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Belizeans and BelAms

FeaturesBelizeans and BelAms

by Colin Hyde

Ms. Sylvia Waight, daughter of Anselm Waight, a top cyclist of yore who is credited with leading the charge to make the Cross Country a one-day race, treks to the finish line annually with a giant Belizean flag and a prayer that one, first across the line will be one of our boys, and two, that it is her flag that will be draped around his proud shoulders when he makes the rounds after winning Belize’s greatest athletic prize. No Bel/Am will wear Sylvia’s flag! Ms. Sylvia noh deh wid dehn, not in Cross Country.

Ms. Waight is the kind of lady who can smell out a dangling participle, whatever that is, doesn’t mix up her Who and Whom, and can speak Spanish too, not Spanglish. She is not about mutilating language, and is merciless on those who do. Any hopes for Bel/Am ended when Justin Williams won the garland and she said he said “they”, not “we.” I don’t know the gentleman, but if you come to Belize year after year for the great race I’m pretty certain he would have said WE if he knew THEY would make some people question his love for us. For the record, my order of finish is 1, Belizean, 2 BelAm, and dead last, Guatemalan, until their country stops claiming our land.

The Bel/Am isn’t a 100% home product. We could never have produced a Marion Jones. Some people say it is lack of dedication, and insufficient nutrition that keeps us from the top. There are many factors that go into producing a world class athlete, and a not insignificant one is the medicine. Serious athletes test their bodies to the limit. It is the athlete who can train the hardest who will be highest on the podium.

The Belize/BelAm story is deeper than a big race on Holy Saturday. Some Bel/Ams have been agitating for political power for years. One of their arguments for a greater share of the franchise is the millions in remittances. It is great for Bel/Ams to remember home, send funds for children and elders, and invest in projects that create wealth and jobs. Some Bel/Ams have developed cutting edge talents in medicine, engineering, management, mathematics – what they say, if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere – so it’s natural that they feel they know more than we do about getting things done.

There are people who leave and shake the dust off their feet. Who can blame a guy who got dumped by a girl if he never wants to set foot back here again? It’s fair to say, that’s life. But many Bel/Ams dream of returning, and when they return they want it announced at the PGIA, he/she’s back! Yap, they want that welcome mat, and they should get it, red carpet, kill the fatted calf.

All our governments have reached out to Bel/Ams to get them interested in investing in their old home. There are many Bel/Ams out there who are at the top of their professions in fields that can forward Belize. It is good that they aspire for a greater say in the management of our affairs. I think there’s plenty of space in the House of Representatives for Bel/Ams from the main population areas, in Illinois, New York, Florida, and California. Of course, they shouldn’t be allowed to vote. They could have impact even though officially their yay or nay will be ignored.

America wants Bel/Ams. We want them too.

SSSC wanted Bally Gegg

A mystery has been solved; the nation now knows why David Gegg ducked, dodged, slipped out of the noose the Senate Special Select Committee (SSSC) set for him. Aha, Gegg told Channel 7 he would have been eager to show, but he didn’t want to meet Janelle. You’ll have to look up the 7 transcript yourself to find the reason for the scorn there. Mr. Gegg had another gripe, one I can discuss, and that is that the SSSC really didn’t want him. Ah, the man they wanted, I think he is prey they can’t get.

David Gegg said he found a letter on his driveway addressed to Edgar Gegg. I am aware of David, Francis, and Angela, because they are all very public people. I’ll tell you about the only Edgar Gegg I know of, but before going there, what’s with David “opening mail” not addressed to him? I gather that he did – how else would he have known that Janelle wanted to meet him? Yes, we have heard he didn’t want to meet her.

I don’t know if David Gegg can be excused for opening that letter, but a judge might consider it mitigating that Edgar, popularly known as Bally, is his dad, and he’s been gone since ten plus years. I’ve heard it said someone said in court that circumstances alter cases, and there’s a whole new ballgame here. Hmm, we can only imagine the trepidation, wait, that’s anticipation in David when he fumbled open the missive. And the bloody disappointment when he found out there was no fat check or blue notes in it, and it was intended for him from a lady he doesn’t want to meet.

For those of you who are too young to know, Edgar “Bally” Gegg was a quite famous businessman, the owner of the now closed Vogue. Bally Gegg was in the Catholic hierarchy, and Ambergris Today credits him with the founding of the popular bazaars, the ones with the fish pond, at Holy Redeemer. Ambergris Today said he also had a cameo in the movie Dogs of War, and got to shake the hands of Queen E.

Comrade David Gibson!

I knew of David long before I met him, that he was the nephew of Miss Alice Gibson, who was a close friend of my father’s family and related to my mother’s family, and that David used to go on caye trips with his aunt and the older members of my family. I met David in Belmopan, when I was a young adult. At the time he was already a big man in public service ranks, and everybody knew he would climb as high as he wanted to. He did, serving as Ambassador, and I think CEO in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. XTV News said he also lectured at UB in the History Department.

Like Ambassador Jim Murphy, who died earlier this year, David helped prepare the way for Belize to meet Guatemala at the ICJ. Ambassador Murphy wrote a couple books on the Belize-Guatemala Differendum, and David served for years in the Secretariat that worked on the diplomatic front. When he retired from government he formed CSSPAR (Centre for Strategic Studies, Policy Analysis and Research) a think tank that focused on improving our governance. That legacy is archived, so we can turn to those reports for a better understanding of how our country works, and for ideas about how to make it better.

David was left leaning, so he was “Comrade” to all of us who liked Fidel. He was a brother who loved sharing his knowledge, and he stood his ground when facing detractors without ever getting angry.

When we voted YES to go to the ICJ, many complained that the government unfairly used its finances to sway support to go. Many notables stepped forward to champion the YES position. David was YES, but he wasn’t much in the pulpit, and that might have been because he was uncomfortable with the fact that the NO side was out financed by the YES side 10 to 1. But he was YES; he made us know where he stood, and among the YES there was no more credible voice than his because Belizeans knew that he knew his job, that he did his job without fear or favor, and that his integrity and love of country and people was steadfast.

I will tell you flat out that I believe if David had said NO, then NO it would have been.

My sincere condolences to all the family and friends of this great Belizean patriot!

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