Hitler read this Note and signed it without demur.
Chamberlain returned to England. At Heston, where he landed, he waved the joint declaration which he had got Hitler to sign, and read it to the crowd of notables and others who welcomed him. As his car drove through the cheering crowds from the airport, he said to Halifax, sitting beside him, “All this will be over in three months”; but from the windows of Downing Street he waved his piece of paper again and used these words, “This is the second time in our history that there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time.”
– pg. 286, THE SECOND WORLD WAR, Vol. I, THE GATHERING STORM, Winston S. Churchill, Houghton Mifflin, New York, 1948
Well now, here come the Easter holidays, and for sure Belizeans, especially younger ones, will be drinking and drugging and partying. We wish, nevertheless, that you take time out this week and weekend to read the following editorial, and that you do so carefully. Our country is in danger.
Over the near 47 years of its existence, this newspaper has fought, from time to time, with every single government administration, from those of Mr. Price through those of Dr. Esquivel and those of Mr. Musa to the present ones of Mr. Barrow. When our political leaders are under attack, they make emotional appeals to their party members and supporters in order to inflame them, to turn them against the sources of the attacks. Political leaders will seek to convince their party faithful that the attacks on themselves are personal in nature. In fact, the counterattacks they will launch on their critics are invariably personal in nature. This is politics in Belize.
It is very, very difficult for the major party faithful to be fair to anyone who is criticizing their leaders, but if the faithful of the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) were to be fair, they would agree that this newspaper has not commented that much on the controversial performance of Belize’s Foreign Minister, Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington. For a few years now, criticisms of Mr. Elrington’s performance have been more a feature of the electronic branches of Kremandala, from our radio and television editors and journalists, but since all three businesses (newspaper, radio, and television) are under the same chairmanship, you may argue that we are only splitting hairs when we make the point of the previous sentence. We made the point, however, because we want to say that we have taken our time at this newspaper to reach where we are today with respect to our opinion of Mr. Elrington’s performance, and we therefore wish for you to take us seriously. Our country is in danger.
With absolutely no humor intended, let it be said that we have reached the editorial point where we must wonder if the Guatemalan Foreign Minister, Carlos Raul Morales, has cast some kind of hypnotic spell over Belize’s Foreign Minister. Really. A pattern has emerged where Belize is always leaning over backwards to facilitate Guatemala, where the Belize Foreign Minister’s opponents are more Belizean (the Belize Territorial Volunteers and the Belizean media) than they are Guatemalans, and where it seems as if a noose is being tightened around Belize’s neck.
About a quarter century ago, you know, the power brokers in Guatemala reached the conclusion that their elected President, Jorge Serrano, was selling them out to Belize. The Guatemalans did not speculate as to whether Serrano’s Belizean counterpart, Belize Prime Minister George Price, may have cast a spell or worked some kind of necromancy on Serrano: what they did was run Serrano out of town. (He now lives in exile in Panama.) But, you see, that is Guatemala. This is Belize. Over there, they act. Here, we speculate.
Our editorial opinion on this Guatemalan matter is probably different from that of all of Belize’s political leaders. We believe that Belizeans should be prepared to fight this fight for sovereignty and territorial integrity from generation to generation, until forever. The Guatemalans will never ever surrender Belize. They believe Belize is theirs. They have convinced themselves of this. They enshrined this claim in their constitution, and every day they teach their children in school that Belize belongs to Guatemala. What makes the Guatemalans even more intransigent, is the fact that the whole region now knows that Belize is one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the entire world. This is The Jewel.
Back to Mr. Elrington. An exemplary family man and an upstanding member of our community, he remains a strange individual. This was famously framed in Cabinet one day by Dr. Manuel Esquivel during his second term (1993-1998): “Sedi doesn’t know whether he wants to be Hugo Chavez or Bill Gates.”
What did Dr. Esquivel mean? Well, the facts are that Sedi became a multimillionaire attorney selling passports and alienating Belizean land during the first Esquivel administration (1984-1989). But, he continued to “roll” with the late Bert Tucker, an international black activist who had worked with the socialist Michael Manley government in Jamaica and the socialist Maurice Bishop government in Grenada. And, when Assad Shoman, a doctrinaire socialist, walked out of People’s United Party (PUP) electoral politics after the PUP’s defeat in 1984, and began a more direct and militant social activism in the Society for the Promotion of Education and Research (SPEAR), Sedi Elrington played a high-level executive role in SPEAR. Dr. Esquivel, in other words, was suggesting that Wilfred Elrington has a split personality.
Whatever the case – hypnotism, necromancy, or split personality, the time has come for Mr. Elrington to be moved to a less critical Cabinet Ministry. Belize is in a state of diplomatic war with Guatemala, and we need a stud to lead our charge. Yes, Jimmy Morales, we do have some studs over here, and one of them lives in Havana. His name is Assad Edgardo Shoman, Ph. D.
Now, let’s get this straight. On Partridge Street, we’ve been “sleeping wid wi own eye” for near 47 years. All we’re saying is that we would prefer for Assad to do our talking to Carlos Raul instead of Sedi. Straight up. Our country is in danger. Sometimes, you know, it’s not even what you say: it’s how you say it.
We can’t help but remember last year when Belize was going to play the Cayman Islands in World Cup qualifiers. A UDP Cabinet Minister who owned a local football club had been in a fuss with Belize’s best striker a few months before. As a result of the Cabinet Minister’s grievance, and you well know how powerful Belize’s Cabinet Ministers are, the local football officials were too intimidated to make the arrangements for Deon to play against the Caymans. Belize barely survived that series. The Belizean people became very angry. Pressure made it so that we sent our best to the Dominican Republic. Check the stats.
We don’t know how the British people went about replacing Chamberlain with Churchill in May of 1940. After all, no bombs are dropping on Belize City. Not yet. But, Belize is in danger. Therese Belisle Nweke can see that all the way from West Africa. Beryl Young can see that all the way from the United States of America. If you can’t see that and you’re right here in Belize, maybe you ought to check Dr. Hoy or Dr. Hegar. This here is serious business, beloved.
Power to the people. Remember Danny. Big up, Wil.