In response to my letter to you captioned “Diaspora what have you done for me lately?” you published three letters from members of the Diaspora (I presume): Mario Lara, Wellington Ramos and Beryl Young.
Regrettably, it appears that two of the letter writers were only able to read what their eyes could see. Nothing more!
True to form, they internalized the content of my letter and consequently set out to kill the messenger. Quite honestly, I care little if anybody respects me, thinks that I am shallow or that I am an educated fool. If one does not like the views that I hold, then one should not vote for me in the next election. Simple!
Interestingly Lara and Young danced on the periphery and left the main issues completely alone. Neither of them answered the question: what has the Diaspora done for Belize outside of remittances? Neither of them shed any real light on why we should allow dual citizens to hold high political office in Belize! Neither of them told us why we should support the Seventh Amendment!
My charge that the Diaspora has given us too much of the USA as it is, seems to have incensed them. They both accused me of being divisive. Since when telling the truth is divisive?
Regarding the contents of the respective letters, Lara asserts that I am of the view “that politicians only make decisions that have dire consequences for the nation”. I hold no such view, but I do know that if you put in place the necessary safeguards to deal with the worthless politicians, you would have no problems with the good and decent ones. And in case Lara hasn’t noticed, the good ones have been hard to come by.
I fully accept his point that the phrase “what have you done for me lately” was borrowed from Janet Jackson. And no, we don’t want handouts; they often come with strings attached. In using the phrase, I merely wanted to speak to the Diaspora in a language they understand since so many in the Diaspora can’t seem to speak or understand Creole anymore. Nothing speaks to the Diaspora like pop culture, baby!
Young, on the other hand, in an attempt to detract from my main thrust, somehow arrived at the misguided conclusion that the mere mention of single mothers and independent women was disparaging and so she went on a rant. Such twisted logic is hers and hers alone. Only a fool or a knave could have come to such a fatuous position. And Young struck me as no fool!
What is undeniable is the fact that the splintering of the Belizean family is one of the underlying causes of the social upheaval we are currently experiencing. This phenomenon in my view has been accelerated by the corrosive influence of American cultural norms. And who are the principal purveyors of such cultural norms in relation to Belize? The Diaspora!
I am not a social scientist but I have my theories on this phenomenon (the fragmentation of the Belizean family and the emasculation of the Belizean male) which I will share with you shortly. Young will have a feast!
Now to Wellington. I found Ramos’ letter to contain a few nuggets, though he has still not convinced me on the issue. From what I have been told, Ramos is amongst those who wish to seek political office as a dual citizen and so I must view his presentations and motives with suspicion. Nonetheless, I thought that his impassioned pleas about dual citizens and the rights of the Belizean Disapora, to be worthy of debate.
I would caution Ramos, however, that he must be careful in discussing the issue of our Central American Belizeans (not including Guatemalans). The position of naturalized Central Americans in Belize is not dissimilar to naturalized Belizeans in the USA. These new Belizeans found great opportunity and promise here when so many of our own saw nothing but despair and thus ran to the USA. The outflow of so many Belizeans (and Black ones at that) created a vacuum which was filled by our Central American neighbors. It is this twin action that has led to the change in ethnic balance over the last few decades.
I happen to share, in principle, Ramos’ view with respect to military service and the defence of The Jewel. When I complained about the silence of the Diaspora relating to national issues this is what I was talking about. We need to hear from you, and not just on the voting rights. Let us hear you on the other issues affecting Belize: Penner, land reform, offshore drilling, corruption, education, immigration reform, etc. Let us hear you loud and often. You must not wait for an “educated fool” like Major Jones to “stir trouble” before you speak!
Finally, let me say this. Perhaps the most sensible comment I have heard, though not published, came from Muriel Laing-Arthurs who wrote in an email: “I personally – most profusely – thank Major Lloyd Jones for resurrecting the dual citizenship/7th amendment issue. Yes – indeed – the Latin phrase: ex malo bonum – which interpreted is a popular saying: out of evil cometh good, is so apt”.
The evil part does scare me a little, though.
Laing-Arthurs went on to make a call for the Diaspora to become better organized, accepting the fact that they are “not as organized as they should be”. Laing-Arthurs gets it; kudos to her.
Lara and Young might not believe me but I too would like to see a more organized Diaspora oriented toward Belize. Wishful thinking perhaps given the constant tear-down of Belize by so many in the Diaspora. Just last week Mrs. Judith Fuller was on Facebook (I know Lara, another contradiction) chastising those Belizeans in the Diaspora who have nothing good to say about Belize. Did I not say that some are more American than they are Belizean?
Look. I am but an ordinary man who happens to love Belize and I am sure that Ramos, Lara and Young love Belize as well. My problem is I am not sure which one they love more: Belize or the mighty USA?
I am sure someone will tell me.
Major Lloyd Jones (R)