There are many Creole people who seem happy with the amount of Creole personalities in leadership positions in this three-term United Democratic Party (UDP) government. Some of us from the 1970s, however, know that there are very powerful UDP leaders who entered public life back then and have now proven themselves to be like traitors where Black youth are concerned.
Every time you read or hear of some Black teenager being busted with an unlicensed gun or ammunition, which usually costs that youth years in jail because of Belize’s draconian gun laws, you have to understand and remember this: there are areas of Belize City where a Black youth actually prefers to be busted by the cops with an unlicensed gun than to have one of his street enemies meet him without a weapon. The first situation means years in jail: the second means Lord’s Ridge. Think about that. How did we get here, Belizeans? The people who run things look just like the people murdering and being murdered in their childhood and youth.
Belizean voters first put the UDP in power in 1984 because we felt we needed a change, we needed to look at an option. We had faithfully followed the People’s United Party (PUP) to independence in 1981, and in 1984 the UDP were swearing they had solutions to certain socio-economic problems which were distressing Belizeans.
Working through old papers and publications last week, I ran into a letter published in the Amandala issue of Thursday, September 9, 1993 from the one Gilly Young, a former senior public officer who had gone into private business, had done well, and had become the Caribbean Shores campaign manager for UDP Leader, Dr. Manuel Esquivel, who had won his second term as Prime Minister of Belize in June of that same 1993 year.
In 1993, I still allowed opponents of mine to attack me in the pages of Amandala, and following (in italics) is the full, unedited text of what Mr. G. M. Young wanted to say to me for all of Belize to read. The gentleman was one of the several successful sons of a man named Edward “Dads” Young, who had been a clerk for many years at Harley’s, the second biggest store to Brodies back in the colonial days. “Dads” Young had raised his children with certain values which had enabled them to achieve personal success.
Gilly Young and my senior public officer father were personal friends. But my father’s eldest son, yours truly, had decided that the Dads Young formula for personal and family success had little relevance where the national liberation of Belize was concerned. For that reason, primarily, and also party politics, Gilly Young had become hostile to Evan X Hyde to the point where he lashed out in print.
His letter follows. In Friday’s issue, Inshallah, I will reproduce what I had to say in response to Mr. Young almost 25 years ago. I believe today that when you read Mr. Young’s letter, you will begin to understand why the UDP has failed, and in fact has betrayed, Belize’s Black youth.
Gilly Young chastiseth X, who respondeth
September 9, 1993
Mr. Evan X Hyde
Dear Mr. Hyde,
I am a friend of your father, who, I believe, is very proud of his son, Evan Hyde. What I say here will, I hope, not erode the friendship with your dad which I have had since my youthful days. But it is time to point out certain things.
In last week’s AMANDALA, you wrote at length about sports in Belize. You obviously have a predilection for sports, and that is your business. However, I suggest to our young people that, regardless of the situation in other countries, they give preference to educating themselves to prepare for a secure future, so that they will not need to go hat in hand begging for support from others.
It is not so long ago that our people played sports for the sheer fun and joy of it. They worked hard to earn a living and then, at the end of the working day, they practiced their favourite sports, eventually engaging in vigorous competition on weekends. Neither the players nor the spectators received pay, or paid for any of this. It was just good clean fun, and the good ones were forever heroes. Ask your dad, who was one of the highly-regarded sports figures of the day.
Towards the end of it, your article makes a stunning assertion. According to you, “certain families enjoyed positions of prestige and privilege under British colonialism, and these were called, in the streets, ‘royal Creole’”? Where in tarnation did you get that from? I have lived in Belize longer than you, and have never heard the term before.
You go on to state that “The ‘royal Creole’ lorded it over not only the ‘roots Creole,’ but he also ruled over Hispanics, Caribs, and all other non-white ethnic groups.”
Excuse me, Mr. Hyde, but you must be hallucinating. Under the colonial administration, we had two types of people: the natives of Belize, and the expatriate bosses. No native Belizean could “lord it” over another, except as regards seniority in the work place, because the laws, the rules, and the regulations, applied to all, equally.
And who gives you the right to decide which of us are “roots” Belizeans, and which are not? Both your father’s family, and mine, grew up in the poor section of Belize City’s “canal side.” My dad worked as a stores clerk. Your dad’s father was a Customs officer. Both your dad and I started to work as messengers at the foot of the public service ladder, earning the “royal” sum of thirty dollars per month.
You were one of the privileged few who won a scholarship to study abroad, and later came back home to make good. You now enjoy a comfortable life. Are you “roots” or “royal”?
You tell your readers, in several writings over the years, that you returned from the U.S.A. as “an angry young man.” You should have left your anger over there, and not keep stirring up racial animosity among our people. This is Belize, not the U.S.A.
In fact, your newspaper, in another article, gives a very distorted view about the Tenth of September celebrations, obviously in support of the continuous attempt of the People’s United Party to divide our people along racial lines. The fact is that, before the coming of Mr. George Price, all Belizeans celebrated the Tenth.
It is completely untrue to say that Creole Belizeans regarded “Hispanic” Belizeans (presumably meaning Spanish-speaking Belizeans) as the “defeated invader.” How could they have been “invaders,” when they were here all the time? It was not they who invaded, but Spaniards from Europe, who were fighting with other European nations in an effort to steal the riches from the countries of the Western Hemisphere.
In fact, it is wrong to refer to our Spanish-speaking people as “Hispanic,” because that term refers more properly to people of Spanish origin. Our people are predominantly Mayan Indians, who occupied these areas long before the Europeans came.
But Mr. George Price and the PUP, with your help, are continuously injecting the poison of racism among our people. Stop the hate! This is Belize, not the U.S.A. or South Africa.
May I offer you an incentive to turn your face towards the light? Take hold of your telephone directory, and gaze long and hard at the cover, which depicts the faces of the children of Belize. If these beautiful children were all gathered together in one place, they would play happily together, paying not the slightest attention to the differences in skin colour, nor to the texture of the hair.
And if the racial bigots among our adults would not teach those children to dislike each other merely because of different racial origins, a nobler race of Belizeans could eventually emerge, making this a happy land, and providing a good life for most, if not all, our people.
To everyone upon this earth, death cometh, soon or late. There are those among us who would wish to leave behind a better Belize, but the evil that some do will, unfortunately, remain long after they have passed away. It is, however, possible to re-make Belize, and to renew the spirit of its people. We now have the opportunity. Think on these things.
(Signed) G. M. Young