When we were growing up in Belize City in the 1950?s and 1960?s, the old capital was predominantly black, and it was a tough place. The so-called Spanish families were a minority, and I would venture to say they would have encountered ethnic pressure in the old capital. Sometimes they were called ?corn?, or worse, ?Pania?, or even ?yellow belly Pania.?
We so-called Creoles knew absolutely nothing of the history of the people we called ?Spanish?, except that we celebrated a battle every September 10thin which we were taught that our ancestors had beaten them with ?pocono boy? sticks. We knew nothing of the Caste War in the Yucatan in the last half of the nineteenth century, and we were completely unable to differentiate between ?Spanish? and ?Maya.?
Powerful factions within the ruling PUP and the Opposition UDP are working together to put a propaganda hurt on me. This is Wednesday morning, and I want to wait until their material is put in print, which would be Thursday morning, before I respond. So my response would have to be next week.
We have seen powerful factions within the PUP and the UDP work together before, most dramatically in the incredible case of Freetown area representative, Derek Aikman, who was declared a bankrupt and expelled from the House of Representatives in 1992. This case still has me shaking my head in disbelief, because Derek Aikman was simply one of the most spectacularly successful political campaigners Belize has ever seen.
Thinking about last week?s column over the long Labour Day weekend, I said to myself, there must be younger people who would wonder how an attempt to destroy public property could be described as ?heroic.?
I started trying to figure how it was that things had reached the point in May of 1972 between the ruling PUP and the young UBAD where we were thinking that it was only violence that the PUP understood.
In 1973 the Opposition went through a major metamorphosis, and I couldn?t make the adjustment, for whatever the reasons. Remember I was only 25, 26 years old, the inexperienced president of a three-year-old political party, unemployed, and angry after several Magistrate?s Court trials and two Supreme Court trials. In 1993 the Opposition metamorphosed from the National Independence Party, led by Philip Goldson, to the United Democratic Party, led by Dean Lindo.
You ever ask yourself the question why the old UCLA and NBA players who used to come to Belize every year to play expensive exhibition games and hold basketball summer camps for the children, don?t do this any more?
Do you remember when the lines to get into semi-pro basketball games at the Belize City Center used to stretch all the way down the Central American Boulevard and down Mahogany Street as far as McKesey?s Meats? That was 1992, the inaugural season for semi-pro in Belize.
There are several dates within the last seven months which will go down in Belize?s political history. The first is August 12, 2004. The second is December 28, 2004. The third is January 21, 2005. And the fourth will probably be March 18, 2005.
You know, if there had not been the story of Jorge Espat, older brother of Mark Espat, I would probably be feeling major guilt where political developments involving Mark Espat since August 12 are concerned. I would feel guilt because, to my mind, Mark Espat appeared to be a political ?golden boy? before he got married to my youngest daughter in April of 2004. Less than four months later, Mark Espat was one of seven Cabinet Ministers who rebelled against Prime Minister Said Musa, and four and a half months later he was fired from Cabinet. Because people like me do not believe in coincidences, I would be saying to myself, if it were not for Jorge, that as soon as Mark Espat married my daughter, he got himself into trouble.
Since controversy and mistrust last year began to envelop the ruling faction of the People?s United Party, we have seen the PUP propagandists repeatedly trot out their Leader Emeritus, Rt. Hon. George Price, for photo opportunities and staged events along with the ?new? leaders. The PUP propagandists believe that once Mr. Price blesses anyone or anything, then that person or that event becomes sacred and inviolate in the conscious and sub-conscious of the party members and supporters nationwide.
Several Belizeans have been asking me what will happen in Belize in the next few weeks between the government and the unions. Everybody is trying to get everybody else?s opinion. It appears that there will be another round of confrontations between the government and the unions, and the chances are that these confrontations to come may be more bitter, more unpleasant than the confrontations between January 21 and February 11.
Between October 1972 and December 1977, the Unity Congress/UDP did a hatchet job on me which was devastating. Because it appeared personal, I took it personal, and the problem went on and on and on.
I think the people who dislike me the most in Belize are my own people, the people from whom I came ? the brown bourgeoisie. The main reason they dislike me is because they basically have a loyalty to the United Democratic Party, and they have been taught, since October of 1972, that I am all kinds of bad guy.
Every Christmas Eve for the last 25 years and more, a man by the name of Arturo Matus visits my home. We sit and talk for hours, and often we talk of things we have talked of many times before.
Mr. Matus is one of those ?Spanish? people whose family has been here for generations. Such Latin people have maintained the culture and religion their ancestors brought to Belize from Mexico, but they have grown used to black people and they interact comfortably with so-called Creoles.