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Children of enslavers scold Thais forworking monkeys

FeaturesChildren of enslavers scold Thais forworking monkeys

by Colin Hyde

It is just preposterous for this PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to be organizing boycotts of coconut products from Thailand because they use monkeys, macaques to harvest the nuts. We’re in the coconut business, and going bigger. Well, I wouldn’t want us to steal any of Thai business, fill the gap where people initiate these crazy boycotts. Heck, seeing the great production from these macaques, I think we should start training our baboons. Those lithe little beasts are worth more than sights for tourists. Some days they could be let loose in the forests to get their pictures taken, and on other days they could be given a few bananas and put to work in the cocals. Of course, they get the weekends off.

I know I touched this story in parts before, but no fret, I’ll soon be getting back to the overzealous PETA. Some of us can shin up a coconut tree, but no human being kud match monkey. Eliza Barclay in a 2015 NPR story, “What’s funny about the business of monkeys picking coconuts?”, said monkeys have been harvesting coconuts in Malaysia for 400 years, and a male monkey can pick 1,600 nuts in a day, a female 600, while a human being can only take down 80. I must say she got the human number wrong. A boy or a wiry man could quite easily take down a hundred.

Barclay said Animal Place used terms like “exploitation” and “monkey slavery” to describe the role of monkeys in the industry. We know these European people are the experts on “exploitation” and “slavery.”

I got from the story that there’s a monkey training school in Thailand, that opinions on the treatment of the little beasts vary, that archaeologists report that monkeys in Egypt were used to harvest nuts, and that a source says coconuts kill about 600 people every year.

I was really disturbed when I came across the 2023 NPR story by Ayesha Rascoe, “Amid concerns of animal cruelty, HelloFresh will no longer source coconuts from Thailand.” Because of this pressure, the Thai government is “creating a program for picking coconuts that excludes monkeys.” A professor of anthropology at Oxford, Vincent Nijman, told Rascoe, “Pig-tailed macaques naturally would not pick coconuts. They can’t eat coconuts. They’re too big. They’re too hard.” Nijman said that despite the efforts at domestication, the monkeys remain wild.

I don’t say that the pet lovers have a totally empty case. But sending monkeys up trees to harvest coconuts is a thousand times more humane than eating them. You know these PETA and others are vegan, so we can’t call them hypocrites. But we can tell them about the destruction of monkey habitats to grow crops to feed vegans.

UDP made Vallejos and Patt abandon Erwin

You remember John Saldivar, the choice of the Barrows and the, the “Caucus for Change” to lead the UDP into the 2020 general election. Well, I’m not aware of a word from him about the Definitive Agreement signed by Erwin. The UDP gang has washed their hands, leaving Erwin more alone than Roberto Baggio was, watching his do-or-die penalty sail over against Brazil in the 1994 World Cup final.

I bet the reason they sent Dean Barrow to the Senate meetings was to make sure Vallejos and Patt didn’t stray from that “we know nothing” party line. I suggest the next step is to call Dean to the table. Of course, that would be just for the fun of it. He won’t need to hide behind any terms of reference. He’ll honestly tell us that he was so consumed with scraping up funds to fight Covid that he had no clue how the Portico agreement was coming along.

Peyrefitte must have felt like he was playing for the rugby team when he put all his weight behind diverting the ball to the PUP. While he mightn’t know that the confidential Cabinet makes sense, he knows enough about leadership to know that the disaster in Southern Lagoon was his baby. In late February 2020 the helicopter went down, killing four. The helicopter and the men were in Mr. Peyrefitte’s ministry, and understandably he was grieving and embarrassed over what had happened. Add that to Covid, a story in which he provided daily theater, and we can easily see why the “Definitive” didn’t have his full attention.

Tracy said they were in the fifth stage of the process. Her head mi hot with all the cruise ports pressures. Biggest of all her problems was that she was the one who had to go to the House and sin her soul in June/July 2020 with the defense of another 10-year contract for Brad’s. A child of the waterfront, she knew Belize wasn’t getting the best deal. They say women are great at the multi-task. But maybe there was too much to juggle there, especially in the teeth of Covid, thus she too was not giving the “Definitive” sufficient attention.

Erwin wasn’t distracted. Ah, strikers are bold ones. If they aren’t, they very quickly get relegated to the bench for non-performance. The insurmountable fault in the deed is an exclusive zone he couldn’t give. He should have checked his numbers. Why 25 miles? Was that stuck in his head because he and the UDP had given Norwegian ALL of the south, locking out Commerce Bight for 25 years! A 6-mile radius would have cleared the path for Portico, and stay away from Stake Bank.

You can be the best striker in the world, but if the midfielders decide they aren’t going to pass the ball to you, the coach will soon ask you to hand in your boots. It’s a shame what the UDP is doing to Erwin.

Of course, it’s not impossible that the retiring Erwin got eager and went off on his own. But we know this Portico Definitive Agreement was very much alive in the last government, moving along its stages. In 2014, Heredia and Contreras had been to the Cannes Film Festival to promote Puerto Azul. They had given the green light to Harvest Caye, with the 25 years of cruise exclusivity. They had given the green light to Stake Bank. They were in discussions with Waterloo and Portico, and they had an MoU with Portico since 2017. And 2019 was heady in cruise tourism, a record year. The Portico project was under review when Covid came along and slowed down the world.

Whoa there, we need to slow down on the hysteria. Yes, we understand the position of the environmentalists, and Waterloo, and Stake Bank. But let us explore this Definitive Agreement line for line. So, what all was Portico to get that Harvest Caye and Stake Bank hadn’t gotten?

Overeager Kareem and Eamon let down big time with their weed bill

If Kareem and Eamon hadn’t decided to go for the whole hog, we would have a better weed law than the present decriminalization of 10 grams. Their ambitious law was easily foiled by Wade and his evangelical associates. The huge holes in the law allowed them to mix in legitimate concerns with our banking system. And they found allies in people who sell weed on a small scale because the law pitted them against big business, way too early; and people who like to smoke weed felt they were being railroaded by the strict measures that were put in the law to show the anti-weedists that it wouldn’t be a free for all.

Kareem and Eamon were overeager, I think, because of the need to bring foreign exchange to Belize. Remember, when this government came in we were flat broke, in such a desperate state that the government had to ask the unthinkable, ask our public employees to take a pay cut.

They were on the right path; the Americans just can’t continue with their discrimination of all things weed. It’s absolutely right to dissuade the smoking of weed, especially by the young. But, as their alcohol prohibition spawned criminality, murder, and corruption, so did the draconian outlawing of the herb.

It’s interesting that alcohol prohibition wasn’t as excessive as the outlawing of marijuana. History, in its story, “10 Things You Should Know About Prohibition”, said the law “forbade the ‘manufacture, sale and transportation of intoxicating liquors’”, but that when it was passed in 1920 it wasn’t illegal for one to drink alcohol they had at home, and that some wealthy people had quite a store in their house. History said some states refused to enforce the law, many governors “neglected to appropriate any money toward policing the alcohol ban … Maryland never even enacted an enforcement code, and eventually earned a reputation as one of the most stubbornly anti-Prohibition states in the Union,” and “New York followed suit and repealed its measures in 1923.”

They say this massive pressure on weed came straight from Richard Nixon’s desk. The Wikipedia says, “During the administration of American President Richard Nixon (1969–1974), the United States turned to increasingly harsh measures against cannabis use, and a step away from proposals to decriminalize or legalize the drug. The administration began the War on Drugs, with Nixon in 1971 naming drug abuse as ‘public enemy number one in the United States.’”

In 2021, marking 50 years after Nixon’s madness and racism, Jamila Hodge and Nazish Dholakia, in Vera, said that police in the US “make more than 1.5 million drug arrests each year, and about 550,000 of those are for cannabis offenses alone.” The reporters said that people of color are disproportionately impacted by the law.

Continuing with the story in Vera, it says, “While the war on drugs was officially inaugurated by Nixon in June 1971, the United States has used drug laws to selectively target specific communities for more than a century. In the 1870s, anti-opium laws were aimed at Chinese immigrants. In the 1910s and 1920s, anti-cannabis laws introduced in the Midwest and Southwest targeted Mexican Americans and migrants.”

The story said a top Nixon aide, John Ehrlichman, revealed in a 1994 interview that was published in 2016, that the war on drugs targeted Black people and hippies. Ehrlichman said, “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

Let’s be clear: all sane people accept that intoxicants, all drug use should be discouraged, except where they are prescribed by doctors who are sober.

Kareem and Eamon were on the right path. The Americans just can’t continue with their unjust weed pressure. But the bill/law had holes. One of those threatened small sellers. The day will come when weed prohibition will be dashed. When that day comes, small sellers will have to decide if they will join forces to protect their turf from big businessmen, or grumble while big shops make all the sales.

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