Letters — 27 August 2013 — by Chriss Roggema

Dear Editor,

What, Mr. Chriss is quoting the Pope? Having had my kids going to school here in Caye Caulker was sometimes conflicting with what I was raised with. Not being Catholic, I would allow my boys to decide for themselves if they wanted to be part of the religious practices at the CCRC Primary School. That made a lot of people conclude that I was anti-Catholic. Being raised Dutch Reformed with old-fashioned Mennonite roots absolutely did not resonate with me anymore when I became a more conscious boy at 14. The Dutch Reformed were the supporters of apartheid and that was totally against what I felt was right for me.

The first Catholic priest I met sexually molested me and only because I reacted so quickly did I escape being raped. So later in life priests, pastors, preachers were not my favorite people I would want to socialize with. Organized religion really turned me off because of my experience with their representatives.

The Native American and the Mayan way were more what I resonated with, how I felt where my place in our universe was. So after having lived in 10 different countries with very different cultures, I came to Belize where I bought this land in Caye Caulker before I knew what Belize was about. My family thought I had gone around the bend. So when I came here with my oldest boy 25 years ago, we were having breakfast inside the Old Market at the Swing Bridge and he said: “So Pa, you really like it here, don’t you?” “I feel so at home here,” I answered him. And so we stayed. Destiny? Fate?

So when you live on a small island and you do not always fit the mode or the mould and you have enough happening in between your ears, it can become very small. Being used to a larger reality, I became very observant so I could understand “the ways.” I also see things other people don’t see and I have visions, where my spirit guides tell me things. I never thought much about this, until last month when a Belizean visitor to the island made a comment about it. But he was a Fairweather; they seem to be observant too!

Caye Caulker seems to be the place to relax. After all the elections the newly elected came to Caye Caulker for some days of rest. The publisher of the Amandala wrote in one of his editorials last month that anything critical to the Prime Minister here in Belize is always taken so personal and serious and that it stopped people from expressing their feelings about certain political decisions or political issues. I must agree with his statement because though the years I have written several political commentaries without daring to publish them. But I have always seen it like I was addressing the position of the PM, not necessarily the person. Most commentaries were about crime and drugs, the disrespect for the Mayan ancestral rights and certain political/economic decisions made like the Old Market at the Swing Bridge, and lately the drilling in the reserves and offshore, especially out at the Blue Hole.

Like X Hyde indicated, we have to say what has to be said. The truth has to come out; everything hidden has to come into the light. There are no more places in the present times to be dishonest, to have no integrity and to tell lies. Look at what’s happening in the States with Snowden and the NSA. Just do not get too surprised how many lies the company which runs Fukushima told and was supported in that by the Japanese government and corporate press.

Respect for the ancestors and respect for the people who care for the land. Time has come where people will have to step up and say: Come on guys, what’s the matter with you? Drilling in the sea outside the Blue Hole after it just has been called one of the 8 wonders of the world? Duh!? That’s what most tourists say when they hear about that! These are the tourists who spend thousands of dollars to go dive there!

Years ago when Mr.Musa had won the second election as Prime Minister, he came to Caye Caulker for a well-earned rest. His position was strong and secure politically and personally. One day I met him on the beach path with his wife and grandchild which one of my boys had played with before. I did not want to disturb their peaceful walk so I congratulated him with his election and wanted to continue on my path when I got a serious vision. I think he noticed something because it was very awkward.

Tell him SALEM MALEIKUM EFFENDI!, my guide tells me: DO YOU RECOGNIZE THE VOICE OF THE TRUTHSAYER? IF YOU DO NOT LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE OF BELIZE, YOUR ERA WILL END IN BLOODSHED ON THE STEPS OF PARLIAMENT!

So there you are, just had a nice swim with your kids on the beach and this happens to you on a bicycle ride home, meeting the most powerful man of the land who just got elected with this incredible majority. So, I shut up.

After the last election Mr. Barrow came to Caye Caulker for a break and I was around Front Street and had the opportunity to observe him for a while around the Sandbox at my family dinner. My wife’s aunt got to make a nice picture with him. She thought he was a very nice, sophisticated, well-mannered and pleasant man, and after my observations I agreed with her. You might remember her as the daughter of Buntin Fuller. A man who I heard had one thing in common with Mr. Goldson: he never would have sold out Belize or the Belizean people.

That was a different story some years before when Mr.Barrow or his office created the biggest havoc and turmoil in our family life for a very long time as representative for Barclay’s Bank. They did not dare to have me meet in the Supreme Court because they knew I was not going to shut up about what kind of criminal behavior the banks in Belize can come up with. In my writ to Dr.Conteh I had told him that I was looking forward to meet in court with the press present to explain my case. By some still unknown way my summons never did show up in Caye Caulker. I think Dr.Conteh smelled a rat and judged in my favor, but I never was allowed to express my dismay in the open. But sweet it felt when Barclay’s got sentenced years later for criminal practices and was sentenced to pay a fine of 455million US$ 455,000,000 -.nine hundred and ten million Belize dollars!

My feelings of resentment disappeared when I saw a picture of Mr. Barrow at the meeting of the Heads of States after the US elections to discuss the questions about drugs and law enforcement. He looked like the weight on his shoulders was taking its toll. First, to have your life partners discover they have cancer and seeing them go through the pains and stress of chemotherapy, I can imagine it must feel worse than going through it yourself. And before that he had a son in jail and not giving up on him; all that is a lot of strain on a man. So I felt compassion for him. I also can imagine that he got confronted with questions about marijuana for medical use when in chemotherapy, and that young people who go to jail for smoking weed not necessarily are criminals but that the law makes them criminals.

I even offered him a massage to relieve the pain in his back since I am a Belizean Licensed Massage Therapist specializing in pain relief. I never dared to publish the letter. BUT WHAT REALLY WILL TAKE THE WEIGHT OF YOUR SHOULDERS MR.BARROW IS THAT IF YOU WOULD LISTEN TO YOUR HEART! Not only listen to your financial advisors and lobby interests of the oil companies, Monsanto and other corporations who go completely against the interests of the people and our country.
Do you want to be remembered by another repeat of Wounded Knee? Or another New Horizon disaster? What will that do for our country? You think those oil people will live on the islands here in Belize after a spill? No way, they will move elsewhere! AND WHAT ABOUT ALL OF US HERE ON THE CAYES?

Or do you want to be remembered as being a compassionate father for your family, as a good example for the families of our country, one who respected the land and sea so we could have a future for our children in the generations to come, without that their future looks so diminished by the pollution of the oil industry and parts of our country run over by cruise ship tourists who barely know where they are and taking a lot more from us than giving us and bringing a lot more of their contamination to the waters around us?.

Or as a leader who took the country out of debt by using his sharpness in the legal profession and got back our national pride to reign over the richness and valuables of our own country instead of being manipulated by the old or new colonialists. A man with a social consciousness willing to invest in the most secure asset we have in our country, which is our children.

So now the quote of Pope Francis from a speech last month when he was visiting with the Native American Indians from the Amazonas and the bishops responsible for that region in Brazil where the Native Indian tribes are being encroached on by oil exploration and the burning down of the forest by corporate farmers who want to grow GMO soya beans where he called for: “RESPECT AND PROTECTION OF THE ENTIRE CREATION WHICH GOD ENTRUSTED TO MAN NOT SO THAT IT BE INDISCRIMINATELY EXPLOITED BUT RATHER MADE INTO A GARDEN.”

May the Peace of the Lord be with you! The offer for a treatment still stands.
Chriss Roggema Cocoplum Gardens, Caye Caulker. cocoplumgardens@yahoo.com.
Skype account#:chriss.roggema

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