I know I have fans out there who look forward to a column with every issue of our newspaper, but sometimes it’s very difficult to do this work. I don’t want to do a column just for doing a column’s sake, but most times I have to deal with the reality that this is how I feed myself and my family. This is my job. Here goes.
This Tuesday evening, as I write, we Belizeans are an emotionally exhausted people. Sunday afternoon at the Sarstoon took a lot out of us. I know that is the main reason I have trouble cranking it up. I’m a tired senior Belizean.
The ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) have taken a party line on this matter which does not allow for dissent within their ranks. Or, perhaps the party is so unified that there really isn’t any, dissent that is. I did hear the one Kenrick Ysaguirre on the UDP radio station this morning take issue with a National Security Council (NSC) release, based on information from Organization of American States’ (OAS) observers, which pointedly neglected to mention that Guatemala naval vessels and their armed personnel had clearly entered Belize’s territorial waters during last Sunday afternoon’s incidents.
I think Mr. Ysaguirre focused exclusively on the dishonesty of the OAS information provided to the NSC, which is headed by the Hon. Prime Minister. I know Mr. Kenrick to be a total loyalist of the Hon. Prime Minister’s, so he would never criticize Mr. Barrow or the NCS. But going so far as saying publicly that he had grown to mistrust the OAS was the first criticism of anything even vaguely linked to the UDP party line I’d heard or read coming from UDP organs.
For their part, the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) heard their Party Leader, Hon. Francis Fonseca, declare at a press conference this morning his support for the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV). But, a few months ago, the BTV and their border initiative had been attacked in the House of Representatives by the PUP’s Toledo East area representative, Hon. Mike Espat. So, which is it, PUP?
One intriguing aspect of the Sarstoon situation is the fact that general elections will probably be called in the next few months. The majority of the Belizean people are no doubt in support of the BTV, but the likelihood is that the UDP, which is completely hostile to the BTV, would win general elections, if we are to judge from the three elections (two bye-elections and one national municipal election) held this year in Belize. How you figure?
To a certain extent, the chances are that a lot of Belizean people are confused. The proliferation of radio and television stations in Belize, many owned or controlled by electoral politicians, has made it so that there are at least nine national television channels and several local (District) ones. There is only one national radio station, but there must be more than forty local radio stations across Belize by now. A lot of people are broadcasting opinions, and sometimes these opinions are ridiculous. In most cases where ridiculous opinions are being broadcast, some electoral politician is paying for same.
Anyway, returning to the Sarstoon issue, I think the UDP have gotten themselves into a pickle. The party is on such a roll that none of their loyalists wants to criticize, but there must be a little grumbling somewhere. Then again, maybe not.
During its glory years, the loyalty of PUP believers was such that party solidarity remained strong even when the official revelations of Bethuel Webster’s Seventeen Proposals in 1968 made it clear that Mr. Goldson, then the Opposition Leader, had been correct in 1966 when he published the Thirteen Proposals, and that the United States’ mediatior and representative, Webster, had presented proposals which would make Belize a satellite state of Guatemala. In 1968, the PUP’s Holy Grail was independence and Mr. Price was like the prophet Moses for PUP true believers. If the Seventeen Proposals could not create doubt in their minds, there was nothing which could do so.
It was during the years leading up to the Seventeen Proposals that Mr. Goldson first called for the creation of a Belizean army. Do UDP believers actually think that Mr. Goldson intended for that army to stay in its barracks while Belizean civilians risked limb and life to proclaim Belizean territorial integrity on Sunday afternoon, August 16, 2015? This is a hell of a situation, beloved.
They say it is old men who send young ones to war. I’m an old man who doesn’t want to send anyone to war. War is hell. But what is the point of Belizean nationhood if Belizeans can’t go where they want in our own country without being exposed to aggression from the Guatemalan military? I repeat, what is the point of Belizean nationhood…
Power to the people. Remember Danny. Fight for Belize.