Features — 23 June 2018

On Wednesday, the PM said that BTL’s decision to stop advertising in the Amandala had nothing to do with his party’s political ambitions, only to do with marketing. What a breath of fresh air the move wasn’t “political sinister”!

Fortunately this one, it’s just about a product going to market. But bah, the owners are suspect. Discussing the Guardian and the Amandala in the same breath is like an American shoe company choosing JR Smith’s brand over Lebron’s. Really, why would a business in a COMPETITIVE world decide it does not need the support of the people who support the single business in the country that consistently sacrifices financial gain to give the people a sincere view of the world in which we live?

It’s just bad marketing, and at the end of the day, the Amandala, a private business, gets hurt on the bottom line, and BTL, a public company, gets hurt on their bottom line.

Of course, it is beyond naïve to not see the political hand at play here. All the possibilities in the numbers in this calculated play, add up for the UDP party.

What might not have been calculated, “might not have been”, is the massive blow that was struck for base capitalism. This BTL move is a cruel blow, struck for PRIVATIZATION of public assets. As the”PRIVATIZERS”have said, the government will use the publicly owned company to fatten cronies and relatives, and for unfair party political gain.

The end game here is that BTL is led into private hands, possibly, incredibly, a certain “Lord’s”, or it is “scuttled” into the hands of the favored few. Sad.

No QUOTA needed

People (mostly women) argue that they have a unique perspective, a different and important perspective, and for such reason they should hold more leadership positions in the country. Belize has many talented women. There’s a simple formula for those who want leadership. You put your name in the hat when leadership positions are being given out or fought for, and pray that your name is one that is picked.

Ah, women put their names into the hats, but the odds are that their names won’t be chosen. Some people argue that women are at a disadvantage because they don’t get as many opportunities as men do, to lead, so they, naturally, will not have the exposure.

The fact is that females have many chances to practice leadership while they are growing up. For one, the school is an equal opportunity place. Females have every chance to lead there. I’m not aware of classrooms where girls didn’t get votes for class president because they were not boys.

For physical reasons, boys and girls don’t compete much on ball fields. A boy will be the captain of the school’s baseball team, and a girl will be the captain of the school’s softball team. The last I noticed, boys and girls do the same activities to raise funds for their teams. The last I noticed, captains of teams have the same responsibilities.

Clearly, Ms. Guadalupe Lampela wasn’t confined to the kitchen, to cook the fish at cay. My mom wasn’t confined to the kitchen either. My mother knew how to catch fish and dive conchs and paddle dory. But it is basic why girls of old generally tended house and the family garden, and boys of old generally handled the milpa and the fishing and hunting.

Males took positions of leadership in the tribe, because they were the ones who were soldiers in the army. Obviously, the ones who wielded the battle axes and spears, and shot the arrows, got the title. However, there were women who actually became leaders of tribes. But they were always second choice.

One very famous female leader arose on the continent of Africa in the 17th century. The Wikipedia says,  the Angolan queen, Anna Nzinga (c. 1583 – December 17, 1663)…came to power as an ambassador after demonstrating a proclivity to tactfully diffuse foreign crisis, as she regained control of the Portuguese fortress of Ambaca. She assumed the powers of ruling in Ndongo after the suicide of her brother. Nzinga assumed control as regent of his young son, Kaza.

Few women in Belize have made it to top leadership positions in government. They, the few, have not been vocal leaders. They have their achievements. I believe the most famous of them is Madame Gwen Lizarraga. One, Jane Usher, might have stood out, but she gave up her seat to her brother, George, before she got a full chance to shine.

I could be wrong here, I’m no expert, but it appeared to me that the female with the highest ceiling was former Belize City Mayor, Zenaida Moya. She got stopped (or stopped) before reaching the House,and that really hurt the rise of women in politics. The famous Z’s career might not be over. I am writing only as it stands at this moment.

There are other bright lights out there. Lisa Shoman seemed to have all the ingredients. I don’t know that Belmopan was the right place for her to make her stand. I think her first (only) candidacy got lost in her overly aggressive support for the LGBTs too.

Valerie Woods tried to separate herself from Ashcroft, but I heard that Ashcroft’s boys, the duo on the Love FM Monday night show, came out swinging hard for her. If that is true, they were not good friends. Recently, a photograph of a smiling, boyish Obama midst Farrakhan and other Muslim leadership, surfaced. The photo had been put under wraps because Farrakhan didn’t want to hurt Obama’s political career. Some friends are good. Some friends are no friends at all.

Belize City will watch how Ms. Dr. Pitts rebounds after her party denied her run in Port Loyola. As an aside, is the PUP so strong that they can give away a constituency? Mr. Usher’s decision to not face her, and their support of it, as good as dashed that party’s chances in that area in the next election.

I have heard that Dolores Balderamos Garcia is set to make a run again. She mostly confined herself to women’s issues when she was in government. Audrey Matura is a lady all of Belize is watching. So far she has shown no inclination to run.

The UDPeez seem to be set with the women they have in politics. Ms. Dr. Barnett doesn’t seem to be too vocal. The UDP females in the House don’t seem to be about rocking boats either. The word is that what happens in Cabinet stays there, but a leader has to make some ripples. Belize is facing some strong winds. Only big ships make a successful run through storms with their sails set status quo.

All in all, the women who have attained highest status have kept under the radar. They don’t steal the people’s money. But they never rock the boat either. It does seem that when you elect a female representative, you are getting a “female” representative. “They” (the males) can stick you to a department, but that shouldn’t “confine” you (the females). If I have a female area rep I don’t want her to take a back seat to any man.

I was about “quota,”and why they don’t need it. They just need to follow the formula. From a man who has never entered a popularity contest, but has been selected to a number of leadership positions, and has powered his way into a number, I have my observations. There are battles you must fight. But there are battles you can’t, or shouldn’t, fight for yourself.

The first in the blueprint for Belizean males in politics is to get some good, strong, supportive women behind them. It’s not easy for a man to fight females if they come at him. Then the women in his camp have to step forward.

The first in the blueprint for females in politics is the same, just gender different. Get some good, strong, supportive men behind you.We have seen some women in politics come under attack from a certain type of male. And the women were unable to respond. I mean, the men-in-support-of-the-female did not respond.

No leader should want anyone to give them anything. In the cerebral world, women have every capacity men have. That’s why quota isn’t necessary. Hmm, if you’re leadership material just follow the blueprint.

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Deshawn Swasey

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