The importance of the visit to Belize of a regional leader/personality like Minister Louis Farrakhan, is the fact that during and immediately after the Minister’s visit, the infighting and wrangling amongst leaders and leaders aspirant in the black community will cease. Everyone will fall into line, and there will be some clarity for a change, though only for a while.
The thing that is always muddying Belizean waters is party politics. Take the issue of violent crime, which is essentially a matter of sociology and economics. The party politicians who are out of power find it almost impossible not to blame violent crime on the party in power. So they say, vote us back in and we will take care of business. Although most of us know that it really doesn’t matter that much which party is in power where violent crime is concerned, still some of us, as desperate as we are, are tempted to think that any change is better than no change at all.
It being the case that the two major political parties are the largest and most powerful standing organizations in this nation, when they are fighting each other, like the elephants that they are, we grass end up trampled. Nowadays it appears that Belize is in a state of permanent political campaigning: the landscape has changed. In the old days, the party which lost general elections would collapse for a year or two, sometimes even three. Take 1979, for instance. The UDP lost general elections late that year, and immediately collapsed. As late as mid-1981, two and a half years after losing, the UDP remained so weak and traumatized that it was an ad hoc organization, the Belize Action Movement (BAM), which had to lead the fight against the dangerous Heads of Agreement.
In the vacuum which used to be created when the defeated party crashed, such ad hoc groups as BAM would emerge. The politicians who were in Opposition knew they wouldn’t be able to raise any significant funding until eighteen months or so before the next general elections. So, they were chilling until the cheese was running.
In 2012, however, the PUP, defeated in general elections just eight months ago, have enough “oomph” to stay right up there on the radar. Consider how quickly the Belize Coalition for Justice (BCJ) has faded from the spotlight when there were explosive issues to address, and they had even brought together prominent activist elements from Belize City, San Ignacio/Santa Elena, and Punta Gorda. The BCJ had gained media traction; in the old days, BCJ would have continued kicking up dust. Today, the Opposition PUP remains potent enough to have sent the BCJ back to the sidelines.
My point is that once the UDP and the PUP are controlling the issues, matters which are predominantly socio-economic, like violent crime, can never be seriously addressed. What is really a question of green, remains just red and blue and “tunu-ball.” Same circus, different clowns.
In the United States of America in the last half of the twentieth century, Hon. Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam attacked the socio-economic degradation of black people. Using a religious body of beliefs, the NOI convinced its disciples to get rid of alcohol, drugs, gambling, and partying. Once the Muslim became disciplined in his personal beliefs, his careless spending was substantially decreased, so that his budget became manageable and life became less stressful.
The other black organizations in America which were supposed to be working to uplift black America, were basically middle class. The NAACP, CORE, the Urban League, and others were all funded by the white establishment. They were fighting for blacks to get inside the white man’s house, or at least, get a better seat at his table. The Nation of Islam, funded by the black community, took a completely different approach. Hon. Elijah Muhammad, quite similarly to Marcus Mosiah Garvey before him, told black people to build their own house and create their own job. The Nation of Islam succeeded at the base of black America’s socio-economic pyramid in a way no other organization had done before. This is real.
The Democrats and the Republicans are two different faces of the white power structure in America. Voting for one or the other does not materially affect the conditions at the base of black America’s socio-economic pyramid. The same truth applies to Belize. Essentially, conditions on the Southside do not change whether the PUP or the UDP are in Belmopan. But, because the two major parties are so large and powerful, nobody else can get his or her voice heard. Since violent crime exploded here in the early 1990s, we have had three terms of PUP government, and presently this is our third term of UDP rule. On the Southside, still, it’s all been downhill.
The PUDP have not allowed any other concepts or leadership to emerge. They have things locked down. The financial resources at Belize’s disposal are so few that when the government finishes taxing you, there is precious little left for community initiatives to exploit.
Remember now, if a savior were ever born here, it would be as in the days of the Christ. Judea was ruled by an imperial Roman power structure. King Herod and the Jewish high priests and Pharisees and Sadducees collaborated with the Roman governor. Christ was only a babe in swaddling clothes when Herod tried to kill Him. When He was just 33, the high priests succeeded. Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, said: “I find no fault in Him.” The Jewish high priests replied: “Crucify Him.”
If Minister Farrakhan resided permanently in Belize, the power structure would find a way to deal with him. As it is, the Minister will be here for only three days. For sure we need the breath of fresh air Minister Farrakhan will provide, and we need it desperately. But after he leaves, the oppressive PUDP shadows will descend once more upon us. The struggle goes on.
Power to the people.