Sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning, my God, east from Addis Ababa to the Black Hills of the Lakota Sioux, “dreamed” to me, and I saw that we Belizeans were now going back in time to those days when our masters spoke to us from far away, and in this land by the sea we had to answer soft, and say “Sir,” and “Madam.”
When the struggle for self-rule and Belizean dignity began, I was a little child, and we had no running water and no sewerage systems in Belize. We were a poor people, but we could endure our pain because this was all we saw around us. “We didn’t know no better.”
The days would come when we Belizeans began to see comfort and riches. We saw comfort and riches in America, and afterwards we saw such comfort and riches in Belize itself. The riches we saw were material things, and we began to desire such things. Our desire became so great that we were willing to sacrifice our very souls, some of us even our lives.
After our original and humble political leaders, there came other political leaders who saw that we Belizeans had become a people who were obsessed with the lust for the baubles and the bangles and the beads, and these new political leaders taught us to live ahead of our money, to live above our means, to party today and not worry about tomorrow. The new leaders taught us about credit, and we embraced and adored this new god, the god of credit.
With the age of globalization and free trade, there came political candidates to our homes who handed out refrigerators and washing machines and yea, cold cash, as if there was no tomorrow. We loved such candidates madly, and life was beautiful. If it’s free, let me die. On Sundays, let it be said, we worshipped Jesus, but from Monday to Saturday our god was Mammon, and our political leaders strung rings through our greedy noses.
The new slavery is financial slavery, debt slavery. The globalization and free trade lunch was not free. Now we have to pay for our Bear Stearns champagne, and we don’t have that kind of cash flow. The billionaire corporate invaders are firmly in place – American Sugar Refining in the north, Santander in the west, U.S. Capital Energy in the south, and Norwegian Cruise Lines in the nearby Caribbean Sea. This is the new colonialism – foreign direct investment. And the return of slavery is called superbond. Whither, Belizeans?
The two phenomena which have devastated our once proud Belize City are a beggar mentality and the Southside civil war. The beggar mentality came along with crack cocaine in the mid-1980s, and the civil war began with Crips and Bloods right afterwards. Understand that your United Democratic Party (UDP) was in power in the mid-1980s, and your People’s United Party (PUP) returned to power right afterwards. Ashcroft, that great “lover of Belize,” entered under the UDP, in 1985, and globalization began with the return of the PUP in 1989.
When our young men began murdering each other in the late 1980s, the Belize City population did not respond appropriately. The professional classes were moving to the “suburbs” – Bella Vista, Buttonwood Bay, the Belamas, Ladyville, Burrell Boom, and so on. Inner city sports programs were sabotaged by PUDP elected politicians for their selfish interests. In 2016, the Southside civil war rages bloodily on, while our non-combatant youth are being distracted, in organized fashion, with alcohol, drugs, and sex.
The bottom lines are the Monroe Doctrine and the Seventeen Proposals. Remember, the UDP could not win a national election until they replaced Goldson as Leader and explicitly ignored the Seventeen Proposals. The slavemasters, colonialists, racists, and imperialists never went away: they were here all the while, encouraging Belizeans to worship the golden calf, to party like it was 1999.
Mr. Trump does not care if you are homophobic. What he cares about, in the first instance, is the standard of living of America’s white middle and working classes. The United States of America declared the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, and that Monroe Doctrine remains in place in 2016. It basically declares that the Western Hemisphere belongs to Washington, which now means that Belize belongs to Donald John Trump, and, to make our situation more desperate, Belize owes American banks and corporations a lot of money which Belizeans can’t pay.
Where you are, Belize, is where your politicians led you, and where your politicians led you is where they saw you wanted to go. They were always telling you exactly what you wanted to hear, and they were always doing what you wanted them to do – bring you the money. You didn’t want to hear the truth, Belizeans. You wanted to live the lie of credit.
The intention of the Seventeen Proposals was for Belize to become like Guatemala and Honduras – an oligarchical state. We’re on the verge of that today. President-elect Trump, to repeat, does not care how homophobic you want to be. All he wants is for you to serve the purposes of American investment capital. He wants the money. It will be like colonialism without the Governor. It will be like slavery without the iron chains, just superbond ones.
When they replaced Goldson as Leader in order to establish the UDP in 1973, it was the birth of Belizean neoliberalism. And when PUP-led independence was threatened by the Heads of Agreement (the Seventeen Proposals in different clothes) in 1981, the “grand old party” was hijacked by a violent, oligarchical faction.
In the immediacy of 2016, Belizeans, it is vital that the Belizean people stand up for the teachers and their trade union. As things stand presently, it is the teachers of Belize who stand between us and oligarchy. Trust me. My God “dreamed” to the I.
Power to the people!