oath of loyalty to Queen Elizabeth II, “her heirs and successors.” On Friday of this week, the Queen’s grandson, Prince Harry, visits Belize in honor of the sixtieth anniversary of his grandmother’s coronation.

“After six decades of these exciting, but inevitably inconclusive, processes we know as national elections, the masses of the Belizean people are conscious that these processes are not really the end of the world, and that some very important institutions and realities will essentially remain the way they have always been.”

Power to the people.

Amandala

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