There were a couple developments this week which underline just how important Kremandala has become, while throwing a spotlight on the diversity of political roles being played by Kremandala affiliates.
Kremandala occupies four buildings on Partridge Street, one of which is rented. Kremandala includes the Amandala newspaper, which is a personal proprietorship, and KREM Radio and KREM TV, which are limited liability companies. On the upper floor of one of the Kremandala buildings sits the African and Indian (Mayan) Library, which is administrated by the UBAD Educational Foundation (UEF). Most of the recurrent expenses of the library are financed by Kremandala.
On Wednesday of this week, February 20, we were informed that Mose Hyde, the general manager of KREM TV, was being offered a position on a high profile and sensitive statutory board by the new UDP government. Two days later, on Friday, February 22, Mark Espat was one of the three area representatives nominated for leadership of the Opposition PUP, and his primary support came from the Lake I area representative, Cordel Hyde. Mose Hyde and Cordel Hyde are brothers, and Mark Espat is their brother-in-law.
Of the ten men elected to the last formal UBAD executive in 1972, three of us are still in frequent contact. These are myself, Rufus X, and Wilfred Nicholas, Sr. Rufus X comes out of a background which is fundamentally UDP, while Brother Nick has a history which is substantially PUP.
On Saturday morning, February 23, we three UBAD sat with a couple younger brothers, men who had been active in the Los Angeles area under the tutelage of Ismail Shabazz and the late Edgar X Richardson (two former UBAD officers), and held wide ranging discussions which lasted for almost three hours. (One of these two younger brothers is an elected UDP official.)
There are certain issues which are above party politics. All Belizeans, whether red or blue, wish for the Guatemalan claim to be ended. All we Belizeans want a reduction of crime and violence. We want as many of our children to be educated as highly as possible. We seek an improvement in housing conditions nationwide, and we require and demand better health care for the Belizean people.
In the post-independence era in Belize, general elections have featured two major political parties which offer similar development philosophies. Those similar philosophies are free market capitalism, foreign investment, focus on tourism, and support for church-controlled education. The single issue which decided the February 7 general elections in favor of the UDP, was PUP government corruption, the UDP being elected on the promise that they would provide honest government.
Mose Hyde’s decision on the board invitation from the new Barrow administration is an important one not only for himself, but also for Kremandala, and definitely for Mark and Cordel. Mose, who has spent all his working life at KREM Radio (since November 1989) and of late at KREM TV, has become the most credible voice on Southside Belize City, especially among those younger generations who have no memory of UBAD. He has sought direction from me on this board matter. But Mose is now a grown man, and it would be unfair, unwise and unprofitable for me to intervene.
Mose’s role in Belizean public affairs (which always end up as party politics) became a matter of election campaign concern for Cordel Hyde’s PUP committee in Lake Independence. I really don’t believe that Mose is a UDP, no matter how much it so appears. I sincerely believe him to be a UBAD.
So, you younger folk will ask – what is “a UBAD”? UBAD was the organization, founded in February of 1969, which established the Amandala newspaper, which in turn established KREM Radio, the UEF, and KREM TV. So UBAD was the foundation of Kremandala.
In 1973, UBAD was divided by major party politics. Half the executive, including Rufus X, went UDP. The other half, including myself and Brother Nick, remained UBAD, but ended up in a PUP alliance two years later.
UBAD was indigenous, authentic and nationalistic. UBAD paid no allegiance to any foreign ideology, organization or state. These are characteristics which apply to Kremandala. The key is financial independence. This financial independence derives from the loyal support of the Belizean people.
Kremandala has taken political positions in the past, and in fact was in an alliance with the PUP from 1994 to 2004. When we support the PUP, it is normal to expect those of our supporters who are pro-UDP, to disapprove. And, vice versa.
Through the years, Kremandala has maintained a credibility which today is best represented by Mose Hyde. Some PUP spokesmen have damned him as a UDP, but that charge does not stick amongst roots Belizeans.
For sure Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde are PUP, but they are the ones who have paid the greatest price, since December 2004, for trying to get the PUP back on the party’s foundation social justice track. One presumes that they were rewarded for this sacrifice by the Belizean people’s returning them to the House of Representatives for third consecutive terms.
The Rt. Hon. Said Musa has blamed the media for bringing down his government, and no doubt Mose Hyde is one of those media figures with whom he and his cohorts are not pleased. More than that, I have heard that some of Mr. Musa’s family members express anger with myself, on the grounds that Said had always been friendly to Kremandala. They appear to be accusing I man of ingratitude.
In response to that, I will say that all the evidence points to the fact that the people of Belize had become very angry with Mr. Musa’s government. Are the people just stooges of the media, or were the people seeing things for themselves as they went about their daily lives?
In the days leading up to election day on February 7, I thought more than once or twice on Rennick Reneau. Rennick’s family is foundation PUP. I grew up next to this family on Church Street when I was a child. Rennick’s uncle has been the chief printer of Amandala for years. Rennick briefly played on our UB semi-pro basketball team. Everybody in Belize City knew Rennick.He was the messenger for The Belize Times for many years. Then he became the office assistant at the PUP’s Positive Vibes radio station on Coney Drive.
Rennick disappeared one Saturday night/Sunday morning, and the following Monday evening police were about to dispose of an “unidentified” body found on the Vista Del Mar entrance road when one of Rennick’s relatives suddenly appeared and identified his body.
Rennick had been involved in a fight with a policeman the Saturday night. There was a strong suspicion that a police squad had “disciplined” the friendly and very popular young man. When Rennick’s mother began to call the radio stations and raise a fuss, she was threatened, seriously threatened. She backed off.
But the roots people of Belize did not forget Rennick. They filed his case in their memories as a frightening reminder of what life was becoming like in Belize. The people of Belize became desperate for a change. That is what the voting choices on Thursday, February 7, told the nation and the world.
It had reached a point where people like me believed that you could be killed by big people and nothing would come of it. I can’t guarantee that that situation will change under the new government. What I’m saying is that the majority of the Belizean people felt that something had to be done. The people of Belize did the only thing they felt they could do.