The lyrics for Land of the Gods were written 78 years ago in the late 1930’s by Samuel A. Haynes and set to music by Dr. Selwyn Walford Young, both now deceased. Both gentlemen were alive when Premier George Price arbitrarily decided to use their work as the national anthem of Belize. Both Haynes and Young were annoyed with the change and usage of their art without consultation or without permission from the author or composer. They have expressed their sentiments to me during conversations and also in correspondence from them.
During the years when Samuel Haynes was growing up in Belize there were five major Maya cities and 32 smaller communities between the Sarstoon and the Rio Hondo. Therefore it should be to no one’s surprise that he should write about “The Land of The Gods”: the Mayas had many gods.
The God of the Yucatec Maya of Northern Belize and Yucatan is Kinich Ahau, the God of the Sun, and the God of the Kechi (or Quiche) of southern Belize and the Peten is Huracan, the God of Storms, now called “hurricane”. Throughout the past centuries what is now Belize had the most hurricanes in all of Central America, and using the science of geology we can tell the appropriate dates of the most disastrous ones, e.g. 250 BC Gales Point Manatee was formed by that one or in 1465, Northern and Southern Lagoons in the middle of the country were also formed. Why is it that in the year 2017 the God of our Quiche ancestors is so mad? Is it because of global warming by humans which is causing climate change and environmental damage?
From The Publisher of the Amandala of September 8, 2017 – page 13
Samuel Haynes was a gifted writer: “Land of the Gods” is evidence of this. When the song officially became the national anthem of independence in 1981, the authorities changed it to “Land of the Free” because, they argued, Belize was a Christian nation which believed in only one God, and reference to “Gods” was blasphemous or whatever. Haynes was already dead, but I’m sure he would have resented this violation of his art on such trivial grounds. And I would have agreed with him.
In fact, I think both he and Dr. Young disagreed with Price’s arbitrary choice of their song, without their having even being consulted.
S. Walford Young
6031 So Eberhart Avenue
Chicago 37, Illinois
September 18, 1972
Hi Compton, continuing my recent letter, I want you to say “hi” to the members of the Freedom Committee.
Today I am questioning the possibilities of British Honduran and of British Honduras.
First, who gave the PUP the authority to change the name of British Honduran to Belizean? And the blue and white flag (similar to that of Guatemala)? Sam and I gave the song “Land of the Gods” to the people of British Honduras when they will have achieved independence.
What is the status of the UBAD? I hear a great deal but nothing tangible – they are very militant – but, who is their leader or leaders. It takes brain to fight brain. What is their philosophy – their policy? Thanks again for your kindness and understanding.
Mr. Price and the PUP have perpetuated a political fraud upon the people. He claims that he and his party have a mandate to do as they please – the PUP manifesto. A manifesto, known in democratic countries as a political party’s platform, is just another paper document. It has no validity unless the objectives therein are converted into legislation approved by a majority of the electorate.
The PUP has the support of only 60 percent of the electorate, but it treats the Opposition with scorn and contempt.
I and Dr. S. Walford Young held a 50 year Canadian copyright for “Land of The Gods.” Mr. Price and his legal advisors say it is within the public domain because it was not registered in British Honduras. We shall let international law decide in court when Independence comes.
Samuel A. Haynes, Sr.