Opinion — 24 October 2014
Right to the Point

Belize disrespected – by our own and them!

There is an awful revelation that has me concerned for some time and which I hope the average Belizean is not sweeping under the rug. This is the internal posture our country through our leaders has displayed and the corresponding disrespect we have attracted as a result. This became especially obvious in a series of major developments these past weeks starting from the execution of Danny Conorquie to the Ebola/cruise ship drama. I believe that the external response to us on this issue is as a result of what we have bent over to project of Belize as a weak, anything-goes country. Then our own local leadership response has been nothing but dismal and a%&-kissing.

The execution of Danny

If we take time to sit back and reflect on the manner, time and place of the execution of Danny Conorquie, some of us would have to admit that the Guatemalan bandits who carried out this execution have no fear of reprisal from the Belizean authorities. They were brave, bold and daring when they calculatingly came across our border, illegally, carrying illegal high-powered weapons, entered a guarded site, and targeted, not a tourist, but an officer of the law in Belize. To be able to make that trek across the border to carry out such act, was not spontaneous… they had time to think it through, even change their minds, but instead they came resolved and executed their plan and escaped. It’s as if they know how weak is our capacity to properly investigate and secure a conviction on murders generally… so their chances of getting away with it were almost secured.

However, what also helped them is the fact that they too have been studying the patterns of patrol in the area, the presence of the military and their overall capacity and wherewithal. They too may have observed that our military are more on our city streets and less on the border and that the GSU has become more militarized and also on the streets of the city, thus leaving the borders more porous and with less manpower. I am confident that they know the vehicle capacity available to the BDF and the capacity of the Special Constables attached to the Tourism Police Unit. They know our terrain… they know our capacities… but most of all they know our laid back response to issues. And like clockwork our political machinery and by extension mass population went into “slow-motion” mode instead of quick no-nonsense response.

The disrespect of a fallen hero

Imagine, it started with our Foreign Minister not wanting to even say it is possible that the shooters were Guatemalans. Okay, he wants full confirmation but he could have at least agreed that the likelihood was there… So our first public response was weak, dismal and set the tone of what was next to come. It was even more tragic when you look back at the fact that our leaders, none… I mean absolutely none came out and denounced this atrocity and instead it was the BDF high command and the Police in San Ignacio who took a public stand against this execution. On Monday September 29, 2014 this was my statement to the media which hit the radio station at midday: “There should be more than an apology. I have not yet even heard a public condolence issued. I have not even heard anything that they say they will improve their training, they will give them better support. I have not heard anything. I haven’t even heard compensation to the family. I have heard nothing. There should be more than an apology to this nation and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, better he retract his mad statement that he doesn’t believe it’s Guatemalans or the evidence doesn’t bear it. So is he saying that the police, the BDF and the special constable are lying?”

The silence was so deafening that I could not believe that it was not until coming under criticism that two days after Danny was buried that the Prime Minister, who heads the country’s Security Council, finally issued a statement and offered condolences to the family of our slain hero. Interestingly, he choked on his words (figuratively) when he stated in it: “There are reasons to believe that Guatemalan nationals may be responsible for the shooting and this has been communicated to the Guatemalan authorities and the O.A.S. The Guatemalan Foreign Minister expressed his government’s regret over the death of the Belizean Special Constable and offered full collaboration in the effort to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Then the government proceeded to commit to looking after the financial welfare of his immediate survivors and assured that GOB will continue to strengthen the security arrangements in the border areas starting with Operation Incisive Gallop, designed to clear illegal incursions into our national territory and launched by the BDF.

The mood was set

After we internally treated this total disrespect by Guatemalan bandits with a soft response, what followed thereafter was expected since we showed the world we allow ourselves to be walked over. Belizeans, wake up!!! While we walk around enjoying our freedoms and giving back little to nothing to our country, our neighbors on the West are indoctrinating their children into believing that Belize is for Guatemala… they teach it from primary schools in their textbooks… they have it on maps used at official functions and I am reliably informed that the Guatemalan president has a weekly TV show named “Al Frente con el Presidente”, which translates upfront with the President and the logo in his background depicting Belize being part of Guatemala. The OAS will not side with us and demand that they stop these things… we the Belizean people need to also be teaching our children about this problem and we need to stop disrespecting ourselves. If we treat our sovereignty and nationhood as a laughing matter and with such disrespect we cannot expect others to take us serious.

Recent case in point is our discovery that our military outpost on Hunting Caye, located in the Sapodilla Range, is being built by a Guatemalan company with funding from the USA’s government. The US as funder, knowing that there is an ongoing border dispute with Guatemala claiming Belize, saw it fit to put us in the jaws of our enemies. This is an extract of the agreement between the governments of Belize and USA: “The Embassy also proposes that the Unites States Department of Defense may contract for any material, supplies, equipment and services (including construction) to be furnished or undertaken in Belize without restrictions as to choice of contractor, supplier, or person who provides such material, supplies, equipment or services.” Bam si deh!

So in its arrogance and disrespect to small nations such as Belize, the US contracted a Guatemalan company, BINARQ, to build not just an ordinary building, but a security outpost… haha now if their Defence Department was thinking straight I am sure they would not get an Al-Qaeda company to do any construction for their government. But this can only happen because we as a country and sovereign nation allow this kind of disrespect. And as if that disrespect was not sufficient we at the highest levels defend the kick in the a%& given to us.

Coast Guard – US puppet

Now, if any Belizean has been following up the news, they will realize that over the years the US government has taken a special interest in the development of the Belize Coast Guard. This they do because of their own self-interest and need to use Belize as an in transit point to help fight the war against drugs flowing north into the US. No matter how you cut it Belize is indebted to the USA and the Coast Guard at all cost must show their gratitude, thus it came to me as no surprise when no other than the Rear Admiral Borland went out swinging in full defence of the US for awarding the contract to BINARQ. He said, “For it to constitute a national security threat it would have to come from the state, because it is the state that claims Belize.”

This needs a big Helllllooooooo – did he just say that??? Really??? In this modern era some of the biggest and most effective infiltration has been through commerce, and economic control. The reason the US has been pressuring so many countries to pass all sorts of tax and financial laws is because they of all people know how a private company can be the best cover for infiltration. As a matter of fact the US finances many private companies through innovative programs but the end result has always been infiltration and US domination. Can the Admiral please tell us what research they did into the background of the shareholders of BINARQ???

Then there is the other aspect of this situation… the optics of the matter. I like to think that appearances form perceptions, which for many is seen as realities. So just the pure optics of the matter is that it does not augur well for Belize’s projection as a strong, proud sovereign state to have their security base being built by nationals of the very same country that has an unfounded claim over it. The other optics is that Belize’s unemployment rate is in the double digits at between 11 to 13%. So our people need jobs too.

Additional insult to us

So let’s say we even want to believe the Admiral’s flawed logic that a Guatemalan private company cannot be the best vehicle to spy or divulge national security issues to the Guatemalan state and thus pose no threat, then he still has not been able to address the security risk with employing only Guatemalan laborers. Do we know the military background of each of them? Sadly no, because we do not even ensure the Guatemalan private company complies with our local labor laws and make sure they get the required work permits for these men. Also, were they brought in through our proper immigration channels?

My theory is that if the Guatemalans really believe Belize belongs to them, why would they need a work permit in their OWN country? Clearly the US Southern Command Army Corp of Engineers did not see the need to ensure compliance with Belizean law as a priority either, otherwise they would have ensured that their contractor knows that it is a condition of the contract to respect local laws… in this agreement between Belize-USA it states: “Such contracts shall be solicited, awarded and administered in accordance with the laws and regulations of the Government of the United States of America.” Hmmmm, I am sure the laws of the US require obeying the labor laws as well.

But Belize again dropped the ball here and sadly these Guatemalan workers have been working in Belize without work permits and by extension without paying social security and income tax, which they are not exempt from paying… so who will follow this up and will the employer be penalized for breach of our laws? But in our usual self-disrespecting style when our Minister of Immigration, Godwin Hulse, was faced with the question he just kept on passing the buck: “We had a report that says that in fact the people did not have the necessary documentation. There was a little mix-up with that. I know that you will ask me about what the Minister of Defence said. The United States had indeed taken the steps to ensure that the contractor had the necessary documentation. The contractor just didn’t follow through. So I think the Minister of Defence was advised wrongly by the Coast Guard, no fault of his…that in fact everything was in order, and it was not.”

Any right-thinking Belizean will see what is wrong with this excuse and that the reality is that we have allowed our nation to be disrespected for too long, so much so that even the country that claims us as part of them treats us as if we are already part of them and their citizens do not obey our laws! If my people have any doubt as to how we have allowed ourselves to be viewed by the rest of the world, especially the USA, go listen to the interview on CNN by Wolf Blitzer, whose tone about Belize was condescending and who seemed to have believed that is was just a “favor” being asked of Belize by the USA and as such his attitude is like “how dare Belize, for whom the US has done so much, say No to Belize?” As to Mexico who turned them flatly… there was no hullabaloo!

My people, if our leaders won’t stand for us… we don’t need to wait… because all along we should have been standing up for ourselves proud and strong! Belize is NOT for Guatemala and we MUST live by this, not just talk!

God bless Belize!

 

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