The Southside Under?17 Basketball Tournament, which concluded on Tuesday night this week was a smashing success, and there are some lessons to be learned. The tournament was an initiative undertaken by the Albert area representative, Hon. Mark Espat, and the Lake Independence area representative, Hon. Cordel Hyde. They received no assistance from any of the other Belize City area representatives or standard bearers. There were teams from most of the Belize City constituencies, plus one from Hattieville, and teenagers from all 10 city constituencies participated.
When television entered Belize in the early 1980?s, we Belizeans found out, for the first time, that October 12 was celebrated in the United States as Columbus Day, in honour of Christopher Columbus and his ?discovery? of the New World in 1492. In the United States, it is Americans of Italian ancestry who primarily commemorate this day.
From the time we were British Honduras, October 12 was celebrated here as a so-called Pan American Day, a public and bank holiday, but only for the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts. So the sense we had as children was that this holiday was a ?Spanish? holiday. Sometime after self-government in 1964, we can?t say when, the October 12 holiday was extended to include the entire country of Belize. No one had ever explained exactly what was Pan American Day.
The public finances of Belize have become the private domain of Minister of Finance, Hon. Ralph Fonseca, to an extent which is unacceptable. That is our opinion. It is an opinion which we have had for some time, and it is an opinion for which we will be punished.
It is the Hon. Said Musa whom the people of Belize have elected to be the Prime Minister, and it is under his stewardship that Mr. Fonseca?s control over public finances has become unprofitable for the taxpayers of Belize. Mr. Fonseca first became larger than life during the Prime Ministership of Hon. George Price, during the 1989 to 1993 PUP administration.
For a couple weeks there had been speculation in PUP circles that the occasion of the Central Party Council on September 29 to mark the party?s 54thanniversary, would have been used by the party?s ruling faction to censure one or two of the leading ?troublemakers? in the PUP. The troublemakers are those Cabinet Ministers who threatened to resign on August 12 if some changes in the handling of public finances were not effected, and did resign on August 16, only to be reinstated on August 18 with two or three of their wings publicly clipped.
It had been felt within the ruling faction from Day One of the insurgency that Kremandala was a factor in the G-7?s show of energy. In the atmosphere of machismo that prevailed from August 12 to 18 within the PUP, there had been threats made against Partridge Street.
As we prepare to celebrate the 23rdanniversary of Belize?s Independence, it is a good time for some people to get the sense, or, to put it another way, be reminded of some fundamental Belizean facts. In the modern era, this territory was settled at the mouth of Haulover Creek of the Belize Old River, and things are still run from there.
Belize City, which arguably stretches north as far as Ladyville and west as far as Hattieville, has one third of the population of Belize and one third of the members of the House of Representatives. Belmopan was made the new capital because that?s where we go to play politics and shelter from hurricanes, but the real force in this nation is the delta force ? where the river meets the Caribbean Sea.
We may be wrong, but it seems that the Opposition UDP may have become a victim of its own hysterical fringe on Thursday afternoon, September 16, in the Senate.
Here?s what happened. Two UDP Senators, Ambrose Tillett and Marcel Cardona, were conspicuously absent from the extraordinary Senate sitting which was to choose 5 Senators to form a Senate Select Committee to examine the doings of the Social Security Board. But the third UDP Senator, Arthur Roches, sat throughout the sitting. Was he not informed that Tillett and Cardona were boycotting?
The nationalist PUP Leader, Rt. Hon. George Price, after taking over the leadership of the ruling party in 1956, felt that the Tenth of September celebrations encouraged division amongst the people of British Honduras. So the PUP began a National Day celebrations seeking to replace the colonialist-flavored Battle of St. George?s Caye.
Mr. Price and the PUP wanted to integrate the Mestizo and Mayan people of Belize into the nationalist quest for political independence. The way the Tenth of September had been presented, was as a day when Creole people used dories and ?pocono boy? sticks to beat off a naval attack by the ?Spanish? from Mexico. No one was interested in subtleties and complexities in colonial British Honduras. The leader of the ?Spanish? invasion was actually an Irishman by the name of Arturo O?Neil, but no one cared. The Baymen and their slaves had won a decisive battle on September 10, 1798. That was the propaganda bottom line.
When Marion Jones? 2004 Olympics ended in Athens last Friday with a botched baton pass in the 4x100 relays, the contrast with Sydney four years ago was, of course, stark. The contrast was exceedingly painful. In Australia in 2000, Marion won several gold medals and was the Olympics? greatest star. 2004 in Athens, Marion had not qualified for any of the sprints, finished fifth in the long jump, and, almost as a back door invitee in the unfortunate relays, exited Athens with a look of shock and disbelief on her face.
Between 1974 and 1984, Said Musa lost four out of five elections. (For purposes of this analysis, we classify the 1983 national convention of the ruling People?s United Party in which Hon. Said Musa challenged the incumbent, Hon. Louis Sylvestre, for the chairmanship of the PUP, as an election.) Mr. Musa was defeated as the PUP standard bearer in the Fort George constituency by the UDP?s Dean Lindo in 1974. He was defeated in 1977 as a member of the PUP?s Belize City Council slate. (The UDP won all nine CitCo seats.) Mr. Musa then won the Fort George seat in 1979, defeating Mr. Lindo. Said then lost when he challenged Mr. Sylvestre in that aforementioned 1983 PUP convention. And finally, he lost his Fort George seat to Mr. Lindo in 1984.