Despite its verdant fertility so much of the colony had been turned over to the production of sugar that Jamaica, by the middle of the nineteenth century, was heavily reliant upon imported American foodstuffs.
– pg. 381, BLACK AND BRITISH: A FORGOTTEN HISTORY, by David Olusoga, Macmillan, 2016
The peasant-based agricultural economy that the free black people of Jamaica were proposing might well have been the answer to the island’s economic plight. However, the governor and the men of the Colonial Office were wilfully blind to their proposition and incapable of envisaging Jamaica’s future as lying outside the production of sugar on great estates. Their priority was to maintain on the island a large pliable landless workforce ready to be deployed once the sugar economy began to revive – a day which never came. All other alternatives, especially those that involved some degree of black autonomy, were discounted out of hand and what little investment that was in the island went into providing new roads linking the great estates to one another and to the ports.
– pg. 383, ibid.
It is a somewhat optimistic proposition for you to expect the same person who enslaved/colonized you to teach you how to liberate yourself. European-controlled education amongst formerly enslaved/colonized societies, such as Belize, has not served to liberate the native peoples. Instead, what such education has done is to create an elitist class of natives whom Frantz Fanon referred to as the “national bourgeoisie.” Remember now, when the Europeans began to educate us natives, the intention of the Europeans, apart from converting our ancestors to European religious beliefs and practices, was to create a class of trained natives who would be loyal to the Europeans and lower the Europeans’ cost of administration in their occupied territories.
The bottom line, historically speaking, was that the European was a conqueror, and we African and Mayan descendants have never reversed that conquest militarily. In our quest for Belizean self-rule after World War II, we Belizeans sought to reverse European conquest politically, which the Europeans permitted, granting us self-government and independence in 1964 and 1981, respectively. It is clear today that we did not reverse European conquest economically, and one of the reasons for this is that the educated national bourgeoisie, led by the attorney/politicians of the PUDP, have enriched themselves, their families, and their cronies, and left the masses of our people in poverty and ignorance. Thus and meanwhile, the question of liberating ourselves militarily in Belize has never been asked, much less answered.
Now we see, on this February 9 of 2017, that we are being threatened militarily by the republic of Guatemala at the same time that we are being crushed economically by the financial empire of Lord Michael Ashcroft. Both the Guatemalan oligarchy and Lord Ashcroft’s financial empire may be considered as expressions of international white supremacy, that white supremacy which was always the rub.
In Commonwealth countries like Belize, we natives speak of our two-party parliamentary democracies with reverence, as if our parliamentary democracies were the be-all and end-all of freedom and sovereignty. The reality is that the British, who were our enslavers and colonial masters, did not begin to develop the parliamentary democracy they gave us in the twentieth century, for themselves until the middle of the seventeenth century, when Oliver Cromwell beheaded Charles I, King of England. (Eleven years after that, incidentally, in 1660 England restored the monarchy.) During their previous six and a half centuries of national life, England had been a monarchy, and often an absolute monarchy, sometimes a “divine right” monarchy. When the British began to conquer and enslave us, they were a monarchy – a violent, aggressive, brutal monarchy.
In a case like Belize’s, our so-called, fanciful parliamentary democracy, with its two dominant political parties, has blinded us to the fact that the absolute enemy of African and Mayan peoples remains international white supremacy. For us on Partridge Street, the classic example of how blind we are occurred in early 1973: half the executive of the UBAD (United Black Association for Development) Party made a decision based on the fact that they believed the ruling People’s United Party (PUP) to be the ultimate enemy. Today, the United Democratic Party (UDP) which half the UBAD leadership supported in 1973, is as much a collaborator with international white supremacy as the PUP could ever have been.
Our essay’s thesis is that the national liberation of Belize will not come from our educated classes. They have been seduced and co-opted. To understand the real national liberation potential of Belize, you have to study the Ex-Servicemen’s uprising of 1919 and the Antonio Soberanis’ rebellion of 1934. But neither of these two critical events is studied and discussed in our Belizean school system. The educators of Belize cannot think for themselves: they are always waiting for instructions. The same applies to our attorney/politician leaders: they are always waiting for instructions, instructions from international white supremacy. And so, the national bourgeoisie grow wealthy, while the people suffer and Belize is threatened militarily from the west and financially from inside our own supposedly sovereign territory.
Presently, we have our educated attorney/politician Foreign Minister declaring that he and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will save us from Guatemala’s military threat, but no one from his UDP Cabinet has stepped forward to explain how he or she will protect us from Lord Ashcroft’s financial bombardments. And, what is really the difference between Guatemala and Ashcroft at the end of the day? If Ashcroft continues to bring us to our knees financially, don’t you understand that more and more of our people will become interested in the Seventeen Proposals? It’s Scylla out west, and Charybdis within, while our educated leaders follow instructions, and wait for more ….
This Saturday night, the Belize City Council will be staging a free concert for the young people of the population center. This being a time of Belizean national crisis, we can’t help but place this concert in the classic category of bread and circuses. More than that, as we consider the circumstances of what led to Morant Bay in Jamaica in 1865, we must go back to the decision made by our government to crush BGYEA at Harmonyville. Tell it like it is, Ras Indio. Some people here, educated people, are following instructions from international white supremacy. That’s how it’s looking to us on Thursday, February 9, 2017, which just happens to be the 48th anniversary of UBAD.
Power to the people.