Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2
#519648 - 12/10/16 01:26 AM National ethnic and color landscape  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,808
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
By the Publisher, Amandala

When I was a child, my mother told me, on more than one occasion for sure, that my great great grandmother, the one Elizabeth “Betsy” Kingston, of Sittee River, had been a “coal black woman.”

In British Honduras in the 1950s when I was growing up and attending primary school, it seemed to me that, at least in the capital city, it was basically “Creoles” and “Spanish.” There were also “coolies”, which is how we referred to East Indians.

I can’t recall meeting any “Caribs” at Holy Redeemer Boys School, but they must have been there. I did meet older Caribs at a hostel in the Holy Redeemer School backyard in the northern section. These included Harry Servio, Greg Arana, and Callistus Cayetano. They were attending St. John’s College, and when I began SJC I met more Caribs.

The difference between brown and red Creoles, on the one hand, and black Creoles, on the other, was not a big deal for me as a child. It may well have been, nevertheless, that it was a big deal for adult Creoles in our society. As a child, I knew that I was of black descent, thanks to Elinor Wilson, but I probably had somewhat of an East Indian finish. Also, because of being in the sun a lot, I was not as light in color as I am today.

At the Bliss Institute, where I performed several times in elocution and on piano as a child, there were two large stone stelae with Maya hieroglyphics written on them, but in the city, otherwise from that, we knew almost nothing of the Maya. For us, everybody who looked a certain way was “Spanish.”

In the Indian department, aside from the aforementioned “coolies,” and I mean absolutely no disrespect when I use the term, we also heard a lot about a people called “Waika.” These were the most mysterious of all Belizean people to me, the Waika, and I can’t say that I can remember a specific individual I positively knew to be a full-blooded Waika. For some reason, the Waika, to me, were associated with the Christmas season and Christmas excesses, and I suppose they must have been workers in the mahogany camps. My understanding of Waika is that they are what are called Mosquito Indians, from Nicaragua.

The few “Syrians” and “Turks” seemed pretty white in appearance, though some had wooly hair texture. We knew nothing about Palestine as such back when I was a child.

I’ve tried to give you an idea of how mixed up the whole race and ethnicity thing was in British Honduras. If you wanted a recipe on how to produce a divided population, Belize was it. This was how the British wanted it. Rule Britannia. The one thing was that the majority of the population were clearly of African descent, but these were perhaps the most internally divided of all the groups.

When the People’s United Party (PUP) set about building a native nation in 1950, Belize City was the big cheese, so to speak, and Creoles ruled, by numbers, by culture, and by the choice of the British. This situation has changed substantially over the last five to six decades. For me, the question is: have we Belizeans as a people become more unified or have we remained a confused and polyglot society?

It served the personal business interests of the remarkable native entrepreneur, Robert Sydney Turton, for Belize to seek independence from British colonial rule. Around 1944, he sponsored the entry of his personal secretary, George Cadle Price, into electoral politics in order to pursue the goal of Belizean self-rule. Mr. Price became PUP Leader in 1956, a year after Mr. Turton died, and it is fascinating to me to wonder how much of Mr. Price’s early PUP leadership agenda was his own, and how much of it remained Mr. Turton’s. My personal feeling is that if Mr. Turton had been resurrected by some miracle in say 1964, when Belize became a self-governing colony, he would not have recognized Mr. Price’s leadership as his own, so to speak. Mr. Price, who had spent a few years training to be a Roman Catholic priest in Mississippi and Guatemala, probably became his own man.

The important thing is that Mr. Price believed in Mr. Turton’s goal of Belizean self-rule. Mr. Price made independence for Belize his personal Holy Grail. Younger generations of Belizeans will not know this, but there was a time, especially in the late 1970s, when the Opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) was first coming on like gangbusters and when independence for Belize was really becoming a questionable proposition.

Independence first became questionable because the British and the Americans were demanding that Belize cede territory to Guatemala, and the possibility is that Mr. Price would have been overthrown had he yielded to the Anglo/American demands. The paradoxical aspect of our situation in the late 1970s, where I am concerned, is that the UDP, philosophically, appeared to be on a journey unruly and unique in Belize’s political history.

Looking back, the sensational aspect of the UDP ride in the 1970s was that this was a pro-American ride at a time when Belizeans were flocking to the United States in droves. The UDP was avowedly and pointedly anti-communist at a time when Mr. Price’s PUP was playing ball with the young socialist attorneys, Assad Shoman and Said Musa. Although the largest component of the three-party coalition that became the UDP in 1973, was the National Independence Party (NIP), the UDP immediately shoved the core NIP message of “No Guatemala” into their back room. The UDP was a party that was focused on attracting campaign donations. For that reason, the UDP allowed the smallest of their component parts, the pro-business Liberal Party, to dominate their message. It is hardly a coincidence that when the UDP finally came to power in 1984, their Leader turned Prime Minister was a Liberal Party original – Dr. Manuel Esquivel.

Looking back, we can see that the early UDP positions were what we would now call neoliberal capitalist ones. What this means to me is that if the UDP had been elected in the 1974 or 1979 general elections, Washington would have been allowed to implement most of its 1968 Seventeen Proposals. As it is, in 2016 Guatemala is calling a lot of shots in Belize, which is the way Bethuel Webster designed it in 1968.

When the UDP was established in September of 1973, Dean Lindo’s People’s Development Movement (PDM) may have served as a kind of bridge between Mr. Goldson’s NIP (Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition) and the new Liberals, who were leaderless. Lindo had been an NIP who challenged Mr. Goldson for leadership in 1969, lost, and left to form the PDM.

Mr. Esquivel defeated Mr. Lindo and Mr. Goldson in a three-way race to become UDP Leader in January of 1983. Even though Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow is Dean Lindo’s nephew, and although PUP leaders were convinced that he was working against Mr. Esquivel’s leadership in the interests of Mr. Lindo, the first UDP Leader who became UDP Chairman in 1983, in my private conversations with Mr. Barrow between 1983 and 1986 say, he always insisted that he preferred Mr. Esquivel to Mr. Lindo. In the present UDP configuration, PDM thinking would perhaps be represented by Housing Minister Michael Finnegan, who is very close to Prime Minister Barrow but remains loyal to Mr. Lindo.

The strangest thing about the present UDP is the now consistently expressed thinking of Foreign Affairs Minister Sedi Elrington. The Elrington family was hardline “No Guatemala” NIP in the 1960s, but Sedi is definitely not now representing the views of the late Mr. Goldson. It should be noted that in the 2016 UDP it is only Mr. Sedi whose history can be traced back to the NIP Sixties. All the rest, such as Patrick Faber and Boots Martinez, are new kids on the block.

And, where our national ethnic and color landscape is involved, one difference between 1956 and 2016 is that now we have a Maya presence. Now, we have Garinagu instead of Caribs. We have a significant, landed white American element. Now the Mennonites are large. And now, the Creoles have dwindled to a precious few. The one constant is that we are as divided as we ever were. I’m just saying.

#519660 - 12/10/16 03:11 AM Re: National ethnic and color landscape [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 184
katzgar Offline
katzgar  Offline
The first time I was in Belize was 2008. There was a very old elderly black gentlemen sitting on the bench outside the exit of the airport with an Obama cap on. That spoke volumes about the race divide in Belize.

#519690 - 12/10/16 01:05 PM Re: National ethnic and color landscape [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 5,947
Diane Campbell Offline
Diane Campbell  Offline
Dude, it was a hat. A hat. So much more going on here. So much more.

#519699 - 12/11/16 01:15 AM Re: National ethnic and color landscape [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 184
katzgar Offline
katzgar  Offline
Dudette, it was a symbol which you dont get.

#519715 - 12/12/16 12:26 AM Re: National ethnic and color landscape [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,434
Katie Valk Offline
Katie Valk  Offline
The "racial divide" is not on our top 20 issues requiring attention.

Belize based travel specialist
#519721 - 12/12/16 02:04 AM Re: National ethnic and color landscape [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 12,198
elbert Offline
elbert  Offline
I don't think Belize has racial problems, just the opposite. It seem to be one of the few countries where tolerance and acceptance are the rule. The Amandela is usually radically opinionated. Garbage Journalism.

The Dive Shops Daily Blog
#519723 - 12/12/16 02:38 AM Re: National ethnic and color landscape [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 5,947
Diane Campbell Offline
Diane Campbell  Offline
Agree with Elbert.

#519730 - 12/12/16 01:57 PM Re: National ethnic and color landscape [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 184
katzgar Offline
katzgar  Offline
this report is incorrect?


#519748 - 12/13/16 02:33 AM Re: National ethnic and color landscape [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 12,198
elbert Offline
elbert  Offline
Did you mean the trust360report??
I agree it seems almost stupid. As I read it the 'racism' is not recognizing the indigenous peoples right to the land??
The article seems to only refer to historical racism, not present day.

The Dive Shops Daily Blog
#519750 - 12/13/16 04:06 AM Re: National ethnic and color landscape [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 184
katzgar Offline
katzgar  Offline
you continue the british tradition

Page 1 of 2 1 2

Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!
Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!

Things to do

Daily News
Daily Weather

Classified Ads
San Pedro Sun
Ambergris Today
SP Town Council
Channel 7
Channel 5
Love FM
The Reporter
TV Newscasts
Radio Stations

Click for our
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites

Event Guides
Event Calendar
Specials & Events
Things to Do
iTravel Belize
Paradise Theater
Paradise Guy Event Calendar

San Pedro Scoop!
Tia Chocolate
My Beautiful Belize
I-Travel Belize
Belize Adventure
Belize Hub
Romantic Travel
Bound for Belize
Conch Creative
As The Coconuts Drop
More Blogs...
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Lil Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31
Cayo Espanto
Click for Cayo Espanto, and have your own private island
More Links
Click for exciting and adventurous tours of Belize with Katie Valk!
Mini Chat
Who's Online Now
1 registered members (1 invisible), 275 guests, and 7 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Statistics
Most Online1,262
Jun 10th, 2007 HELP! Visitor Center Goods & Services San Pedro Town Message Board Lodging Diving Fishing Things to Do History Maps Phonebook Belize Business Directory Picture of the Day

The opinions and views expressed on this board are the subjective opinions of Ambergris Caye Message Board members
and not of the Ambergris Caye Message Board its affiliates, or its employees.

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0