Highlights — 17 February 2018 — by Rowland A. Parks
No one can eat “fancy buildings and cement streets!” — Hon. Cordel Hyde

“Dem di build wan building weh cost 4.7 million dollars, but right behind da building deh, hundreds a people di live pan London Bridge, hundreds a people nuh have access to light and water, hundreds a people have to live pan swamp all year round.”

“Dem send fu dem pickney da law school with $250,000 scholarship, and you can’t pay $500 fu send fu you pickney da high school. Something wrong with da picture deh.”

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Feb. 15, 2018– On Sunday, February 11, at the People’s United Party (PUP) National Convention at the ITVET campus, Belizeans were privy to a careful analysis of the distorted, ironic conditions created by the Barrow/Faber-led ruling United Democratic Party. The speech of the PUP National Deputy Leader, Hon. Cordel Hyde, resonated with the PUP’s grassroots message which it had championed in its early years, and it was a message with which many Belizeans who are trying to deal with today’s Belizean reality, can identify.

The master of ceremonies in his introduction of Hon. Hyde, remarked, “This man has taken his time in putting together a slate for Belize City. This man no lose wan elections yet… This man very humble in leading the charge in Belize City. Let’s welcome Cordel Hyde.”

With his trademark smile, Cordel walked to the podium and began by telling the massive crowd, numbering around 15,000, according to estimates by the Police Special Branch, “I know unno deh ya all day, maybe I shouldn’t talk, but I just wan seh wan few serious things to unno.”

After saying that the turnout was “an impressive showing”, he remarked, “I know some people di kinda di quake inna dem boots. I know some people kinda nervous about this showing today, but we’ve been losing for too long. And whey happen today, is that unno seh da time fu we start win. Da time fu we get back to wi winning ways. Da time fu the People’s United Party.”

Hyde explained that the turnout made him feel good: “The power of the people is greater than the people in power. And weh unno show today is a testament to that fact, a testament to people’s power. Unno mek I feel good. I hope and pray that unno understand the power weh the people have. Da time fu unno stop accept the $50 and the $100 when election time come round, and start overs the power of fu dem vote, and start understand the power of their vote for themselves and their children and grandchildren, an start see the bigger picture. Now I know ih no easy fu look past the next meal, fu look past the next $50 the next $100, when life hard fu you,” he said.

Hyde said he knows that the UDP has done a good job “to pull the wool over unno eyes and show unno all kinda cement streets, and roundabouts and all dem kinda a things deh. Dem wan fake unno with that, while the ministers and fu dem children and family and friends deh laugh all the way to the bank. So weh dem do pan Election day, dem give di people dem $50, and they take home all the millions. If unno nuh believe me, check the Barrow family, check the Boots family; if unno no believe me, check the Finnegan family story and the Elrington family story, and unno could talk bout John Saldivar and Rene Montero and Pablo Marin and all a dem people and we could go on and on. Lots ah those stories are rags to riches. So pan Election day, the people dem get wan lee slighters, and after that the ministers and fu dem family carry home the millions.”

“And we have to change that,” Hyde declared. “I wan tell unno wan lee story, because I think it’s important fu unno understand the priority of this government. You know, I mi di campaign inna mi area wan few days ago, inna the famous Gungulung area [a crowd at the front of the stage roared with laughter] — Gungulung inna the house, Lake I inna the house, Belize City inna the house,” Hyde said.

Hyde added, “This important fu unno understand. Pan Lake I Boulevard, dem people di build wan building weh cost 4.7 million dollars, but right behind da building deh, hundreds a people di live pan London Bridge, hundreds a people nuh have access to light and water, hundreds ah people have to live pan swamp all year round. Dem spend 4.7 million dollars pan wah building, but inna 2018, fu we people no gat the basic necessities. Dem spend 8 million dollars pan Fabers Road and inna this country right now, you gat people weh dem pickney di go da bed hungry. People can’t send dem pickney da school, people can’t pay dem rent. People di suffer out yah.”

Hyde explained that the UDP will point to “fancy buildings and some cement street” that they’ve constructed.  “But nobody can’t eat den deh,” he said.

“We have to see the bigger picture. When the government spend 4.7 million on one building and right behind that building people di suffer, when they spend 33 million dollars on a Civic Center, when people can’t send dem pickney to school, when dem di spend 8 million dollars on Fabers Road and people di go da bed hungry, that is a government whey have their priorities messed up. Da like if you da wan mother or father weh wan spend money pan fancy gold chains and fancy cars and no feed you pickney, or send yu pickney da school, something wrong with da picture deh,” Hyde remarked.

Hyde said that the truth of the matter is that this is a rich country. “People no fu di live poor in a dis country. This da wan rich country, we got the richest forest, we got the most fertile earth, you spit pan the ground and thing grow. We got the longest living barrier reef in the western hemisphere. We own BEL, we own BTL, we got oil, and yet fu we people dem di suffer inna dis country. Something wrong with da picture deh. The people di suffer, but the ministers and fu dem family di live high off a di hog. The ministers and fu dem families di get the best of everything. Dem send fu dem pickney da law school with $250,000 scholarship, and you can’t pay $500 fu send fu you pickney da high school. Something wrong wid da picture deh. Weh mek fu dem pickney more important than fu unno pickney? The Bible seh that all a wi created equal inna the image ah God. So it means that everybody should have access to the same things,” said Hyde.

He went on to say, “There is a reason why dem bally just focus pan buildings, and focus pan streets an focus pan roundabouts, instead a focus pan people, because this da how dem hustle. They get kickbacks off a dem contracts. That’s why just a handful ah contractors get all the contracts, Imer Hernandez, him get contract after contract, and he is one a di lousiest contractors ina the history of this country. The Arguelles brothers, them get so much contracts, dem can’t stop eat. Dem build Battlefield Park, dem build BTL Park, dem build Memorial Park inna Belize City, dem build Falcon Field inna San Ignacio, dem build football stadium dah San Pedro, dem build sports complex da PG, and dem get the mother of all contracts, the 33 million dollars contract fu build the Civic Center.”

Hyde said, “We have to look out for one another, we have to love one another, we can’t fight one another, we have to love one another.”

“We have to see the bigger picture. We have to understand di value a fu wi votes. When dem bally spend 8 million dollars on Fabers Road, that could a mi build 400 houses at $20,000 each. Four hundred families could a mi di benefit right now, but dem tek the money earmarked fu housing an carry it da Fabers Road fu pave one mile a road.  Nowhere inna the world paving one mile ah road cost 8 million dollars,” noted Hyde.

Hyde said that the challenge for the PUP is to convince the people “that we better. That we up to the challenge, that we di return to we social justice roots, that we da George Price PUP, weh the ordinary man and woman matter, weh paat the small people could get a piece of land and the small people could get a house and the small people could send dem pickney da school and the small people could find a job. We shouldn’t di suffer like this inna this country, and da Belize City, we worse shouldn’t di suffer. We have da Belize City, all the powerful ministers, the Prime Minister.”

Someone passed a bottle of water to him, and Hyde responded, “a wan talk longer now.”

“This government squander 400 million dollars of Petrocaribe funds. This government squander 600 million dollars weh dem collect from BNE, this government borrow hundreds of millions of dollars from friendly countries and foreign banks. This government collect billions inna taxes from the people of Belize over the last ten years, and yet still yu have more people living inna poverty than ever before, yet still you have more people living inna broken down houses than ever before, yet still you have people di look fu work and can’t find work, yet still you have more pickney di drop out a school than ever before. Something wrong with da picture deh. We should not be living like that in this country. And then dem wan teck yu fu pappishow when you question dem, dem da God, dem lord over we. Well weh we di seh today, is that change is coming, because we get tired a that. Yu si this election yah, this election da fu the people. Da the people turn fu eat. We sick an tired a the same people di get rich. Something wrong with that picture deh,” Hyde lamented.

“You see inna Belize City, we got the Prime Minister, we got the Minister of Education, we got the Foreign Minister and the Minister of Trade and Investment, and yet still this da di part of the country weh have the most poverty, yet still we have the most murders inna all the country. Something wrong with that picture deh. And dem balli ya di control the southside a Belize City fi the last 40 years, and yet still people di live as bad as dem di live. Da time fu we demand more from wi politicians. Da time fu me mek the people dem get weh dem fu get. Da time fu when we win, di people win. When the People’s United Party win, the people a Belize win,” declared Hyde.

“Listen to me, we have to return to the George Price PUP weh no foreign investor di lord over we. You think Michael Ashcroft could a mi use George Price like this, the way how him use and abuse Dean Barrow? The Father of the Nation would a never play da game. But it is a lesson for us as Belizeans, because there is a contradiction with this devotion to foreign direct investment. The same people dem weh enslave we, weh colonize we, weh rape and abuse we, we expect fu come liberate wi? Ih no wan happen. We have to do it fu we self, Belize. We have to do it fu we self, we have to look inward and figure out how we could mek we self better. How we could become an adult, as a nation after 36 years as a dependent child,” said Hyde.

Hyde explained that a lot of that will fall on the shoulders of the PUP’s leader, who will be the next Prime Minister. “Fu we party leader never lose wan election. He win 6 general elections. He even run two times fu town council and win and he win two leadership convention. Orange Walk Central, a know unno deh wid da man. Da man deh da di man weh wan carry wi to the promised land. Da mi fren. Ah wan tell unno inna public weh a tell am inna private. When we win, God willing, it can’t be business as usual. When we win the people have to win. When we win it have to be George Price PUP.  It have to be wan new Belize, weh paat ordinary people get weh dem fu get. We have to stop corruption and nepotism, we better than this. Who fu go da jail, gwine da jail,” Hyde declared.

“All dem things whe dem balli di teck from the people a Belize, we want dem back. Listen to me, this Belize City have 10,500 acres of land. Gapi Vega and fu him family, dem own 1,600 acres of land inna one village da Carmelita, and yu no di talk bout the thousands of acres weh dem own da Mountain Pine Ridge and Gales Point Manatee and all the cayes dem, you no di talk bout den-deh. Gapi Vega and his family alone own half of Belize City, when you add up all a fu dem thousands of acres. Land da wan finite thing. All the lands weh dem tek, that means that is less lands fu the people a Belize get. So fu wi government have to get back dem land fu the people a Belize, because all weh unno di ask for da wan lee 50×75, and unno can’t get that, and one family wan get thousands of acres, something wrong with that,” said Hyde.

Hyde said that his job in the PUP is to make sure that he takes care of the people. “From way back when, when things start to go wrong in a fu we party, I stand up, and we and fu we people suffer. When PUP win again, you no wan di hear bout no lot a millionaires, you know, you wan hear bout some thousandaires. The people wan start get some thousands, nuh di handful a people di get no millions. The people wan get weh dem fu get. You know the UDPs will come bearing gifts, right. You know dem wan bring da lee hundred dollars. Unno know weh unno supoose to to do, right, tek dem money and vote dem out. Listen to mi, when unno go home, a want unno tek out unno calculator,” he said.
Hyde then explained that if a voter gets $100 for five years, which is 1,825 days, that person is only getting 5 cents per day. “Something wrong with that. Unno deserve much more, Belize. Unno di get 5 cents a day and them di get the millions,” he said.

“We da one people, we da one Belize; we need fu start look out fu each other, we need fu stop fight with each other. Weh Belize need da more love, more brotherhood, more sisterhood. We have to start be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, and what we see today, with all those people weh come from every single district and weh come from every single town, weh it show that we could walk together, we could work together, that is the lesson from today. So each a unno, whether you da Garifuna, or you da Maya or you da Mestizo or you da Creole, whether you come from the hills of Cayo, or from the deep south, we da one people, we da one nation, we serve one God, we got one flag, a love unno Belize, a love unno bad,” said Hyde.

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