As I understand it, my great grandfather on my mother’s side, George Lindo, who had migrated to British Honduras from Jamaica as a young man, used to own a rum shop (or maybe more than one) in old Belize Town, and he had a hefty cash flow. He was rich in the early twentieth century, before Bob Turton made his, in the 1920s thereabouts.
But George Lindo was a compulsive gambler, and by the time I began to have a sense of myself as a child, living with my parents at #7 Church Street in the early 1950s, George Lindo was broke and being taken care of by his daughter (my grandmother), Eva Lindo Belisle.
While I was there on Church Street, until my parents moved to #3 West Canal Street in 1954, when I was 7, I am positive #7 Church Street did not have a flush toilet indoors. It was a bucket brigade situation. This was Church Street between Albert Street to the east and East Canal to the west.
Next door to us on our left on Church Street, a Chinese man we knew as “Whisky Lee” sold lottery downstairs of a two story house, and next to him, on his left, was the Brooks family. Out of the Brooks family came the man who has been printing Amandala for almost two decades, Kent Brooks. This week (I’m writing this on Saturday morning, November 7) Kent Brooks lost his second teenaged son to gang violence. It is unbelievably tragic.
Now when I moved to West Canal Street in 1954, across the canal from us was a blacksmith shop owned by one Christopher Felix. A couple months ago, two of Christopher Felix’s grandsons (or perhaps great grands, I’m not certain) were gunned down together while shooting pool at a Northside club.
I don’t know why our community, church, political and other leaders have not branded this continuing genocidal violence in the old capital as an absolute emergency. Yes, we sent to Jamaica for an expert scholar/researcher, Dr. Gayle, to tell us what’s wrong. But, that’s as far as it went, really. Nobody needed to tell me what’s wrong. I’ve been working on Partridge Street since late 1972. I saw what happened. I saw the changes.
After political independence in 1981, law and order began to deteriorate rapidly in the old capital. It was a time when Amandala had begun to do well financially, and we sponsored sports teams in this neighborhood to keep the youth busy.
By the middle and late 1990s, however, the gang culture was taking over the neighborhood football teams we were sponsoring. (We ran the semi-pro basketball Kremandala Raiders directly from Partridge Street, so the previous statement does not apply to the Raiders.) In order to address the fact that the gang leaders were giving the amateur football orders, we came up with the Grigamandala semi-pro football experiment, working along with Garrincha Adderly from Dangriga, between 1999 and 2000. We took 7 or 8 young men from Mayflower and Third World to train under Garrincha and play for the Dangriga franchise in the semi-pro football league. The team did well under Garrincha, but there were complications on the ground around us in the old capital. Personally, we did not spend enough time explaining to the public at large exactly what the Grigamandala experiment was about with respect to Mayflower and Third World.
There are people in the media who could have tried to examine what was going on, but it has always been the case that other media houses, from the time of Radio Belize and the birth of semi-pro sports in 1991, are hostile to sports teams financed by Kremandala, because they equate success for the Kremandala teams with media business success for Kremandala itself. Perhaps they are right in a way, but it is more than a decade now, ever since the United Democratic Party (UDP) returned to power in 2008, that Kremandala has not been sponsoring sports. We are not in a financial position to do so. And the natives who have money in the old capital don’t give a damn about the youth. This is real.
It is 8 or 9 months now that I have been working on a project involving 7 acres of land where the KREM Radio tower is located, in Lake Garden across the highway from Lord’s Bank. I’m not 100 percent sure where we are headed with this, but two or three months ago Mose and I ran into a Creole businessman on a trip to Half Moon Caye. Mose told him about the project as a sports field for youth, and the businessman was enthusiastic about supporting the concept. He said he was at the stage where he was thinking about leaving Belize to live in America, because he had become scared of the young robbers and jackers. Can you imagine that? Our situation in the old capital is so very bad.
I’ve spoken to the businessman once or twice since then, but have not involved him yet. I have been moving slowly. As I said before, I’m not exactly sure where I’m going. The one thing I know is that my black youth are murdering each other, have been murdering each other like crazy for decades, and it tears me up inside. Yes, I am a mulatto, but I think black. For this I have been pressured and victimized by the white supremacist power structure around me here. At the same time, because of your support, beloved, we keep on keeping on.
Power to the people.