In my organizations, the essential quality my generals must have is the ability to think things through for themselves. This is the way I was raised. An elder or superior was not supposed to have to spell out matters for you in some rote a-b-c manner. Once your superior gave you keys to work with, then it was up to you to open up the doors with respect to decisions and actions. If you could not do that tactically on a consistent basis, then that meant you were deficient in some important way. Those with brains to think, let them think.
That said, I have managed to get Kremandala this far, but, as I explained in my mid-week column, in business there are no guarantees. My older children are organized and they meet among themselves regularly. They make decisions amongst themselves. In their specific areas of management, they rely on their own generals.
The UBAD Educational Foundation (UEF) is a non-business organization which meets every month at the executive level and runs various operations, the largest of which is probably the African and Indian (Indigenous) Library. The UEF was established in 1996, and most of its original board members were former United Black Association for Development (UBAD) officers. Today, the only former UBAD officers remaining on the board are myself and Rufus X. But, we two are not really active. The UEF has been run for years now by Ya Ya Marin Coleman and Virginia Echols. Ya Ya is the chairlady, but Virginia is very powerful, by virtue of her status as an original board member and because of her polished personality.
For me, the UEF is of personal importance, because it represents a philosophical link with the activist UBAD organization which gave birth to Amandala, the newspaper (1969), which in turn gave birth to KREM Radio (1989) and KREM Television (2003). From day to day, the focus at the managements of the newspaper, radio and television is on contracts and payrolls. UEF is different. UEF is taken up with various community concerns, such as education and social welfare.
I do not push my weight around on Partridge Street. Sometimes, my generals make mistakes. In the public eye, these mistakes are my mistakes. I must take the blame. No problem. Sometimes there are emergencies. Because I am the Kremandala chairman, it is at times like these that I must step into the breach.
Moving forward, I want to say that I am looking forward to hosting Norman Fairweather sometime late next month in an official way. I hope that we former UBAD officers will be able to have a small public meeting for the benefit of our former members and supporters, as well as Belize’s younger generations. Norman, whom we called “Brother Imamu” back in the days, will be visiting from New Jersey on family business, but we intend to take the opportunity to involve him in our commemoration of the 45th anniversary of Amandala. Imamu is a former editor of Amandala, as well as the secretary-general of UBAD between 1971 and 1973.
I don’t want you to think this would be all about old people’s nostalgia. You have to know (or at least you should) where you came from in order to understand who you are and decide where you are going. Before we meet the public, I hope that Imamu, Rufus X, and I can sit down together privately to look closely at what happened back then in 1973. In the original separation, Imamu and Rufus X were on the same side, but later things changed. There are serious matters which have not been discussed since then just amongst us three.
Over the decades since, Norman has worked in various Caribbean and African groups, often along with the late Bert Tucker. His perspective is critical, and needs to be publicized. Rufus X spent fifteen years in the original United Democratic Party (UDP), until he broke with them n 1988. He remains an activist in the streets along with the Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA).
I expect that Galento X Neal, a charismatic former UBAD vice-president who presently resides in Belize, will be involved with us. Galento will not be in the initial three man meeting, because he had already migrated to the United States when UBAD began to divide in 1973.
I am willing to concede that our proposed discussions in July and August will be more symbolic than anything else. For myself, I think that when UBAD ruled the streets of Belize City during the summer of 1972, we had no concrete, definitive plan for future action, and we had no financial resources. In retrospect, it appears that UBAD was fortunate to have reached as far as it did.
In any case, UBAD will go down in history as having laid the foundation for Kremandala, which is an important employer and community voice in Southside Belize City. I look forward to the coming together of the UBAD originals who remain. Ours is a history which the power structure has sought to obliterate. We want to consider that history in the light (or darkness) of the bloody gang wars which have been frightening and paralyzing our people for the last quarter century.
Power to the people.