Features — 13 January 2009 — by Colin bh
At this writing, the VIP in Belmopan has not yet selected a slate to carry its standard into City Council/Town Board Elections 2009 in Belize, but they have the pick of the field. If they choose wisely, some crisp night in March this year when the bells sound to end the counting at the Civic Center in Belmopan, the yellow flag will rise over City Hall in Belmopan. The horse is at the well.
Both the incumbent UDP and the hopeful PUP have put forward fine slates. Mayor Simeon Lopez is a perfect gentleman, and he has grown into the job. Belmopan is proud of its mayor. Belmopan can’t go wrong if they elect Simeon and his 7 to run things for three more years.
The PUP’s Rosalie Gardiner Casey is foundation Belmopan for over a generation. The granddaughter of the legendary “Bolo” Gardiner is a standout citizen, and her party has put a fine team behind her. Belmopan should be proud to elect Rosalie and her 7 to run Garden City 2009-12.
The UDP will argue that PUP is PUP, and the baggage of an administration that got a deserved shellacking at the polls less than a year ago cannot be put down so easily by brand new faces. The PUP will argue that they are new faces, and that the UDP City Council, while doing a sound job, has not been inspiring. Hooray for the red and the blue.
But this election is not about them. This City Council/Town Board Elections 2009 will be about NATION. The intelligence/maturity of Belmopan cannot be questioned. No more than ten percent of the “die hard” will vote their old red/blue colors in BMP 2009. And the field is to the VIP’s picking.
Money always plays a role in elections, but in 2009 it will be minimal. The leaders of the VIP – Morgan, Enriquez, Lopez, and others, have the proven substance. The VIP has laid the ground work. Their (manifesto) program for development of the Belizean people in 2008 was a cut high above that of the old parties. They must find candidates in the field who can also capture the imagination. Then the horse will drink.
As for the PNP in PG, their leader, Wil Maheia, is one of the standout men of our time. As the popular Amandala columnist Clinton Uh Luna would say, the man got “bolas.” Wil built an organization (TIDE) that has impacted positively on Toledo, and also did Belize extremely proud in international waters. Wil is a big, big man in Belize. There are other strong non-mainstream personalities in Punta Gorda. If they don’t muddy the waters, Wil’s PNP can take the bacon in PG 2009.
Belize nation is bored with status quo, and will be riding very hard with VIP and PNP.
(I am not sure if Dr. Ted Aranda’s CDP ever gained control of Dangriga, but in Corozal Town a group called CUF won out in the seventies. I think the core reds stayed out of that election. People who have full internet access can look it up at the website of Elections and Boundaries.)
There are certain landings where Mr. Clinton Uh Luna gets off that are not sound. His insistence that British “atrocities” in this part of the New World are on equal scale with that of the Spaniards, is straight out of Mr. Assad Shoman’s Thirteen Chapters…for Shoman’s purposes. My interest in the British is for love of truth only. The bulldogs can defend themselves very well, so let’s put our sweat where it really matters.
Now Braa, no ethnic group in Belize has enjoyed the sweets of British colonialism and the Peaceful Constructive Belizean Revolution over the last forty years like the Mestizos and Mayas in the north. Where does Clinton Uh get off suggesting that they were deprived? Maybe Maya and Mestizo girls were selling their bodies to earn their keep in Spanish, Mestizo, Maya/ Mexico…but not in Belize!
In commerce, the two biggest and brightest business houses in Belize City, Brodies and Save-U, are owned by Mestizos. Since self-government the highest office among the “natives” has been held by Mestizos*. Recently Belize elected a Kriol to its highest office.
On the matter of land ownership, all the powerful landowners in Belize are European and Mestizo stock. Check who owns the large citrus, banana, sugar cane lands. Whatever land the Kriol owns in Belize, is cultivated the same way our brothers and sisters, the Maya (Toledo/Stann Creek/Cayo) and the Garifuna, cultivate the land – by “slash and burn.” As groups, we resist the Western way of mechanization and chemical fertilizers and pesticides, saying that those systems are destructive to the earth. The Kriols have no economic power, except for a lawyer group who think we are a backward set, a burden.
Our (the Kriol) fathers are not the British. Our fathers are the African and the Mayan….and yes, the buccaneers, with whom we have an “uneasy truce.” In our national anthem, Belizeans sing “our Fathers, the Baymen” …and some think of Chatoyer…and some think of Columbus. Some think of the gods that can be found in the Popul Vu. And some think of Mother Africa, Mother Germany, Mother Lebanon, Mother India, Mother Britain, Mother China, and Mother Taiwan. That is the real of this melting pot country.
After the Spaniards almost cleansed this part of the world of our fathers, the Maya, a bunch of rejected people of many races, called “buccaneers,” landed here. They landed in the mangrove swamp which we know as Belize City. They stopped raiding Spanish settlements and started cutting logwood, a tree that grows in the swamp. Wow! Sub umbra floreo – rejected citizens from all over found a safe place here too.
While other nations around the world are fixed about cleansing, we da bowt mix up, mix up…And more mix up. Yap, if yu come da Belize, get ready fu mix up, mix up.
Of late, we have started calling a former PM, RH George Price, the “Father of the Nation.” Do I believe he could have been a better leader? Of course, I do. The fracture of the PUP over “to federate or not to federate” cost Belize dearly. As a result of that fracture, less gifted leaders replaced great men, like Hero Philip Goldson, in the building of the new Belize. If the PUP had stuck together, RH Price would have brought a better Belize to Independence in 1981. So, we have tremendous work yet to do.
*Prime Ministers Price, Esquivel, and Musa, men primarily of European (British) and Mestizo stock, from the point of phenotype could identify themselves as Mestizos. If they chose an ethnic group from a point of culture, they would probably call themselves Kriols.
(Ed. NOTE: We are not sure all of Colin bh’s “stats” on ethnicity are completely accurate. But, his byline is there, so if he is wrong, then he better be prepared to defend himself.)