“To remember a person is the most important thing in the novels of Alexandre Dumas. The worst sin anyone can commit is to forget.”
– pg. 3, The Black Count, Tom Reiss, Crown Publishers, New York, 2012
To reach the highest levels of power in Belizean politics, you have to be acceptable to Rome and Canterbury, or, if you will, the Christian establishment. Almost all Belizean children attend schools controlled by the Christians, and they will spend an average of five years, say, being indoctrinated in basic Christian precepts. Childhood is the most impressionable time of one’s life, so the great majority of Belizean children remain basically Christian throughout their lives, and they will use Christian yardsticks to measure things. Rome and Canterbury, therefore, have the power of figurative life and death over Belizean politicians, because they control the minds of Belizean voters.
Modern, third millennium Christianity does not really have that much to do with the documented life of Jesus Christ, because modern, third millennium Christianity is a materialistic philosophy, whereas Christ was a completely spiritual man. The life of a Rastafarian, for example, is much more Christ-like than the life of the Christians who go to church on Sundays sometimes, and run things in Belize. Belize is a Christian place, but Belize is a very sinful place. It should be a contradiction in terms for a Christian place to be a sinful place, but we have grown so accustomed to this state of affairs that we apparently do not consider it a contradiction in terms.
I will not pursue the discussion in the first two paragraphs any further. I only wished to make the point that the foundation and survival of the Kremandala system constitute a significant accomplishment because, in certain key areas, the Kremandala philosophy is different from that of Rome and Canterbury, the powerhouses in Belize. The most important area of difference is in how Kremandala views the pre-European societies of Africa and America. These are considered pagan, barbarian, and so on by Rome and Canterbury, whereas at Kremandala we view the pre-European civilizations of Africa and America as representing the greatest eras of our ancestors.
Kremandala was built on the foundation of an organization called the United Black Association for Development (UBAD), which marked the 44th anniversary of its founding on Saturday, February 9. UBAD officially came to an end in November of 1974, but it actually was around this time forty years ago, in early 1973, that UBAD began to divide, and fatally so. A faction of the UBAD leadership in 1973 made the mistake of thinking that the new UDP would represent something substantially different from the ruling, oppressive PUP. It was a mistake which doomed UBAD.
But, such is life, and had UBAD continued as it was going, perhaps there would have been other, different rocks on which it would have foundered. And today, I want to say that there were some remarkable, outstanding men who were officers and leaders of UBAD during its four-year period of unity. For most of UBAD’s existence, I was the president, but the revolutionary successes of the organization were the work of some heroic Belizean men who were legends in their own time.
Amongst the ladies who were stars in UBAD, the nurse Penny Casasola was a founding officer of UBAD, and other sisters who did major work in the organization were Eleanor Gill Vernon, Lillette Barkley Waite, Elma Whittaker Augustine, and Hanifa Karim.
It is always bitter when close friends divide, and we were the closest of friends in UBAD when the division occurred in early 1973. What made the separation even more bitter was the fight to control the basic UBAD assets, which were a building and lot on Partridge Street, and loudspeaking equipment.
There were ten men in the UBAD executive when UBAD divided, and the division took place right down the middle – five against five. It took some years for myself and three of those five on the other side, to reconcile, but there are still two of the five with whom I have not had an appropriate reconciliation. I feel sad about this, of course, because for a man to have become a UBAD officer meant that he had reached a high level of consciousness and commitment. These were very, very good men.
And they were part of the UBAD foundation which made Kremandala possible. Kremandala is not controlled by, and owes no allegiance to, Rome and Canterbury. Kremandala is a unique institution, and it is always battling for its life. Those institutions which are controlled by, and are loyal to, Rome and Canterbury, almost have a free ride, so to speak. They work for the power structure, express and defend the power structure’s views, and they are rewarded for their obedience and loyalty.
We Belizeans can see that there are many things wrong with the order of things which prevails in our country. If the order of things is flawed, then it is the responsibility of adult citizens to fight for change. This is what UBAD began to do 44 years ago. In line with that tradition, Kremandala marches to its own drums. These are drums which are being beaten by the masses of the Belizean people, whom we began serving in 1969, and whom we continue to serve today.
Power to the people.