JUDGE SAYS HYDE MUST PAY P.M. $10,000 AND SHUT HIS MOUTH! – headline in Amandala No. 667, Thursday, April 8, 1982
DRUG MURDER SUSPECT RELEASED! – BELIZE CITY, Fri. Aug. 27, 1982
As we went to press, reports here are that Eugene Thompson, 26, arraigned on June 2 for the Sunday night, May 16, 1982 Mafia-style slaying of Salvador Castellanos, 30, was quietly released a few weeks ago. No official reason was disclosed, but our reports are the police may feel they lack enough circumstantial evidence to present a prima facie case.
It is believed that Thompson’s arrest may have been a mistake.
It is not known whether Belize police are still seeking Belizean businessman Angel Espat, who has been reported as being seen in Chetumal by a local newspaper.
Eugene Thompson was Angel Espat’s driver. Espat was a partner in Belize Air Cargo Ltd. with Jorge Diaz Barrera, a Mexican narcotics trafficker killed in Texas last year. According to a local newspaper, however, Espat was also a high official in the Freetown division of the People’s United Party.
When the police sought him for questioning in connection with Castellanos’ murder after Thompson’s arrest, Espat fled the country.
– pg. 1, Amandala No. 687, Friday, August 27, 1982
There are two processes taking place in Belize these days which I want to address as we enter the New Year. One is an attempt to beatify/canonize the late Rt. Hon. George C. Price, and the other is a growing skepticism about Belize’s thirty years of political independence, this skepticism being noticeable amongst older generations of Belizeans.
In theory, political independence is supposed to be an unmitigated good, while colonialism is considered a total evil. What made Belize a situation which could not be considered in a purely theoretical construct, was the existence of the Guatemalan claim to Belize, a territorial claim which made Belizeans’ ambitions for independence appear at times impossible to achieve during the 1970’s.
In fact, as late as February 1978, the Opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) issued a statement declaring that independence for Belize should be deferred for a period of no less than 10 years. This was, if not a mammoth statement, certainly one of meaningful proportions, because there were general elections scheduled for 1979, and the UDP in February of 1978 definitely appeared to be on the verge of dethroning the vaunted, ruling People’s United Party (PUP).
In the Sunday, September 5, 2010 edition of The Guardian, Wellington C Ramos, one of that UDP government newspaper’s featured columnists, wrote as follows: “During the 1960s, the most feared group was the United Black Association for Development, better known as UBAD, under the leadership of Evan X Hyde. The Belize government decided that the only way to get rid of this group was to form the Belize Special Force. This force received one year of training which included six months of military training and another six months of police training. When they came to the city, they came to tackle the people who thought they were bad. They raided the UBAD headquarters on several occasions and every time they had them picked up and brought into the Police compound whenever they were seen walking the streets of Belize City. They were indicted on several charges … and after a period of years were forced to become a political party …”
Seven months before, in their editorial of Sunday, February 10, 2010, the now defunct National Perspective wrote: “Evan X Hyde is a wicked, wicked fellow, bar none. That is why there is no objection from this publication when the street has labeled Evan Hyde as a thief, rapist and murderer…”
Mr. Ramos’ Guardian column was inaccurate and hyperbolic. The National Perspective editorial was scandalous and defamatory. But, together, they made a point, which is to say, that an official UDP publication and an “old guard” PUP newspaper were both seeking in 2010, after their own fashion, to demonize yours truly. The only thing the National Perspective did not call Evan X Hyde, during their two years of existence, was “drug trafficker,” perhaps because there was an internationally convicted drug trafficker in the PUP Cabinet from 1974 to 1984. This was the stone the NP could not throw.
The National Perspective succeeded in getting material on the Internet concerning the 1982 libel trial wherein the plaintiff, Prime Minister George C. Price, represented by attorneys Derek Courtenay and Glenn Godfrey, sued the defendants, yours truly and Cream Limited, represented by attorneys Dean and Denys Barrow, in Supreme Court.
1981 was a year of great political turbulence in Belize and it was during the 1981 state of emergency, first declared in early April that year, that a blind journalist by the name of Gilbert Rivero brought copies of a Mexican magazine called Presencia to make available to Amandala, Reporter and Beacon, all three of which newspapers reproduced the Mexican article, without comment, in Belize. Mr. Price’s lawyers sued.
A Mexican drug trafficker by the name of Jorge Diaz Barrera had been killed in Houston, Texas. The Mexican magazine article about him claimed that Barrera drove a vehicle with Belize diplomatic license plates and claimed he had contacts at the highest levels in the Price PUP government. Either Barrera or the Mexican magazine was exaggerating. Barrera did have a Belize partner by the name of Angel Espat, who was a member of Mr. Price’s constituency committee in the Freetown Division. Information about Mr. Barrera’s relationship with Angel Espat, who fled into exile in Chetumal after a murder in the Benque/Succotz area the same year Amandala and Reporter were fined large sums for libel, did not become known to us until months after the trial. (The case of the Beacon, surprisingly and interestingly, never reached court.)
Just a couple months after the PUP was defeated in December 1984 for the first time in national elections, one of their former Cabinet Ministers appeared in chains on CNN television for all of Belize to see. His crime was drug trafficking.
If people with special agendas want to beatify/canonize Mr. Price, I don’t have a problem with that. Just don’t make demonizing myself a part of that process. One of the reasons that line of propaganda will not work is because a lot of things have been exposed in this country since independence. So much filth has been exposed that many older Belizeans have become skeptical about the Holy Grail we took possession of on September 21, 1981. This is sad.