At Kremandala, we never take the support of the Belizean people for granted. That is because, where classic business theory is concerned, we are not a sustainable proposition. Kremandala is not a sustainable proposition because we are always on the “wrong” side, in business terms, of major issues. We are on the wrong side of the bagasse issue; we are on the wrong side of the Harmonyville/BGYEA issue; we are on the wrong side of the cave tubing issue; we are on the wrong side of the offshore drilling issue; we are on the wrong side of the Sarstoon/Temash issue; we are on the wrong side of the marijuana issue; we are on the wrong side of the Guatemala border issue. Because we are almost always on the wrong side of issues, we take positions and make decisions which are not “sensible” business positions and decisions.
So then, the content of the material Zinc Fence delivers to the Belizean people is not a content designed to solicit support from the wealthy sectors of Belizean society. The Kremandala content is aimed at informing and educating the masses of the Belizean people so that the people can make sensible decisions, decisions which will benefit the people of Belize over the course of time.
In Belize’s business marketplace, delivery of one’s content to the people requires technology which is not manufactured in Belize. This technology has to be acquired from First World sources, usually the United States. The Belizean marketplace is a strange one, in that our tastes are often at an American standard, even though our income is at the low Belizean level. You cannot compete in Belize if you cannot upgrade your delivery. Consider the example of this newspaper. Amandala was eight years old before we were able to acquire our first offset printing press, in 1977. The press we acquired was already thirty years old: in the American marketplace, it was junk, plain and simple. We’ve been trying to catch up ever since.
Every time you take the “wrong” side of an issue, and your competitors are assuming the right position, your competitors will generate more of the revenues needed to purchase and maintain cutting edge technology. At Kremandala, we cannot compete where the technology of delivery is concerned, so we have to rely on customer loyalty, a loyalty based on the consistency of our content. We can never take the support of the Belizean people for granted.
From the very beginning in 1969, we took the wrong side of a very serious issue. For generations, most of the Belizean people had been emphasizing how European they were, and trying to bury our African and indigenous roots. We, however, said, and very loudly: “Black is beautiful.” In 1969, that was radical, and it was controversial. It was also, nevertheless, a content which the Belizean people, especially young ones, embraced, and so an organization was formed around that content, and that organization established a newspaper, which is this one.
Within six months of that establishment, the power structure attempted to incarcerate the publishers of the newspaper. When that failed, because of the solidarity of people support, the power structure sought to incorporate the parent organization which published the newspaper within its political apparatus of two-party parliamentary democracy.
Thus it was that the parent organization of Amandala split down the middle, basically along party political lines, in 1973. Without its fundamental unity, the organization crashed in 1974.
It is difficult to avoid electoral politics if you are concerned about, and seek to improve, the living conditions of the Belizean people. That is because, improvement of living conditions requires moneys, and electoral politics is where the moneys, the public funds of the Belizean people, are accumulated and located. Political parties elected to national office are given the power to tax the Belizean people in various ways, and they are mandated to use the moneys so generated for the welfare and upliftment of the Belizean people. Quite needless to say, between the mandate and its execution, often there are stumbling blocks.
Between 1974 and 1977, it was made clear to the former leader of this newspaper’s parent organization that he was not political material. Religion was not an option. He decided that the best way he could contribute to the Belizean people was by creating jobs on the depressed Southside. Thus, Partridge Street entered the world of business, but “burdened” with a content derived from the parent organization which was not business-friendly, so to speak.
The technology of our delivery has always been a problem, but the consistency of our content has earned loyal, continuing support from the Belizean people. A new generation of managers has taken over the Kremandala businesses, a new generation which has no personal experience of the parent organization’s processes. There are times when a young Zinc Fence manager is confronted with the problems which arise from having to take positions which are not business-friendly. This is really Kremandala’s core dilemma: how do you compete in business while defending the essence and purity of your content? Let’s provide you with a quick example. For three decades now, Partridge Street has refused advertising for tobacco products. There is a lot of money to be made from tobacco advertising, so the Kremandala position is not a sensible one in business terms.
Here is where the Belizean people enter the picture. The support of the Belizean people levels the playing field for us, and allows us to function and compete with those who are making the “correct” business decisions. We prize the continuity of our content. The original content in 1969 was radical and controversial: it no longer is. Truth crushed to earth has arisen.
All over planet earth today, there is a struggle going on. The struggle involves giant financial corporations, along with their countries of origin, aligned against the masses of the people in countries which possess bountiful natural resources, as is the case with Belize. It is our elected political leaders who are supposed to defend our Belizean interests, but the temptations are great for our elected politicians to place their personal interests ahead of the interests of the Belizean people.
At Kremandala, our job is to provide as much accurate information for the Belizean people as we can. Strictly speaking, we are a business, but our foundation is power to the people. Amandla. Ngawethu. All God’s blessings upon you and yours for 2014. Adelante.