The UBAD Executive, as per AMANDALA No. 2, Wednesday, 20th August, 1969
Pres./Minister of Education – Evan X Hyde
Minister of Finance – Ismail Omar Shabazz
Minister of Information – Karl X Menzies
Minister of Security – Edgar X Richardson
Minister of Culture – Alfred X Faber
Minister of Justice – Calvin O. Avilez
Minister of Lands – Charles X Eagan
Minister of Defence – Galento X Neal
Acting Chairman – Odinga Lumumba
The difference between primitive groupings of people and sophisticated organizations is that primitive groupings are heavily dependent on identifiable, charismatic leadership, whereas sophisticated organizations develop internal constitutional guidelines which make it so that, functionally, the organization is greater than its individual leadership.
The collection of Icaiche Maya who were fighting against the armed forces of the colonial British here in 1872 were heavily dependent on the leadership of Marcos Canul, so that when Canul fell in battle in Orange Walk, the Maya were, for all intents and purposes, defeated. This had probably also been the case with the Caribs in St. Vincent when Joseph Chatoyer was killed in battle in 1795.
On the other hand, the great business corporations of the world, even though they are always producing exceptional leaders, such as the case with Apple and Steve Jobs, lose such leaders from time to time and yet their business goes on as usual.
Several years ago there was a crisis in the sugar industry at the Tower Hill factory. When the Government of Belize opponents of the insurgent cane farmers attempted to isolate the leader, whom they were sure they had identified, the cane farmers entered a mode whereby it became impossible for the government authorities and their police and military to isolate and indict one individual as leader, and hence responsible for the insurgency. I was very impressed by the tactics of the cane farmers on that occasion. What the sophistication of their tactics indicated to me was that there was a cadre of leaders just below the person who appeared to be the leader, who had consciously taken steps to protect him.
From the time of their invasions of Africa and America, the Europeans always focused on bribing, intimidating, or physically destroying the Maximum Leaders of African and American tribes and civilizations. This was a tactic which worked extremely well for the Europeans over the years and centuries. The African and Indigenous American peoples characteristically lived under individual leaders, whom our people publicly revered. This had been going on for centuries, indeed millennia, when the Europeans appeared as if out of nowhere, and the game changed.
Please understand, people go and study for advanced university degrees in subjects like leadership, human resources, and military strategy, so the subject which I have raised is a complex and technical one. I only bring it up by way of introducing a topic for my column. I am no expert.
At the age of 21 in March of 1969, I became the leader of an organization which was only a few weeks old – the United Black Association for Development (UBAD). It was, of course, a great challenge for me, and my only real qualification was an undergraduate university degree. As all these 46 years have gone by, I have grown to appreciate more and more the quality of the officers who were with me at various times during the four and a half years of UBAD’s existence.
There was one personal tragedy which is the subject of this column. A young man joined our executive in the early months of UBAD and I believe he became our Secretary-General. I’m sure he was a St. John’s College graduate, but I’m not sure he had gone on to their Sixth Form. He was employed at the Gordon Roe insurance firm when he joined UBAD, and this was almost precisely at the time, in May/June of ’69, when UBAD exploded in popularity on the streets of Belize City.
The young man was very light-skinned, but his kinky hair revealed the existence of African ancestry. There was stress going on between his parents, who lived on Regent Street and were brown Creoles. His father, who would go on to become one of Belize’s great business successes, was splitting up with his mother, to whom the children (three sons and a daughter, if I remember correctly) were totally devoted and loyal.
It is for sure that my friend had left Belize and UBAD by October of 1969. I say this because he was not around when UBAD made an alliance with the People’s Action Committee (PAC) in October that year. My friend flew to New York City and began working there. I lost track of him. In Belize, he had been a weed smoker, but in New York he became hooked on heroin, which is a dangerous, deadly drug. At some point he returned home and lived in the family home. His mom and siblings had gone to America by then.
I don’t believe I ever saw my friend again after he left Belize in ’69. The UBAD officer I remember who spoke most about him was the late Edgar X Richardson. But I know for a fact that my friend and Odinga Lumumba were close during the summer of ’69. The story goes that my friend had a dispute with a businessman neighbor, who shot and killed him around 1975 or so. The businessman neighbor claimed that my friend had pulled a machete, and so he never spent an hour in jail.
My friend was the oldest son of a man, I repeat, who went on to become one of Belize’s great business successes, with a new wife and family. My friend’s father was one of my dad’s good friends. My friend’s dad was very hostile to marijuana, which he blamed for his son’s tragedy. I told my dad, who was a member of the marijuana decriminalization committee, that my friend was cool with weed. It was the junk in New York that did him in.
There were good people who were with me in UBAD, their names are never mentioned, and he was one of them. He and I were only together for maybe three months or so, and we were not close, but I remember him with respect at this time. We sure enough had some good people in UBAD.
Power to the people.