As we have written before, Kremandala, basically a professional media organization, was built on the foundation provided by a black-conscious, revolutionary organization called UBAD, which was founded in 1969 and was dissolved in 1974. The past leadership of UBAD then dedicated itself to the creation of jobs in the oppressed community which had given birth to it. This job creation process became known as “Kremandala.”
Kremandala has created about 80 full-time jobs over the last four decades. The majority of our employees in 2013 are not socially active or political agitators. They are professionals, and have their own personal beliefs.
The fact of the matter is, however, that the chairman of Kremandala was in fact the president of UBAD, and he has a memory of foundation, so to speak. To make a long story short, there is a small element in Kremandala who involve themselves in activist causes, and they are appreciated and facilitated by the Kremandala chairman. Most prominent in this small Kremandala element are Ya Ya Marin Coleman, who is the chairlady of the UBAD Educational Foundation (UEF), and Perry “Sticks” Smith.
From a management standpoint, Marin Coleman is a gadfly and a troublemaker. She is always involving herself in grievances and causes both within the Kremandala yard and outside. Ya Ya frequently puts the Kremandala chairman in difficult situations which require him to seek balance between Kremandala’s professional reality and the organization’s roots origins.
From a socio-economic standpoint, the conditions in our community which sparked the rise of UBAD 44 years ago, have actually grown worse. UBAD formulated three core demands as the years went by. These were: (1) the 18-year-old vote; (2) radio time; and (3) the teaching of African and Indigenous history in Belize’s schools. The 18-year-old vote was instituted in 1978; the radio airwaves were freed in 1989; and recently, St. John’s College, Belize’s leading secondary institution, has said that they will be introducing the teaching of African and Indigenous history next school year. It is expected that the other schools will follow S.J.C.’s lead.
But, it is impossible for us to be congratulating ourselves on these modest achievements when we look at the community around us. So the question today is: what course of development should Belizeans be pursuing insofar as creating a better life for all our people?
Because it is possible to argue that, in spite of Kremandala’s achievements, things have grown worse in our community, there is the need to examine where the rulers have taken Belize and where they intend to take us. The Belizean pie is not being shared equally. An elitist few are growing richer and richer, while the masses are suffering. We are victims of a two-party system which pushes us from one party to the other – back and forth, back and forth … The PUDP circus is always the same: only the clowns change faces.
Some other, more fundamental changes have to be around here, cherie. Ya Ya Marin Coleman and Perry Smith intend to be a part of those changes. Because of their selfless and sincere commitment, we pay our respect to them. Ya Ya and Sticks are on the front line in the community’s struggle. They take us back to a time four plus decades ago when we older ones fought for freedom, justice, and equality in the streets.
Power to the people. Power in the struggle.