The Editor, Amandala
I refer to the article “From the Publisher” in the October 7, 2012 Amandala issue. He requested the opinion of his readers regarding a statement made by his late uncle who stated that he does not know why the British “noh come tek bak dehn country.”
My opinion on what the publisher’s late uncle was saying was that he was very much disappointed with the lack of progress in the country and, by extension, the lack of vision by the leaders of the two major political parties since we became an independent nation (in theory). I am of the opinion that the publisher’s late uncle, and so many of his peers, did not enjoy a lot of the condition under British rule but I opine to say that they could not overlook the fact that under such rule there was order in the way things were done in the colony.
My father, who was born the year World War Two ended, continues to boast that when he was growing up, the literacy rate was very high, the colony was very peaceful and we were able to produce many brilliant scholars who went on to pursue degrees in various disciplines at prestigious British universities.
Through reading and conversation with Belizeans who grew up in that era, I gathered that the Brits favored the “light skin” Creoles who they attempted to mold in their image and likeness and who the Brits favored to be their surrogates and who they favored to be the builders of this nation. In the 40’s, 50’s and even in the early part of the 60’s, the Creoles of Belize were the most dominant and most progressive ethnic group in the country; their success was the envy of other ethnic groups, especially the Hispanics, who were heavily discriminated against at the time.
After World War Two ended, there was a movement among English-speaking Caribbean colonies requesting independence from Britain. The Brits did not put up a strong opposition to the request because after the war was ended with Germany, Britain was in a financial crunch. The Brits, who are prudent when it comes to financial matters, gradually conceded to the request of some of their colonies, Jamaica and Trinidad being two of the first Caribbean colonies to attain independence from Britain.
In Belize, the movement towards Independence gained momentum after the war ended in 1945. This gradual movement towards independence would have helped us realize the “Belizean Dream” and it would have propelled us forward as a nation with a strong Caribbean identity, but agendas by powerful forces at the time tried to somewhat change the natural course that Belize should have taken. As a British colony at the time, it should have been only natural that we aligned ourselves with the West Indian Federation, of which I gather Belize was to play an important part. The University of the West Indies was supposed to have its headquarters in Belize in the late 40’s, but powerful forces at the time thwarted this effort, much to the detriment of our development. UWI is a prestigious institution that has produced some of the most prominent leaders in the region. Our country could have had scores of highly skilled professionals with effective leadership qualities that could have propelled this country forward. So one has to ask the question, was this move by the power structure at the time a deliberate attempt to change the natural course this country should have taken? I opine that it was a big mistake that’s stunting our growth to this day.
When the publisher’s late uncle made the statement, it was with a tone of frustration and disappointment at the type of leadership we are getting post-independence. He lived for so many years after British rule and he was not seeing positive changes towards the development of Belize. What he saw before he died probably scared him and made him really sad.
There are many days when I feel the same frustration that the publisher’s uncle was feeling. There are days when I feel so lost and displaced in my own country. There is a subtle change happening in this country and it makes me very uneasy. Factors both locally and internationally are causing a subtle change in this country. The political leadership we are getting after Independence (in theory) is not improving the lives of Roots Belizeans. I would never desire to be under oppressive British rule, but I get where the publisher’s late uncle was coming from when he stated he does not know why the British “noh come tek bak dehn country.” This should not be any consolation by any means but some Jamaicans are echoing the same sentiment. That’s my two cents.
Young patriotic Belizean