There are certain individuals in Belize who have proven themselves to be the most rank of villains in different spheres of our Belizean society, but these individuals move around in our society with absolute impunity. Why is this so? It is because these individuals are protected by powerful institutions and forces, and, because they are so protected, the disapproval, or even condemnation, of the Belizean people is of no account. Such is Belize.
Belize is a free market capitalist society which has produced some wealthy families and individuals. When one points fingers and calls names, then these families and individuals raise a hue and a cry, on the grounds that exposure of their wealth will endanger them. Since Belize’s criminals appear not to have yet developed any expertise in blackmail and kidnapping, one wonders if such danger would have to originate from across our borders. It is the poor who are in danger in Belize, we think, not the rich.
In a football tournament in Costa Rica in January this year, Belize’s footballers overachieved and qualified for the so-called Gold Cup tournament in the United States next month. We say “overachieved,” because Belize’s football programs are generally haphazard and poorly financed. The Central American teams against which the Belize selection competed have very well-organized and highly financed football programs. Plus, Belizean football had only last year managed to escape from the selfish, suffocating, and suspicious rule of one Dr. Bertie Chimilio.
The Belizean people, at home and abroad, were quite thrilled by our boys’ success in Costa Rica, but the new executive of the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) did not move quickly enough to exploit the Costa Rica success in financial terms.
When they finally managed to stage a fund-raising telethon last Saturday, the FFB’s approach to the telethon was a kind of socialist one. Their executive spokesman explained that the FFB’s goal was a half million dollars, and he reasoned that, it being the case that Belize had 300,000 people, if each person gave a dollar, then they would be more than halfway there.
It turns out, the FFB telethon raised a fifth of what a telethon for the disabled of Belize had raised just two weeks before, and the result of the FFB process had to have the majority of Belizeans shaking their heads in wonderment. For sure there are more questions here than there are answers.
We want to go back to the FFB’s approach to the fund-raising. That approach is in philosophical contradiction to the Belizean economic system. Yes, that approach was how UBAD raised the money to buy a Gestetner machine to establish a newspaper 44 years ago, but, for crying out loud, this is Belize’s national football selection. This is not some grassroots popular movement struggling against Belize’s socio-economic grain. This is Belize’s national football selection, and Belize is a free market capitalist society. Where are the wealthy individuals and groups which support such national football selections in every free market capitalist society around us? This, beloved, is the puzzle that is The Jewel.
If you wanted to be apologetic, you could say that Belize is only 33 years old, while the republics around us are almost two centuries old. That type of apologetic reasoning carries no weight, we submit, when we send our young football warriors out to represent us in the region. We are asking our young men to stand for Belize, against the odds, but you can measure THEIR love for Belize, or lack thereof, when you watch THEM refuse to support our national selection. In the use of the third person plural pronouns in the previous sentence, we are referring to those of wealth here.
Remember now, in the capitalist system a man does with his money as he wishes. Nobody gave it to him, he earned it himself, so he spends it to suit himself. The only question we, the people of Belize whose sons will represent us in America, have the right to ask those people of wealth is, where did you make that money and whose business do you solicit on a daily basis and whose goodwill is important to your lifestyle? It is our right to ask those questions.
Belize is a country divided by politics, religion, ethnicity, economics, class and desperation. We know that. It is because we know that, that when our young citizens achieve for us in a heroic and nationalist way, we should make the effort to support them. The people of Belize, by and large, are supporting our national selection. But, “anh who bex, could bex,” the FFB should not have started with the base of this financial pyramid. The FFB should have gone straight to the tip of the damn pyramid – where the money is. This is not a time for socialist experiments by the FFB. In the matter of the Belize national selection, let the rich pay for the poor. This is how everybody else does it.
Power to the people.