There are some people who say that if they have control of a child in his/her formative years, then they have control of that child forever. My column today is not about all the political turmoil that?s going on: my column, strangely enough, is reminiscences of my childhood and the person who had the greatest impact on me during the time I was reaching the age of reason.
My grandfather, Wilfred ?Poppa Bill? Belisle, died when I was about 9 or 10 years old. He died alone at Spanish Caye, and he had been dead for a few days when he was found, so they had to bury him out there. A couple weeks ago, I visited Spanish Caye for the first time in a couple years. The southeastern part of the caye, the Belisle side, where Poppa Bill was buried, has washed away over the years and during two big hurricanes ? Hattie in 1961 and Greta in 1978. So Pa Bill is a part of the sand and the sea in a way which is timeless and mysterious.
I guess every organization needs a hatchetman, someone who will deliver distasteful messages or perform unpleasant assignments. The largest organization in Belize is the public service, and in my time the man considered to be the ruling PUP?s no. 1 hatchetman was a man called ?Michael John? Hulse. Wherever he is, I want to tell him, ?no hard feelings,? but Michael Hulse did the hatchet job on me one time in a memorable way.
The case of Soup Williams bothers me, and it should bother all of us who are true Belizeans. The purpose of semi-professionalism in sports was to save talented young Belizean athletes from the exact fate which befell Soup ? crime and violence and jail. But powerful interest groups in Belize are opposed to professionalism in sports in an intransigent, though diplomatic, manner, and they have undermined professionalism to such an extent that pre-professionalism Belizean athletes are always expressing public and nostalgic longing for the supposedly good old days.