Features — 09 December 2017 — by Colin Hyde

I went to bed on Tuesday with the mind to lend whatever feather or feathers I have on my pen, to the 13th senator and the Alternative Vote. Yes, I read the Belizean Stanislaus’ call again for Belize to institute the elected senate.

The PUP endorsed the elected senate in 2008, and had it placed on the ballot. That same year the UDP endorsed a senate featuring the 13th senator, but that did not appear on the ballot.

The vote for the elected senate in 2008 wasn’t a straight read. For some, it was an election gimmick from a party that had long run its course. If the PUP had done the honourable thing, dissolved House in 2006 or 2007, when it was clear as day that the people had had enough of their rule, people might have looked at their manifesto, and their proposal that we shift to an elected senate. I am saying that in 2008 it was hard for Belizeans to look at anything coming from the blue camp.

The Wikipedia says that 116,194 valid votes were cast in the February 7, 2008 general elections. Consejo.bz/events reported in its story, Referendum On An Elected Senate, that…38.5% of voters who went to the polls on Thursday, February 7, said they want an elected senate, as many as 37.4% abstained – meaning that they declined to take a ballot paper to participate in the referendum. There were 29,793 “NO” responses, and 45,057 “YES” responses.

Official Elections and Boundaries information indicates that as many as 43,730 voters who went to the poll on election day did not vote in the referendum. Some of those we interviewed cited three main reasons for not voting – either that they did not understand the issue at all, that they were going along with the United Democratic Party formula for the Senate, “NO,” or that they wanted to vote “YES,” but were unsure of exactly what they were voting for.

The UDP won the election and we all know what happened to the promise of a 13th senator. It is painful to recall. Just this tidbit … PM Barrow, realizing that governing would be more difficult with a senate that featured a 13th senator, ignored his party’s election promise. It clearly didn’t matter that our democracy would have been healthier, much.

Returning to my pre-snooze, in the back of my mind was a statement made on the government’s Radio Wave, sometime between 9 and 9:30 Tuesday morning, by Mr. Fonso. He said, Honour does not put food on the table. Hmm, I bet that one’s close friends ALWAYS call him, “Fonso”, and they NEVER call him, “Noble”. He’s no Samurai.

Of course he is right when he says that honour does not put food on the table. But he was remiss, way remiss, to treat this essential virtue so trivially.

Allow me. There is honour before men and there is honour before God. When Jesus spoke to the devil, He said: Your father is a liar. A man who lies, cheats, and steals, fails before men and before God. By omission or by commission, all come short of the Glory. When we do, we are to put on sackcloth.

There is a reason why members of the Parliament are referred to as, Honourable. It is because we EXPECT them to strive, always, to be so. It occurred to me this morning, Wednesday, after ruminating on the matter last night that, maybe, quite likely, HONOUR is a difficult standard for people with a colonial past.

The Belizean people do not demand sainthood. But we can, must, insist on HONOUR. The Alternative Vote (AV) won’t give us that. That’s why I relinquish this system. I had, in a previous incarnation, supported the AV, with a stabilizing stipulation. AV would have allowed for dynamic candidates who don’t follow strict party codes to get a real chance at the polls in our two-party system. In the variant AV system, there would have been more than two parties represented in the House, just like proportional representation (PR), even the possibility of a super talented independent candidate getting in. But, as is in our present system, the party that got the most seats would form the government and there would be no crossing of the floor.

I “relinquish” the 13th senator too, because it doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell in a world where honour is a trivial thing. It really didn’t seem that hard for a government to do the right thing, and hope for the people to favour them when elections rolled around again. Good works, and faith, are sufficient for heaven, but it appears that on earth we have to manipulate, sometimes downright cheat, to be rewarded. I really must look more deeply into the case made by people who say that the devil is in charge of the planet we live on.

It is with a deep sigh that I CAPITULATE, yield to the proponents of the elected senate. It is particularly difficult to yield to the Americans. I love baseball, burgers, pecans, smooth jazz, and Chevy S-10, but I don’t falafut that crowd. Ouch, those bohgaz have a better system for people with a colonial past. Whatever feather or feathers there may be on my pen, they’re all yours now, Belizean Stanislaus. Oh, I have a few questions about your BTL take, but, another time.

Still, it could be one for the ages

A lot of potential boxing fans in Belize, more women than men, got turned off when Pacquiao fought Mayweather. This was not the kind of fight to promote to non-aficionados. People who are core boxing knew that Floyd would dance his way to victory. We knew that Floyd could stand toe-to-toe with Pacquiao, but he wouldn’t, because Floyd has suspect hands. He hurts himself more than he hurts his opponents, when he hits them hard. Most boys are classic Tom Sawyer when they meet for the first time … who can lick who. Some guys really love to fight. Boxing was once very popular here. Point blank, I’ll tell you I would have knocked out a hell of a lot of people. But I wasn’t sure of my chin. No, I wasn’t sure of my jawbone, so I didn’t go near the ring. I tested myself at power games “rassling,” never the gloves.

Boxing can be big in Belize again. Belizeans can fight out there. Belizeans have fought out there. I don’t have my copy of “Sports, Sin, and Subversion” with me, for reference, but the list, led by Ludwig Lightburn, is long.

My late uncle, Jim Hyde, used to manage David Dakers, Belize’s great hope in the 1970’s. He said that Dakers had real talent, and he sincerely believed he could guide him to become the middleweight champion of the world. But Dakers ran into a guy named Carlos Marks and it was over.

My uncle said he was fervently against Dakers fighting Carlos Marks, when he did. When Dakers fought Marks, he had only 3 professional fights under his belt. Marks, from Trinidad, had 47 fights, and some of them were world recognized – Emile Griffith (he was an old man when Marks fought him), Bennie Brisoce, Tony Mundine, and others.

A Jamaican fighter, Lionel “Tough Skin” Cameron, had knocked out Hurricane Bowser (1972), and Rodolfo Martinez (1973), in Belize City. When Cameron fought Dakers in 1973, it was huge. Dakers was the king of Belize when Cameron went down, and out, on the canvas at Big Bird’s Isle. And some people got too excited.

Hey, the other people in Dakers’ camp might have another version of the Marks story. I told you what my uncle told me. Everyone who knows some boxing knows that Belize’s David Dakers was never the same after facing Marks.

Most boxing aficionados will be tuning in to watch Cuba’s 37-year-old Guillermo Rigondeaux vs Ukraine’s 29-year-old Vasyl Lomachenko on Saturday night (ESPN, I think). It could turn out to be one of the greatest fights ever. I don’t want to watch it, because … see, I agree with Rigondeaux’s former manager, Gary Hyde, that he is making a big mistake. I agree with everything Hyde says in this story that appears on boxingnewsonline.net. Here’s some of the things Hyde said:

If I was still ‘Rigo’s manager, this wouldn’t be happening…He can give Lomachenko problems, but he’s giving away too much…Rigo’ is giving away weight and years to a fighter who’s very, very special – and much bigger as well…Rigo’ can get down to 118lbs and all the time I managed him, I never knew him go above 128lbs…If Lomachenko was being sporting, he would say: ‘Let’s meet at 126lbs…Rigo’ has beaten so many Bob Arum fighters – and I think he wants his scalp….I remember Bob Arum telling me: ‘Nobody will ever beat ‘Rigo’ – and now he’s found someone who has a chance – but he’s two weight divisions bigger…If, God forbid, Lomachenko beats ‘Rigo’ easily, people will be saying it’s because he was too big and that’s why I’m saying the fight shouldn’t happen…If Lomachenko is that good, why doesn’t he jump to fight Terence Crawford? Because he’s too big, that’s why, and that’s why ‘Rigo’ shouldn’t jump up to fight Lomachenko.

I’ll close off with this last paragraph from this piece by Steve Bunce in independent.co.uk. They each are capable of perfection inside the ring, comfortable with taking risks measured by millimetres and the only real edge is Lomachenko’s natural size; Rigondeaux will have to be the fighter we have seldom seen, an aggressive, risk-taker and if that transformation happens – we have seen brutal glimpses of it – he can win one of the purest boxing matches ever staged and it will be an event because quite simply there has never been a fight like it.

There’s a big football match in Belize on Saturday night. After that game is over, everyone who knows boxing will be talking fight. Yes, I’m riding with Rigondeaux.

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