And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river.
And behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fatfleshed and well favoured, and they fed in a meadow.
And behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill favoured, and leanfleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness;
And the lean and the ill favoured kine did eat up the first seven fat kine.
– GENESIS, Chapter 41, verses 17-20
A fan of this newspaper felt that the editorial in our midweek issue last week was too negative. In FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL, we sought to place Belize’s looming economic crisis in perspective as we Belizeans approach our annual December feast and January famine exercises. We feel the need to elaborate.
On the Creole culture calendar, we would submit, there are three massive events, and they are Christmas, Tenth of September, and Easter (featuring the Holy Saturday Crosscountry), probably in that order of importance.
Traditionally, our people have this saying: “Christmas bring ‘e own money.” If you really examine this saying, you will conclude that, since participating in the Christmas celebrations/bacchanal is an absolute cultural mandate, many Belizeans dig into their savings or take out loans in order to finance the holiday feasting. There is, therefore, a Christmas spike in our economic activity which is induced at the level of individual and family choice. In the case of the 2016 Pascua, the macro indications do not, strictly speaking, justify the hype. That was the thrust of our midweek editorial.
Seen from a certain cold-blooded perspective, the Christmas season represents an annual transfer of wealth from the working classes to the merchant classes. This places Kremandala in a contradictory situation, because we began in 1969 as an organization which was focused on liberating the masses of our people from poverty, ignorance, and disease. The semi-revolutionary process in which we were involved having failed dramatically in 1973, the publisher of this newspaper (now Kremandala chairman) decided after 1977 that his contributions to the people would have to take the form of job creation. In the media business in which Kremandala is involved, survival and growth depend, ultimately, on advertisements from the merchant classes. So that, if you think about it, Kremandala should be pushing Christmas as hard as we can. This is what our media competitors do.
It is probably relevant to discuss at this point the participation of the Hon. Cordel Hyde, the four-time People’s United Party (PUP) area representative for the Lake Independence constituency, in Belize’s political process. At times, Cordel’s political involvement presents unique challenges to our editorial freedom. Strictly speaking, Kremandala should not be as critical as we are of the present constitutional democracy in Belize, because we have a family member, whom we support, who is highly placed in the political process – he is national deputy leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition PUP. This is a very important office. On a whole, the Belizean people, specifically voters in Lake Independence, have been understanding where our dilemma is concerned.
This brings us back to the advertisers who have made our job creation on Partridge Street possible. You can criticize Kremandala as much as you want for whatever your reason (s), but the fact remains that we are the largest black-owned business group on the troubled Southside of Belize City. We created jobs where there have always been major economic challenges. We must give respect to all those business people who have enabled our survival and growth.
Belize is a white supremacist society which has done a successful job of pretending it is not. Belikin began the same year as this newspaper – 1969. Belikin began with a development concession from the Government of Belize. Amandala began, you might say, with a sedition charge from the very same Government of Belize, whose Cabinet Ministers voted to imprison the publishers of this newspaper in February of 1970. There is a different road you trod when you come from the canalside.
By and large, the roots people around us understand how rough our road has been, because this is how life has been for themselves on the Southside. By the middle 1990s, we realized on Partridge Street that the gang wars which had begun in the early 1990s were largely Southside specific. Critics made a reach to accuse us of seeking to divide the old capital. Listen, this is where we were and this was what we saw. How can one address the problem if one does not recognize where the worst part of it is located?
No matter, through all these bloody years our advertisers have helped us to create hope. Belize practices what may be described as democratic capitalism. The democracy involves general elections held every five years to choose one of two major political parties to administrate our tax dollars. It has been the case through the years, probably more often than not, that Kremandala has been in conflict with the politicians in power, whether red or blue. Through the years, if it had not been for a strong and principled section of the private sector, we would not have been able to resist the onslaughts of the politically motivated public sector.
Of course, the foundation of all we do has been the loyalty of roots Belizeans. There have been critical moments in our 47-year history when we have actually had to throw ourselves on the mercy of our people and say: help us, please. The people have never let us down. Thus, we always say: power to the people.
In closing, we stand by FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL. A lot of things have gone wrong in Belize’s economic sector. What we have said to our people is that there is no evidence of any sacrifices being made at the political apex of Belize’s socio-pyramid. The large people have continued to live large. In 2017, the people will have to figure out how to save the people. Our young people, fighting for individual and gang survival, have been murdering each other for 25 years. This is not the way. Drug dealing is no answer to our problems, and whenever you don’t agree you can dial Pablo Escobar and question him. Who was ever a more successful drug dealer than Pablo Escobar? Where is he today?
The answer is not drugs. For a while there, some of you big boys thought the answer was Ashcroft. Well, he was your private answer: you can now live off the interest from your foreign bank accounts. What about us on Partridge and Santa Barbara and Zericote and Vernon and Boulevard and Mahogany and so on and so forth? When the feast is over, comes the famine. It never fails. That’s all we’re saying.
Power to the people.