From time to time over the years, you will have heard me criticize, often excoriate, Belizean intellectuals, for refusing to address certain controversial or dangerous issues. It’s not fair to our academics, actually, because in the case of yours truly, I had a whole organization of young, militant Belizeans to protect me when I first fought the iconic George Cadle between 1969 and 1974.
When I disagreed with Mr. Price between 1981 and 1984, I did not have an organization any more. But I got help. What happened when Mr. Price attacked me in the Supreme Court in 1982/83 was that the then Opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) was key in coming to my financial rescue. In other words, I had “backative,” and present day Belizean academics do not.
The Dean Barrow UDP is just as aggressive, sometimes even more so, as the Price PUP was in dealing with solitary, intellectual critics. (Exhibit “A” is probably the UDP’s pre-coronavirus press conferences.) You can see where Belizean academics are not only physically intimidated, they are concerned about their career prospects in a society where intellectuals are not organized at any level to defend themselves as individuals or as a group.
A few weeks ago, Colin Hyde published some material out of the Mennonite agreement, and it was startling, and frightening. In my retirement groove, I did not follow up on what should have been a massive story, but a couple days ago a Belizean friend of mine sent me a very angry e-mail after he had perused the said Mennonite agreement of the late 1950s.
That agreement needs to be investigated and discussed publicly. That agreement was inimical to the best interests of native Belizeans. Mr. Price would have known that, he must have known that, so people like me will assume that the British bent his arm at the elbow, and he did not tell the Belizean people that he was being coerced. Like I said, Mr. Price was a man who did not talk.
They say that youth is wasted on the young, and in my case there was so much I really didn’t know back then. What is more, none of us knew how anti-Goldson the UDP would be when they came to power in 1984, and again in 1993. But, let it be.
Mr. Price was a man who knew how to keep things to himself, and in the case of two important decisions, it appears to me that no one has ever said or written anything in search of the truth where the Mennonite agreement of 1957/58 and the change of summer holidays of 1964 are concerned.
In those days of the late 1950s and the early/middle 1960s, we native, roots Belizeans were very optimistic about the future where building Belize was concerned. When the British sent Mr. Price home from London in disgrace in 1957, they must have expected that when the British Honduras Governor, Colin Thornley, denounced him as a traitor on the government monopoly radio station, British Honduras Broadcasting Service), the people of Belize would have abandoned Hon. George Cadle. They did not. These were historic times. The people of Belize in 1957 were militant, and they were anti-British at the socio-economic base. They stood in support of Mr. Price and his People’s United Party (PUP).
Perhaps it was then that the British realized they would have to do something dramatic to prevent British Honduras from becoming a truly roots, Belizeanized society with its large black majority. These colonial papers should be somewhere in the British archives. Remember now, I can’t blame anybody for anything. As Belize City Southside children back then, we were biting on the bait that Mr. Price was selling us out to Guatemala. Nobody paid any attention to that Mennonite deal. Essentially, what it did was create a state within a state. The implications have been proven to be astounding.
Power to the people.