Features — 06 June 2014 — by Charles X

Slavery was abolished in British Honduras, as in other British colonies, in 1838. (The trans-Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in 1834.)

1838, … 1938.

I was born in 1953.

In 1973, an elderly “Able Creole” man (very dark skinned) told me that his great grandmother told him, when he was a little boy, that she used to be a slave in her very young days in Belize town. (That was before the whole country’s name was changed to “Belize.”)

From logwood to mahogany, it was all about labor in the logging camps and at BEC sawmill. From “free” slave labor to cheap labor in the “free market capitalist system of parliamentary democracy.”

“I owe my soul to the company store.”

There are old time stories of grown men, who owed the “camissary,” and failed to show up for the start of the new season of work at the logging camp, who were physically accosted, detained, delivered a number of lashes with a whip, and taken to camp to fulfill their work obligations, for which they had signed with their “X”, since they couldn’t read or write.

Why was a piece of land so hard to get for the laboring citizens of Belize City?

Reliable sources say that at one time the BEC company alone owned up to three-quarters (75%) of all the land in Belize.

By design?

After a few generations separated from the land, some landless (brainwashed?) city residents referred to their village based counterparts as “bush bubu.”

Divide and conquer. The colonial masters also had “Creole” looking down on “Kerobi” and “Panya.”

Villagers mostly squatted on land, but some owned a few acres. City residents rented or owned a small little piece of house lot.

Who was the real “bubu”?

“Independence now.” The “Green Revolution.” It’s time to “plant ten thousand trees this year and make Belize more beautiful.” “Not one square centimeter.” “This land is my land.” “Wake up and work.” “The New Belize.” “Liberation tomorrow.”

It is time for the slogans to become real. Time for Belizeans to wake up, especially Belize City based Belizeans who have been so long estranged from their land.

Which “bush bubu?” Time to go back to the land. Belizeans are awakening. BIGYEA is waking them up.

What a wonderful idea!

Government of the people, by the people, for the people. It sounds good.

How beautiful it would be to have our bus-riding people pass each day and see BIGYEA corn growing, blowing in the wind, day by day getting bigger, until it’s harvest time. It would be an inspiring agricultural lesson more powerful than all the textbooks in the schools right now.

Why not encourage, in fact, applaud BIGYEA for this novel idea. Partners with government, to lift our people out of dependence and poverty.

Give a man a fish, or teach him to fish. Big up BIGYEA!

No more “gimme dis and gimme dat.” Away with the “hands-out” slave mentality.

“I don’t want nobody to give me not’n. Open up the door, an’ I’ll get it myself.” (James Brown, the Godfather of Soul.) Something is terribly wrong, with our leaders.

My dear friend, Godwin. What a terrible bind you are in, to be associated with this, because of collective Cabinet responsibility. I know you can’t sleep at night, over this issue. Or can you?

Something is terribly, terribly wrong with our leaders. They don’t want us to “do for self?”

Why do they want to crucify BIGYEA, for planting corn? The Supreme Court!? Injunction; for planting corn?!?! Goodness!!

Oh no! It’s the law!! We must abide by the law!!!

It is illegal to use the buffer. That’s the law; and the government must uphold the law.

Hmmm. Somehow, the Commissioner of Police hasn’t been pressured by his Cabinet bosses to enforce the law with respect to PennerGate.

Okay. You win. It is illegal. It is not personal, you say. And you have nothing against BIGYEA.

Well, prove it.

Rosewood was illegal too. There were big announcements, and a ban on the export of Rosewood. It was illegal to cut any more, and a deadline after which it was illegal to have in your possession. And you knew who the exporters were. The Minister even burned a batch of Rosewood to drive home the point.

Hell, damn! Big batches of rosewood cuttings turned up again. What to do?

Well, don’t you remember?

A “moratorium.” Yes, so that your favorite exporter could ship out some more precious rosewood.

See how easy it was to find a way around the problem, when you wanted to facilitate your favored people? And make it legal for the time being?

Okay, then. Let’s also have another moratorium. Let’s have a moratorium on the “injunction” against BIGYEA planting our corn in the buffer zone. Cabinet can suspend the enforcement if they want to. Let’s have a moratorium on the buffer for 4 months, until the BIGYEA corn is planted and reaped.

Government of the people, for the people, by the people. Or perish.

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