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Friday, April 3, 2020
Home Editorial Hidden hand

Hidden hand

Evan X Hyde is a wicked, wicked fellow, bar none.
– from page 2 editorial in THE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE, Sunday, February 7, 2010

In order that I might be under no error from misrepresentation, I attended the trial, and the following circumstances were most clearly and distinctly proved, indeed not denied; that on mere suspicion of having made away with some handkerchiefs committed to her care to dispose of, a poor female slave was tied up by order of her owner and severely flogged, and then handcuffed and shackled, placed in an old store, infested with vermin and the noisome flies of this country; after being in this situation for five days and nights, Sergeant Rush, a military pensioner, interceded with Mr. Bowen for her release, and having pledged himself, if the handkerchiefs were not found, to pay the exorbitant sum demanded, the poor creature was liberated on Sunday about midday; on the following morning she left her owner’s house to make her complaint and seek redress. For this, and no other grounds whatever, she was again seized upon, tied down on her belly to the ground, her arms and legs being stretched out, and secured to four stakes with sharp cords, and in this shocking attitude, in the heat of the sun, exposed before the men in a perfect state of nature, she was again severely flogged, in presence of her inhuman master and his brother, upon her back and posteriors, and then sent back to her place of torment, and there again confined in handcuffs and chains, subsisted on the wretched pittance of twenty plantains and two mackerel per week for above fourteen days.
– extract from a letter from Colonel George Arthur to the Earl Bathurst, K.G., dated Honduras, 28th September, 1821

According to British philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell, power is to the social sciences what energy is to physics – the fundamental driving force of human behavior.
– from an article by Theodor Schaarschmidt, pg. 53 in the May/June 2017 issue of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MIND

Apologists for the violent ruthlessness of the late business baron, Sir Barry Bowen, would always point out that, in stark contrast to the safety first, buy-and-sell local merchants who never took chances and always banked their money overseas, Sir Barry invested in industrial ventures and he created jobs in Belize. And, the apologists were not lying: Bowen took chances and created jobs. What his apologists never mentioned was that when he got into trouble taking those chances, Belize’s elected politicians, of both the United Democratic Party (UDP) and the People’s United Party (PUP), always bailed him out.

Along the way to creating the more than a thousand jobs the King Street and Southern Foreshore giant now controls, Sir Barry acquired major influence over some of the most powerful Belizean politicians of the last fifty years, including Dean Lindo, the first Leader of the UDP; Rt. Hon. Said Musa, Prime Minister of Belize from 1998 to 2008; Rt. Hon Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize since 2008; Michael Finnegan, area representative of Mesopotamia since 1993; and Hon. Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister of Belize and area representative of the Collet constituency since 2003.

King Street and Southern Foreshore has benefited from a favorable tax regime since 1969, but that tax regime became more than favorable when Mr. Musa became Prime Minister in 1998. When the PUP Mr. Musa was replaced by the UDP Mr. Barrow in 2008, nothing changed for King and Southern Foreshore where its highly favored tax status was concerned.

In these last two weeks of a political campaign wherein the ruling UDP’s dominance in Belize City is being challenged for the first time in more than a decade, it would be good for voters to ask themselves the question: whose interests are, ultimately, more important for Mr. Barrow, Mr. Finnegan, and Mr. Faber, the interests of King and Southern Foreshore or the interests of the oppressed youth and masses of the Southside?

It seems like a long time ago, but on the two different occasions, in 2005 and again in 2007, when the PUP’s Albert and Lake Independence area representatives, Hon. Mark Espat and Hon. Cordel Hyde, were outside of Cabinet because they had incurred Prime Minister Musa’s displeasure, it became clear that Espat and Hyde had issues with the sacred cow tax regime for King Street and Southern Foreshore.

Remember now, Espat and Hyde held the only two PUP seats on Belize City’s depressed Southside at the time, while the UDP’s Barrow, Finnegan, and Faber were the UDP powerhouses on the Southside. Against great odds, Espat and Hyde held on to their seats when almost everybody else came crashing down for the PUP in February of 2008.

When Mr. Musa then resigned his leadership of the PUP, Espat and Hyde supported Orange Walk Central’s John Briceño in the PUP’s leadership convention of March 2008, whereupon Briceño won a close victory over Mr. Musa’s choice for leadership, Francis Fonseca.

Later in 2008, nevertheless, Mr. Musa launched a very expensive (three quarter of a million Belize dollars, we are told) newspaper campaign in a rag called The National Perspective, apparently launched exclusively for the purpose of vilifying  Mark Espat, Cordel Hyde, and John Briceño (not to mention, the one Evan X Hyde), and bringing down the Briceño leadership. The National Perspective succeeded in its expensive purpose when John Briceño resigned the leadership of the PUP in October of 2011. Francis Fonseca was appointed PUP Leader in November of 2011, and then The National Perspective immediately ceased publication.

Who paid for The National Perspective? It is well known in PUP circles that Mr. Musa never uses his own money to pay for his politics. With the loss of PUP control over Belize’s treasury in February of 2008, Ralph Fonseca was not in that kind of play. For whom was it so fiscally important that Mr. Musa regain control of the PUP?

Well, after his second general election defeat as PUP Leader in November of 2015, Francis Fonseca resigned his leadership of the PUP. Still, you need to know this: Said Musa is nothing if he is not a very determined fellow indeed. When John Briceño and Cordel Hyde were the only two area representatives to announce their candidacies for PUP leadership in a convention scheduled for January 2016, it would appear that Mr. Musa pressured a reluctant Francis Fonseca to throw his hat back into the leadership ring. It didn’t matter that Francis had just resigned. At that point, Kareem would have been, as Creole say, “force ripe.”

You will remember that in the second paragraph of this editorial we listed a few of the powerful PUDP politicians on whom King Street and Southern Foreshore has exercised control. If we wanted to be unkind, we would say it was as if these people were “owned,” because they accepted gobs of electoral cash and they followed instructions. Those instructions were and are to protect and enhance the giant’s favorable tax regime. But, at whose cost at the end of the day? Yes, beloved, we taxpayers of Belize have been fattening the corporate profits of King Street and Southern Foreshore for almost a half century. When Patrick Faber invades Lake I and begins handing out money the way Mark King used to do, whose agenda is he serving?

There is, as if by definition, a historical problem between King Street and Southern Foreshore, on the one hand, and Partridge Street’s Kremandala, on the other. Their foundations and priorities are seriously opposed. Ironically, the Belize Brewing Company and the newspaper Amandala began in the same year – 1969. Belize Brewing Company began with a development concession: Amandala, you might say, began with a seditious conspiracy arrest. Two babies, two different births.

At Wednesday afternoon’s nominations of the UDP’s Belize City Council candidates, Housing Minister Michael Finnegan told the media that he was out there to “rescue the UDP,” and this was his last campaign. Tell the whole truth, Mr. Finnegan. You are out there to protect the interests of King Street and Southern Foreshore. They own you.

The UDP simply cannot afford to lose in Belize City, their political stronghold. At the same time, it is vitally important for King Street and Southern Foreshore’s PUDP strategy to have the North Front Street law firm in as strong a position in the PUP as possible. This is because the natives are now restless on the Southside. King Street and Southern Foreshore is going all out to protect their Barrow/Finnegan/Faber guys on the Southside, while they renew their insurance policy inside the PUP Northside. Do you get the picture?

We’re talking big time politics here, ma cherie. This is no time for “dibby dibby” foolishness. While the blood continues to flow in Taylor’s Alley, on George Street, on Kraal Road, all over the Southside, Jack, some people don’t give diddly: these are the people, just a few short blocks away, where the Caribbean Sea laps the shoreline. Everybody knows that. But the people who don’t care about the blood of our youth are the people who finance our politicians. This is real. Genocide is occurring in plain view right in front of our eyes, but, as it is said, none so blind as those who will not see.

Power to the people.

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