In late February of 1998 an attack was made on the KREM Radio broadcast tower on Partridge Street. It was not the first such attack which had been made on the tower, but the cold-blooded and sophisticated nature of the February 1998 attack was noteworthy.
At that specific time, Kremandala was in a battle with the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP). Apart from the fact that Cordel Hyde, the second son of the Kremandala chairman, was about to contest the seat in the Lake Independence constituency as the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) candidate, in September of 1997, the UDP Minister of Housing, Hubert Elrington, had called for the KREM Radio license to be revoked because of a controversial KREM sports broadcast. Perhaps coincidentally, and perhaps not so coincidentally, Mr. Elrington was the incumbent UDP area representative and standard bearer for Lake I.
The political climate in February of 1998 was such that the ruling party had to be considered the primary suspect. The cold-blooded and sophisticated nature of the attack, however, was, to repeat, remarkable, and suggested some kind of foreign participation.
Kremandala attracts special attention from significant foreign parties because it is a powerful media house which is not controlled by, or subservient to, the national or regional oligarchies. Kremandala takes positions on major issues which are not in line with the thinking of the World Bank, the international Monetary Fund, the Organization of American States, and other such bodies with whose instructions the two major Belizean political parties usually comply. Kremandala is a problem for powerful people and institutions, so it is common for stumbling blocks to be placed in our way.
Where Kremandala is located on the Southside of Belize City, which is a violent and economically depressed area, Kremandala appears to be on top of its game. Because of the various stumbling blocks, however, we must always keep reminding the people of Belize that it is their support which makes our daily and weekly performance possible. For Kremandala, there are never any guarantees.
When you are in a prolonged battle with forces which are manifestly more powerful than you are, one of the things you have to guard against is becoming paranoid. If you are not naïve, you will have a good idea of what your enemies are capable, but you can never be completely sure. After all, your enemy may have developed new technological capabilities, or he may have acquired new allies. Your enemy may even have seduced one or more of your allies and won him/them over to his side. Because you can never be sure of just how much your enemy is capable, or just how far he is prepared to go, there are instances where you experience stumbling blocks which you may be inclined to see as your enemy’s doing. You have to be careful, however, because if you make a public accusation and your enemy can show that you are mistaken, then you will sacrifice credibility. In the battle of ideas and information, your credibility is absolutely important.
There are different struggles going on in Belize. In a broad sense, these struggles involve regional and international investment capital entering Belize, with massive tax concessions, in search of profits. This investment capital is supposed to bring so-called economic development for the native, roots population of Belize, but Belize’s native, roots peoples are not sure the benefits promised to them will be fair and sustainable. After all, we have seen investors pack up and leave after a while. Williamson did it. The oil companies come and go. Not only that, after they establish themselves, sometimes the international investment capitalists move the goal posts. That appears to be what American Sugar Refining did.
The UDP and PUP electoral politicians of Belize have both said that this international investment capital is what they seek. We know that the electoral politicians require large amounts of money for their various political activities and campaigns. We know that the political parties have historically made corrupt deals with foreign direct investors which benefit individual politicians and their political parties, but which harm the country and people of Belize.
The independent media house tries to stand for the country and people of Belize. Once a house has credibility, the Belizean people support it. This has been the case with Kremandala. Often, Kremandala becomes involved in disputes with politicians and political parties. These are difficult disputes for Kremandala. The forces which support the major political parties can write huge checks which represent what is called materia de guerra. The Belizean people cannot write such checks. Many times, Kremandala has to scramble and scrape for sustenance. We believe in the people, and the people have always been there for us.
Power to the people. Power in the struggle.