Letters — 24 February 2018
Chant down Babylon!

Dear Editor,

The late Mrs. Emogene Hyde of Cayo and her family generously opened their doors for us whenever my grandmother needed to receive an international phone call. Back in the 1970´s, having a telephone in your home was second to owning a little pot of gold. And so we were grateful then, as we are today.

I also recall that the Chebat family of Burns Avenue extended credit to us for household goods from their business establishment. They did so without reservation or complaint. The bills were settled when a hard-earned cheque arrived from my parents working in the USA.

A few houses up the road that has now become Joseph Andrews Drive, there was the Warrior home. It seems to me that agricultural activity was always happening at the Warriors. And the gang of children living there would always bring over some kind of vegetable or fruit or livestock to share with us. Same with other neighbors.

When my parents returned from work and they opened their small business, it was time to return the generosity we had received so many years before. They contributed back to the community what they could from the business proceeds.

Eventually a younger generation of Cayo people moved to the States, Canada, England and elsewhere and they too have contributed back to our community. Their assistance has come through direct funds or by assisting a neighbor or friend who needs to travel on medical emergency or study or other.

This is how we grew our Cayo community for many years. But it is not a unique story. Many other people of that  time can tell of how we built these Belizean towns and cities by extending a helping hand to each other, sharing an agricultural bounty, extending credit to trustworthy customers and working alongside our international friends as equal partners.

It seems to me that since 2008, a mean-spirited and rabid behavior has swept over some quarters of Belize. Once humble people have turned themselves into voracious dogs. Whenever I look into their eyes all I see is ¨Me! Me! Me! More! More! More!¨ with the snarl you would expect from an evil animal at feeding time. There is no happiness. Only the desire to consume more and more and more and brag to the rest of us of how successful they have become. What a shame that little Belize has come to this.

What a shame that honest teachers have had to stand up and challenge authority and demand that corrupt officials bring their activities to an end. What a shame that PhD´s and so-called ¨highly educated people¨ cheer and clap while despots pontificate. What a shame that in this land of opportunity the vast amount of our children can only hope for temporary employment. What a shame that we are being cow-towed by Guatemala when all our friends of the United Nations had told us we had won the fight to live in a free Belize in 1981.

Together, as Maya, Creole, Garinagu, persons of Mexican heritage and descendants of East Indian we need to start a  march through each village, town and city of Belize to turn things around. We need to march with our honest teachers against corruption. March with our women against abuse. March together to re-build communities where neighbors help each other and share the fruits of our land. March with our international friends who want to develop our country as equal partners. March for shared prosperity. March together to put Guatemala in its place. March, march, march until together with one voice we Chant Down This Babylon!!!

Emil Rodriguez
San Ignacio

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