It is this newspaper’s belief that it is the Belizean Diaspora which will ultimately decide whether Belize becomes a real nation-state or is dismembered by harsh geopolitical realities. In light of this belief, we are impressed with the recent outburst of energized expression from various personalities in the Diaspora, who have been responding to specific criticisms from the very impressive, Belizean-based Major Lloyd Jones (retired).
When revolutions explode, seemingly out of nowhere, those who will end up dominating those revolutions are often anonymous, invisible when the first shots, literal or figurative, are being fired. In the beginning of the Haitian Revolution in 1791, the name being heard was that of Dutty Boukman: no one knew anything about Toussaint L’Ouverture. When the Mexican Revolution began in 1910, the name dominating the discourse was that of Francisco I. Madero. Today, it is Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata whom we know as the most famous Mexican heroes of that revolution. But, they emerged years after Madero.
We say that so as to remind those who are in the forefront of Diaspora activism today, that the likelihood is great that they will be forgotten down the road. This is a struggle that is in its infant stages, but there exists fuel for a kind of revolution here. And if that is so, then there are leaders who have yet to take the stage in the Diaspora. That would be the lesson of history.
This newspaper participated in two significant episodes of Belizean history. The first was in 1979, when we helped to save, for better or for worse, the Belizean campaign for political independence. Had the United Democratic Party (UDP) won the general election of 1979, then independence would have been delayed, the chances are there might have been a token land cession at the behest of Washington and London, and Belize’s history would have been different.
The second significant episode of Belizean history in which we participated, after helping to preserve Belize’s campaign for independence, was the first change of government, from People’s United Party (PUP) to UDP, which took place in December of 1984. We have said to you before that the PUP had become so powerful, having been infiltrated by multimillionaire drug traffickers, that PUP Leader, Rt. Hon. George C. Price, did not have to give up power, and he knew that. For the good of Belize, he chose to yield power to the UDP’s Rt. Hon. Manuel Esquivel.
1979 and 1984 were dangerous times for this newspaper. In 1979, most political observers expected the UDP to defeat the incumbent PUP, a result which would have marked this newspaper for destruction. And in 1984, to repeat, the PUP did not have to give up power: they could have ruled by martial law and they could have then destroyed this newspaper.
History had it so that the PUP won a surprise victory in 1979 and led Belize to independence, under martial law, in 1981. And history had it so that the UDP won in 1984, and then went on to win three of the next six general elections. Before 1984, the PUP had never lost a general election. For that reason, 1984 was epochal.
On a whole, Belizean politicians are individuals of mediocre intelligence and little achievement. When they are in power, however, Belizean politicians are among the most dangerous people in the territory. This is because the two major political parties constitute the largest, legal gang formations in Belize. All of you have heard their thugs say it publicly: Touch one, touch all! (By the way, if any of the politicians are offended by the “mediocre intellect, little achievement” reference, we would refer them to Arlie Petters, Kenrick Leslie, Marcelino Avila, Denzil Jenkins, Assad Shoman, et alii.)
Our thesis is that it is only the Belizean Diaspora which can unite the people of Belize, thus ensuring our nationhood. At this specific point, in contradiction of this thesis, demands for rights by the Belizean Diaspora are actually dividing the Belizean people along party political lines, but, in the first instance, those political divisions were already there, and in the second instance, there is a light at the end of this tunnel. The Belizean people have no idea what magnificent successes Diaspora Belizeans have become. The Belizean Diaspora itself has no idea of how powerful they are, or can be. That is because Belizeans in the Diaspora are splintered. The Belizean Diaspora is a sleeping giant. They have always been manipulated by the PUDP.
We Belizeans at home will tend to be hostile to the Diaspora, because we are, in a sense, intimidated by them. The fact of the matter is that Belize needs bulk – population bulk and capital formation bulk. There is no better, more appropriate place from which to acquire this population and capital formation bulk than from our very own Diaspora.
Roll out the welcome mat, Jack. The prodigal children are coming home. The return home is only symbolic, of course, and will remain so for decades to come. But, planet earth in 2014 is, whether you know it or not, a village. L. A. is next door, suddenly a direct flight. Belizeans, don’t be crying and moaning. You can’t keep people out of their own home. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, duly recognizing the immortal Robert Frost: home is where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in.
Power to the Belizean people.