In just a few words at the opening ceremonies of the National Agriculture and Trade Show on Friday, April 26, Agriculture Minister, Godwin Hulse, explained a whole lot about his view of the world.
This is a very talented man who appears to not have much patience with the underachieving people of the tribes he genetically came from. Godwin Hulse definitely has European ancestry, but if he were living in a racist country they would call him African (Kriol, Garinagu), and Mayan.
Godwin Hulse celebrated the farmers of the year, and it was beautiful how he spoke, glowingly, of their achievements. It is wonderful how these Belizeans are turning the soil into successful livelihoods. He never mentioned that they have heavy machinery, but they were well into modern agriculture, innovative agriculture to resist climate change, with drip irrigation, screen houses, and biosafety systems to prevent the entry of pests and diseases onto their farms.
Most of all it’s the resilience of the farmers of the year that the minister admired. He was so impressed, blown away that they achieved without any loans from DFC, at least one of them doesn’t owe the bank a dime, and he was impressed that they built their farms one block on top of another. He was also impressed by their hospitality, the nice, wholesome refreshments they offered him and his colleagues from the ministry.
It is said that George Price used to like peeping into the pots of Belizeans when he visited them in their homes, and this was good politics and natural camaraderie, to share a nibble at the dinner tables of your subjects. They say it was also a way for George Price to find out how his people were living.
When he visited his subjects who lived along the coast, he was certain to find fish and lobster and conch when he took the lid off the pot. Those were common fare then. When he visited the homes of subjects who lived in the countryside he was sure to find game meat in the pot, with this time of year dominated by bambu chikin and hikiti. Today, he’d most likely find ramen, and maybe, if it was a lucky day, the old favorite pigtail.
If we follow the Agriculture Minister’s description of the farmers of the year, we would guess, if we know a little history, that they all had recent origins from across the line, mostly to the west and south. They most likely are refugee stock, offspring of people who ran here to escape civil wars and economic deprivation. If we had the research tools it would be a fair chance that we would find that at least one of them would have a relative or two in one of those caravans coming from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, heading to the United States.
If you would know someone, why they behave the way they do, you would have to go into the person’s past. By their fruits you know them, and yes, where they came from. All human beings come into this world naked, alone, defenseless. All have their individual natures, the rest will come from their present environment, and where they came from.
We celebrate the farmers of the year, the achievements of all Belizeans, including our Minister of Agriculture. I said that the racist world would ignore his European genes and zero in on his African-ness and Mayan-ness.
Why is the Minister of Agriculture performing so outstandingly in this system? It kud be that hihn jos baan smaata than most of us. But he would definitely accept that where he came from he got the values to make it in this system, instilled in him.
The farmers of the year whom Mr. Hulse met, their families would have worked on great haciendas, the ones Jacobo Arbenz tried to take land from to distribute to the landless. We all know how the oligarchies in Guatemala and Honduras and El Salvador responded to leaders who tried to help the masses to increase their lot in this world. In Belize, we were fortunate that George Price was largely undisturbed when he instituted land reform for us.
All the refugee parents and grandparents of our farmers of the year needed when they came to Belize, was a piece of land to call their own. The rest was within; they were/are driven.
Some Belizeans inherited land and other assets, and knowledge of how the European system (we have) worked, and the connections to move forward in the system.
The children of the Africans and the Mayans had defeat imbedded in their DNA since 1492. From slavery to colonialism to neocolonialism, they know defeat, defeat, more defeat. The Kriols of Cayo Rural and Belize Rural know the pain of producing, and not being able to sell. The Garinagu and Maya of Toledo know their rice mill was taken away, effectively killing that industry in that part of the country.
There was a time when roots Belizeans never asked government for anything. When we elected our own leaders, when we moved from self-government to independence, we dared to dream; we got ambitious and ventured for the “better” economic life. But our leaders never delivered. True, our leaders are hamstrung by leaders out there who want to take everything. But we would have done better if our leaders hadn’t decided to abandon us, take it all for themselves and their families.
You know what has happened to us, Mr. Minister, but I don’t think you have processed it. You have to. Our farmers of the year haven’t been betrayed by our leaders because they are in the stage where they are just happy to live in a country where the politicians vie for their votes.
We, we have been betrayed, and betrayed, and betrayed, and that is why Belizeans (roots Belizeans) ask politicians to PAY for their votes. And that is why some of us demand that our government step up and fix what they did to us.
Congratulations to the farmers of the year; they are the salt of the earth, and great examples to follow. They work hard. Celebrate them, but don’t rub salt into our wounds with praise that they did it without asking the government for anything.
Belizeans want the best for you, Mr. Minister of Agriculture, but we need you to understand that you have to reach out more, we need you to understand that you have to dig deeper, that you have to give a daam about despondent roots Belizeans in the inner cities and towns, and in rural areas. I will not comment about the Bel Riv effort because I don’t have the innards of that. But I would ask questions about Harmonyville and a number of other projects I heard about, which were abandoned or not sufficiently supported.
I call you out because you are a man with capacity. Too many of our leaders have popularity, but little capacity. Your Singaporean dream, the one you share with Foreign Minister Elrington, the one you both sold to the Prime Minister, is about leadership with great capacity. You should be railing at your Cabinet colleagues, not us.
It is a bad thing when a government by the people gets tired of the people, frustrated with the people, when it is too tired, too lacking in ideas, when it gets so selfish that it decides to ignore the lost sheep in its midst. You were elected, selected to work for all. Sure, it gives you great energy to be around people who are moving and shaking. Really, those kinds of persons don’t even need leaders.
It’s the discouraged people who need you, desperately. And you are saying that you like people who don’t ask government for anything. Step up to the plate, Braa. The children in the cities and towns should be making compost and selling it to our farmers. They should be in backyard gardening projects.
When will you return the Extensive Services to the glory days of yore? When will we stop wasting all the fruits that we can’t eat fresh? All the kids in rural areas should be growing fruit trees of improved varieties, and every rural family should have a milk cow. Who in your ministry is thinking for roots Belizeans?
We celebrate the achievers. We know our farmers of the year need and deserve every encouragement because they work hard, and they are still climbing up the mountain. Everything you said was right, until you remarked that they did it on their own. You and the government you work for have to do better for the people who need you. What about the sheep that were discouraged away from the flock?
Why is creek at Beaver Dam dry?
The creek that flows under the bridge at St. Matthew’s, known as Beaver Dam, has been dry so long there is a grass bed where there once were crystal clear pools of refreshing water. This creek, stream, it was such a joy to look at when you were passing through on the bus, or riding as a passenger in a car. People used to stop there and bathe, and people who lived in the village went there to wash clothes. Now the water is all gone, and if it wasn’t dry so long that grass grew, it would be an ugly mud hole.
Some people have a good idea why the creek is dry. It can’t be climate change that caused it to go dry. Someone either took the water, or killed the source. I am certain that personnel from the Department of the Environment, and the APAMO members that protect the environment, are privy to what happened to the beautiful creek. Did someone get a license to take the water?