Editorial — 16 May 2018
From here to April 10, 2019

“The responses of Guatemalans to the article, ‘Climate change activists should strongly resist Guatemala’s unfounded claim,’ which was published in last week’s edition of THE REPORTER and shared on social media, expose the condescending and racist thinking still held by some of those who live right next to us.”

“It should be clearly understood that the rhetoric spewed by certain Guatemalans is not just against Blacks as a race, and Creoles in particular, who they often call ‘sons of whores’ on social media; but against Belize as a nation and our right to self-determination, sovereignty and territorial integrity. These are deep-seated attitudes and notions that underpin irrational dogmas, fueling propaganda that slaves or descendants of slaves have no land rights here, and that Belize should not even be acknowledged as a country because, they contend, it is a department of theirs.

“Belizeans are fooling themselves when they claim that all Guatemala wants is the southern half of the country. Do get the sense that if they can have their way, they would take everything – from the Hondo to the Sarstoon.”

– from a page 3 article by Adele Ramos in THE REPORTER of Sunday, May 13, 2018, entitled “Guatemalan social media rhetoric against Belize condescending and racist.”   

We listened to an interesting conversation last Friday morning on PLUS TV between a Belizean lady Ph.D. who is an intense proponent of our going to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for arbitration on the Guatemalan claim, and the host of the show, Pastor Louis Wade, who is also highly educated but is a strong opponent of ICJ arbitration.

Pastor Wade is a man with some strange beliefs. For example, he believes that the abandoned planes being found in Belize are directly related to Belize’s decriminalization of 10 grams of marijuana where individual possession is concerned. But, Pastor Wade is a pleasant man whom we have never heard lose his temper.

The lady Ph.D. is an impatient individual who can’t see why any Belizean would not want to go to the ICJ “to get the Guatemalan monkey off our backs.” She is 100 percent positive that the ICJ will rule in Belize’s favor. Pastor Wade’s position is that Belize is simply risking too much – half of our territory – in the hope of a favorable ruling.

The likelihood is that Pastor Wade is hostile to gambling, but his thinking is a bit like a gambler’s. Most Belizeans are not educated as far as the tertiary level, and most Belizeans are gamblers, if only on boledo and Sunday lottery. There are gamblers who depend on mental agility and nerves to enhance their chances of winning. Mental agility and nerves play no role in boledo and Sunday lottery, which is strictly about luck. The keen gambler, or a professional gambler, would look at the upcoming ICJ referendum and he would likely say that we are risking an awful lot in return for a possibly favorable ruling.

Our lady Ph.D. is not concerned about how much we are risking, because she is absolutely certain an ICJ ruling would be favorable to us. This is a brilliant lady, and she cites as prototypes of the type of ICJ ruling she expects on the Guatemala/Belize differendum, the Libya-Chad and Cameroon-Nigeria cases.

Listening to the exchange between the lady Ph.D. and Pastor Wade, it occurred to us that if the good pastor were of a volatile temperament, the exchange could have become angry. Now, on Friday morning, to repeat, the exchange on the ICJ referendum was between a lady Ph.D. and a religious pastor. But the vast majority of exchanges leading up to April 10, 2018, will not be taking place between highly educated and religious Belizeans. The vast majority of exchanges will feature Belizeans who will be more likely to explode than Friday morning’s discussants.

In the 1950s and 1960s in colonial British Honduras, political differences were passionate. People’s United Party (PUP) supporters could not see why uppity Creoles so loved the British. Anti-PUP Creoles considered PUP supporters to be low-class, vulgar, and inferior. There was a real class difference between the PUP and the Opposition back then. That has changed a lot over the years.

The Guatemalans who voted to go to the ICJ last month consider Belizeans to be a mongrel and bastard people, as Adele Ramos pointed out in her Reporter column last weekend. We hope Adele was not surprised by the social media comments of some Guatemalans responding to her column of the previous weekend. This is who the Guatemalans are, as we’ve been telling you for decades. They were intimate allies of South Africa during the apartheid years, and now they are the closest of friends with the modern Israelis, who have to be considered racist and imperialist where their attitude towards the Palestinians is concerned.

And that brings us back to Pastor Wade, who is heavily pro-Israeli, because of his religious beliefs. If you love the same people that your enemy loves, then that is a situation you have to examine more closely. In the streets, most people figure you should love who loves you.

The Government of Belize, if our political leaders are sincere about properly informing Belizeans about the issues having to do with the ICJ referendum, the options we Belizeans have, and so on and so forth, simply have to move the debate to a town hall-type setting, or even a Civic Center–type setting. April 10, 2019 is too big for mere exchanges on radio and television talk shows.

We would have loved to see the great Sandra Coye brace our lady Ph.D., but for sure this would have required a referee. Where the cause of Belize is concerned, Miss Coye would not be as pleasant and polite as Pastor Wade was last Friday.

Power to the people.

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Deshawn Swasey

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