Publisher — 18 June 2009 — by Evan X Hyde
Sixteen years ago, following the PUP’s defeat in the June 1993 general elections, PUP Leader George Price sent his two Deputy Leaders, Said Musa and Florencio Marin, separately, to tell me that the party would support my candidacy for the Lake Independence constituency.
The key thing to understand is that something similar to this had happened in 1977, sixteen years before 1993. The PUP leadership then had convinced itself that I should be a part of their December 1977 Belize City Council ticket. But I had retired from electoral politics following the October 1974 general elections.
My purpose in running for the Collet seat in the general elections of 1974 was to close the book on UBAD. (In 1974, the Collet division included much of what is now Lake Independence, Collet and Queen’s Square. The PUP’s Harry Courtenay defeated the UDP’s Kenneth Tillett in that election.) The UBAD organization had been split in half in the early part of 1973, and by 1974 it was clear that UBAD had no future. My Collet candidacy was a symbolic gesture intended to convince those who had been our most faithful supporters, that it was time to move on, to go somewhere else.
UBAD had begun as a cultural movement in February of 1969, and had become wildly popular during the summer of that year. The PUP, following their 17-1 devastation of the NIPDM in the December 1969 general elections, decided to wipe out UBAD in February of 1970. They charged UBAD president Evan X Hyde and secretary/treasurer Ismail Shabazz with seditious conspiracy, which is a political crime. But UBAD was not a political organization in February of 1970.
After Shabazz and myself were acquitted in July of 1970, I felt that UBAD had to go political in order to mobilize ourselves for similar arrests in the future. Shabazz disagreed, and it turned out that he was right. UBAD could not survive politically, because we had criticized the Christian churches here insofar as the educational curriculum in their schools was concerned. UBAD wanted African and Mayan history to be taught to the children of Belize.
When the European invaders first came to Africa and America, it was their soldiers who conquered our ancestors. In some cases, such as that of Francisco Pizarro in Peru in 1532, priests actually accompanied the invaders, in effect blessing their crimes. But overall, the missionaries came after the soldiers had done their job, and the missionaries then set up schools to teach our children how, I suppose, to become like the European conquerors.
So this is what you must understand. The school system in Belize is the smiling face of white supremacy. Were you to attack that school system in a serious way, then you would have to challenge the physical power of white supremacy. In the days of the conquistadores then, to repeat, the soldiers came first, and afterwards the missionaries. Today, if you aggressively interfered with the missionaries, then you would “feel” the soldiers.
UBAD had publicly criticized the foreign missionaries in 1969 and 1970. When UBAD became a political party in August of 1970, UBAD then put itself at the mercy of those same missionaries, because the churches control an overwhelming amount of Belizean votes. After all, everybody wants to go to heaven.
The results of the December 1977 CitCo elections, in which I participated under duress and finished dead last, convinced me that my 1974 retirement decision had been a correct one. So that when Mr. Price sent his Deputy Leaders in 1993, I “bewared” of Greeks bearing gifts. Personally, I am traumatized enough by 1974 and 1977 to believe that I cannot win any kind of political campaign in Belize, because of those aforementioned missionaries whom I had dared to criticize.
The subject of my time in electoral politics came up this week because a Belizean wrote me from the States to say that he knew that I really wanted to get into politics again, and he even went so far as to speculate on where I would run. Perish the thought. It will not happen.
In fact, looking back at that specific PUP proposal of 1993, I really don’t know if they were all that serious. Politically, I am damaged goods. I am damaged goods because I criticized those who teach your children, and I criticized what they teach them. This is a mortal sin. What makes it worse, is that I have never recanted. I continue to criticize, and therefore more and more mortal sins have been piling up on my eternal soul.
All power to the people.