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Get on with the hard decision, Belize City

FeaturesGet on with the hard decision, Belize City

by Colin Hyde

Some decisions are difficult because you just aren’t sure of yourself; and some are especially difficult because, even though you know what you’re doing is right, it just flat out pains you to do it. Some tough decisions can get us stuck in endless procrastination, vacillation. Because delay on this one has national implications, we out here have a right to prod, insist on Belize City getting on about it now.

Our weather people are saying that this hurricane season coming up is going to be a rough one. Only the ostriches, the ultra-stubborn, and people who aren’t man enough to admit when they are wrong, still deny that the climate has changed for the worse, or has become more erratic. March has been extraordinarily hot out here in the Cayo District. Just about nobody has been using shower heaters or getting out the kettle to make bath water since mid-March. If you are looking for any kind of chill in BWSL water, you have to wait until midnight to get in the shower. Between 8:00 and 10:00 in the morning the water is warm, and at 6:00 in the evening it is hot enough to draw lang-waata Brooke Bond tea.

Belize City has to trim its trees! How much of the damage caused by that pilinki Category One storm in 2022 was caused by trees breaking and becoming missiles, we don’t know, because no official cost has been put on it; but based on what we saw, most of those tons of debris that had to be carted out of the first city were parts of broken trees. That Category One took down some big trees, but many still stand, and they have to go.

I hate to see bukut being taken down, because in bloom it is beautiful, and the pods are nutritious and uniquely tasty. But they have to go. Flamboyants, tall coconut trees, and Mayflowers have to be rooted out too. That incredible “Mayo” breadfruit tree on West Canal has to be assessed. There’ll be a huge veto if mangoes are put on the list of trees that “have to go”, and maybe they can be saved. The Belize City Council could contract pruners from the Stann Creek and Cayo Districts to come in and limb the trees. Pruning is a special science. It’s better to cut down a tree than to send an inexperienced person in with a chain saw and a machete. Send in mutilators instead of pruners, and you won’t get any fruit ataal.

Folk in Belize City (Dangriga too) should be encouraged to plant soursop, plums, custard apple, limes, and dwarf coconut trees. Those dwarf coconuts give nuts for quite a few years before they become dangerously tall.

People living on the coast of Belize should be grateful that it is “only” hurricanes they have to deal with. On the coast, people just don’t get the same level of heat we get in the country, and for that wonderful environment some people in other countries also have to weather earthquakes and tsunamis. I am not aware that we should have restless nights over those other natural phenomena. We don’t sit on any fault line, so the worst we get are tremors when there is shifting of the plates in our region, and our reefs should break up any tsunami before it reaches the shore.

We in the countryside are already experiencing big time heat, so we know we have to be on the lookout for forest fires. Farmers with grass crops or orchards have to be especially vigilant. The main concern in populated areas is smoke. But our villages aren’t going to get burned out, not like what we saw in television reports from California and Hawaii. I scratch my head every time I hear about entire neighborhoods in California going up in forest fires. Claudia Boyd-Barrett said in Yes magazine, “More than 3,600 structures, including homes, burned in California wildfires during 2021. Between 2005 and 2020, nearly 60,000 structures were lost to fire in the state, according to the research firm Headwaters Economics.”

When the Hawaii forest fire swept into the town of Lahaina in August 2023, it was like a thousand Paslow buildings going up in flames. (Uy! The people who burned down Paslow building, they must have been political favorites to get away with what they did!) A report from the Western Fire Chiefs Association in Hawaii said, “Erratic winds and challenging terrain made this fire impossible for firefighters to gain control.” There were drought conditions, and the fire chief said a hurricane some distance out at sea whipped up high winds, gusts up to 85 mph. In the immediate aftermath of the massive blaze, they identified 114 fatalities and hundreds missing. The report said, “The Lahaina Fire torched roughly 2,200 acres of residential homes and about 500 acres of commercial businesses.”

In the countryside in Belize, our houses aren’t so jammed up, and we don’t have bush growing next to our doorsteps. A runaway forest fire might burn a house, but it is for certain it won’t burn all. Hey, whoa there, Belize City! Get out those pruning knives and shears, and chainsaws. Don’t be selfish. Remember that when our city or any of our coastal towns get licked, all of us pay. Yes, we are all in this.

The PUP’s deep NIP roots

Before we get off here, before anyone gets the misguided idea that NIP is looking for anything from PUP, that we might be wanting back their friendship, get it, it’s just a matter of history, the facts, like them or not. I could be contorted, in utter confusion, knowing that we were once bedfellows; but I’ll not be overwhelmed with the political past. There are far more important things to cry over than bygone political associations.

The most prominent of the PUPs who was NIP, pssst, pssst, I hope you won’t need smelling salts on finding out it was Master George Price. Before fleshing this story out on the blood connections, I inform that this is a kind of diversion piece for our main Opposition, while they are on some incredible hibernation to allow young Barrow to satisfy some personal dream of being on Disney’s index card with Cinderella and Sinbad the Sailor. Bully for that fellow; he’s got the resonance, but there’s no excuse for putting the people’s business on pause.

I know you’ll say, whee, when I tell you that that Henry Charles has our roots on two sides of his family tree! The more you live, the more you learn. Starting with the more famous ancestral line, the maternal granduncle, George Price, with just a minor stretch of the math we arrive at the NIP in the man. Remember at the start Price was with Goldson when he wasn’t doing Turton’s bidding. Goldson was in the lead for removing King George’s portrait from the City Council walls. It was British Federation plans that divided the men. Effectively, they held onto the same philosophy, divided by a name. Price was for independence. Goldson had the National INDEPENDENCE Party! You get the sense?

On Henry’s paternal side, his Grampa Hamid was one of us through the NP, our colonial wing. We’re not too ashamed of the NP. Politics makes strange bedfellows. Another big PUP who was with us is that Lindy Rogers, the big enemy of UBAD. The story goes that the Grampa Briceño was once on the right side. That daring Eamon Courtenay who was chased from Foreign Affairs is the grandson of a notable NP.

Haa, looking at the present it’s hard to believe these offspring — Henry, Johnny, Kareem, Dolores, and Eamon. I can’t help thinking about the poor eagle who thought he was a common duck. They just don’t know they come from the royal red legacy. If they did, they would behave a lot better in the House. Forgive them for hibbing words; it’s their ignorance of their ancestors’ glorious past.

Agh, you know what happens to trees that lose their roots, and fat fowls on Sunday. But we aren’t in a hurry to give them the reverse thumb. Of course, we have no plans to take back the government in 2025. We’re in a kind of role reverse. The plot is to stand aside and let the PUP do some bloody work and build back the country, and then we sweep in and get rid of the blue vermin. Don’t ask me how any Disney plot got woven in and interrupted our necessary rebuilding.

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