Features — 26 September 2018
John Briceño doesn’t have  a drug problem

The UDP, especially on WAVE Radio, run off a lot about Briceño family involvement in the marijuana trade in the 1980’s, and the arrest and jailing of a family patriarch. There was a time when Orange Walk Town wasn’t Shuga City. It was called Rambo Town and it was a very rough place.

There are stories to explain why weed became king in the northern districts. I don’t know that much about it. There’s always research, but I don’t need that for what I’m about today.

For me, on the personal, while I don’t encourage anyone to take drugs, especially illegal ones, I have no real issues with drugs if you can conduct the trade without bodies falling. I have issues with violating another country’s territory. We need to be good neighbors. I do get the sense that I don’t have much company here. A lot of people don’t respect borders. I do. Apparently, John Briceño’s dad didn’t. The Americans arrested him in the US on weed-related business.

The Briceños, like a lot of families, must have made money off the weed trade. We will ignore that. What sticks out to me on the matter of his nearness to the throne is the same thing that the UDPeez make hayover¯shame. There’s a difference. The UDPeez see negative in it, while I see positive.

I believe it wounded the PUP Leader when his father, a former government minister, fell from grace.No, I don’t think he condemns his father.  But the sense I have is that he would have preferred that the weed trade never entered his world. For that reason I don’t feel a lot of drug planes will get help to land when/if John Briceño becomes king.

For a number of reasons the UDP shouldn’t win the next election. Dr. Francis Smith can tell you why the UDP won the last election, in 2015. It’s because the PUP’s oligarchical faction can’t look itself squarely in the eye and see the wrong it did the country, starting with giving Lord Ashcroft majority control over BTL.

The PUP has its factions: there is a Roots faction, which doesn’t have much representation in the House; there is an Oligarchical faction, which has some representation in the House; and there is a Talk Roots Pro-Business faction, John Briceño’s faction, which has some representation in the House.

The PUP is counting on the UDP imploding when it goes through its leadership change. The UDP has imploded once before. There was a struggle in the UDP, between Manuel Esquivel and Dean Lindo, in their first term in office (1984-89). Esquivel won the battle, and then led the UDP to defeat in 1989, an election that was a sure thing for the UDP had they stuck together.

The UDP will not implode before the next general election. The UDP will hold together because there are no ideological differences in the party. They have one ideology, which is, Beat The PUP, even at the expense of the country.

Official language at official occasions

We recall Father of the Nation breaking away from English script to say a few lines in Spanish on official occasions. He couldn’t have done so in the courtroom without a translator. I am not certain he did a few lines in Spanish in the House. But I do recall him saying a few lines in Spanish at official ceremonies, always ending with the PUP battle cry, Que viva!

I suppose that in the minds of some PUPeez, Father of the Nation was infallible. John Briceño appears to be one who thinks so. Boy, some of us thought it was only Dolores Balderamos who swallowed hook, line and sinker everything Dr. Assad wrote in his book!

I say, a line or two in Kekchi, Garifuna, Kriol, Mopan, Spanish, Yucatec, even Hindi, German, Chinese, and Arabic, make good seasoning for our beautiful stew.

I think John Briceños poke in Spanish at this year’s Independence Day ceremonies longer than he ever has before. The sense I have, whenever he breaks off into Spanish, is that it is about COMPETITION. I get the sense that he is saying, one, Spanish is an equal language to English, and two, Belizeans whose first language is Spanish deserve as much respect as English-speaking ones.

Of course he is right on the first count. If I were an Englishman I might say “no,” but coming from a multi-ethnic/race fabric, I think everyone has a right to love their first language foremost. I can’t dwell too long on this piece, for I have another mission today, so I’ll just say this on the first score. I don’t speak Spanish well, and that’s because I barely passed English grammar in school. The consequence of that is that I am terrible with setting up my verbs and pronouns. I can do a direct translation from English to Spanish, and as everyone knows, that is terrible.

My terrible management of the verbos and pronombres does not interfere with my love for la música Español. I have difficulty with some “constructions,” but I’m in heaven cuando estoy con mi botella y la música de Los Bukis, Temerarios, Leo Dan, Los Angeles Negros, and El Rey himself, Vicente Fernandez.

Of course, Briceño (if I’m reading him correctly) is also right on the second score. Belizeans whose first language is Spanish deserve respect, as do all other Belizeans whose first language is other than English.

For the sake of the other mission, I’ll close with this. It is a blessing for Belize (better for our unity) that there are FEW people in this country whose first language is ENGLISH. Some people thought that Kriol is English. Dr. Silvana Udz and Ms. Myrna Manzanares showed how immensely wrong such people are on that.

Whoa, not all Kriol Belizeans think much of PM Barrow’s eloquence. It is only Belizeans who are gaga about Shakespeare who are impressed. Such Belizeans (ones who adore Shakespeare) are not only Kriols: they come from every tribe.

Ambassador Rosado saved FM Sedi’s hide

I really don’t know how Derek Aikman convinced a Reporter reporter that senior diplomat, David Gibson, had turned coat, had,after introspection, joined the “No to the ICJ vote”, but an apology was in order, even if Mr. Gibson hadn’t asked for it. Ai, in Belize people can slip away from transgressions without even a slap on the wrist. Time heals all wounds, especially in Belize. Just slip away for a time, and then resurface. Derek did; Derek is back; and I have to admit that we are the better for it.

Before I go on, we’re at Channel Five’s road show. Before he slips away, I would like Mr. George Myvett to please present his Chicago goods? I expect we’ll flog it; I expect it will get what a pokko gets in Wrigley Field. Ah, Mr. Aikman, he nailed it! His question was so pertinent he had to ask it twice. His question knocked Sedi’s pants clean off. If I recall correctly, when the emperor was exposed, when he realized that his tailor-built clothes was all artificial, the emperor scurried for a curtain to hide his exposed bottom. Impossibly, Sedi continued telling the crowd that they were the ones who were without education.

Sedi does have his fair share of moments when he is, yes, pellucid. And then, like Al Martino sang, he goes “and spoils it all.” I think PM Barrow said FM Sedi has these moments when he takes off on “intellectual flights of fancy”. Bah, when the gentleman goes airborne, God help Belize, because the UDP won’t puncture da balloon. When a UDP is king it’s a la Mark King, all about the party.

We mortals, we have to follow the sound thinking of David Gibson, one of our most senior diplomats. Mr. Gibson is YES to the ICJ, but he said we should prepare for a NO vote, and I believe that’s because Sedi, who said he was born to take us through to glory, is hell bent on making us say NAY.

Hn, I think I’ll have to ask the Amandala for more page time … there’s just too much blank going on in our country. I’ll really have to be short here. Derek asked Sedi what he meant when he said (some time ago) that there are things on file in London post-MAA that will harm our case at the ICJ. Sedi DID NOT answer the question. Instead, he rambled about old, tired stories before the MAA.

Here’s what Sedi should have said: Dear Brother Derek, I’m really, really sorry you heard and remembered that interview. It is one of my most shameful moments. What I said was absolute craziness. Forgive me, forgive me. Sometimes I just can’t help myself with my hatred for George Price and the PUP. It was solely an attempt to smudge their name. And there I went and gave the NO VOTE their best card.

I said that Ambassador Rosado saved the day. He took the microphone and told Belize the unassailable truth: There is nothing (PUP files) in London that can harm our case at the ICJ. Hurrah!

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Deshawn Swasey

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