Features — 19 September 2018
With malice toward…

God sparing life, remind me to one day finish this…Prime Minister Said Musa (1998–2008) came with malice toward no UDP, and Prime Minister Dean Barrow (2008 – 20—) came with malice toward all PUP. What the men had in common was blind love for a few people who were very close to them.

Talking off the top about poverty

I don’t know that Brother Louis Wade (Plus TV) is one of those kinds of people who need to be told about the good in them. If God sees him as many of us do (me included), that brother will walk through the most important gate without being questioned.

Bah, but I don’t like how Wade turns numbers to prove his views about weed. Over and over we have heard from his quarter that decriminalized weed has something to do with an increase in planes landing under cover of night in Belize. (I don’t know wherefrom he gets the numbers that more planes are landing than ever before. It is not impossible that we are in a “lull”, and the burnt planes being found are just a streak of bad luck for the narcotics traffickers)

All the smart money is saying that these planes are about transporting cocaine. And the clear logic follows that. Those people in the USA and Canada have their own weed. What they don’t have is cocaine. Why would anyone be transporting weed to Belize, for our market, via avion? Sure, cartels transport a lot of different drugs, weed included. But decriminalized 10 grams in Belize is incidental in the world of marijuana. That thread Mr. Wade leads back to “decrim” is just plain rotten. Don’t let your tailor sew the seams of your pants with that, or your backside will end up out-a-door.

We are told (from the PLUS quarter) that the other clear indicator that “decrim” is a terrible thing is the murder rate. The murder rate has being going up, up, up, over the years. So, the murder rate is up this year. There’s something sad but nothing new in that.

Let’s just follow the facts. If weed is the biggest story behind our horrific murder rate, going up, up, up, then here’s all that we have. Scene one: Weed was illegal. Scene two: Weed still illegal, but a small amount decriminalized and police step up efforts to pressure weed suppliers.

I really didn’t intend to talk about weed today, so I’ll just leave off with this: We have illegal, and we have illegal with small quantity of “decrim”. Anyone who has eyes and cares to see, sees that there’s only one thing left to try. Hint: Peter Tosh sang about it. For the record, let me say again that I absolutely don’t support “protection” for Belizeans who traffic drugs to countries that have laws against such products.

Now, to what I’m really after. Friday night last I was flat out, no, just slightly high (I drink a little), and after taking a fresh around ten, I retired to bed. I turn on the tv and watch the ESPN sports, and then a little Weather Channel (to watch some hurricane news), and then I watch some local news, and a little KREM, and then I wind up at PLUS, and there is where you can say end of my meandering, end of my tranquilo, for I am just in time to hear Brother Wade tell Brother Senator Gordon, that poverty is no excuse for dishonesty.

Please, I don’t know wherefrom Brother Wade got the qualifications to talk so. The way I understand his history, he was fortunate to be born and raised in a Christian home which provided for his basic needs. He got a high school education, and then he got a university education. It’s very unlikely he’ll face a needy day because he’s got letters, and his religion/politics align perfectly with the most powerful group on the planet, the Evangelicals.

Somebody else will have to fill in where that good brother KNEW poverty, so he KNOWS it is no excuse for dishonesty. In Belize, that gentleman would be called “blessed”. He could compare himself to the rich and famous we see on television, but that would only affect his spirit. Maybe he knew a day of hunger which wasn’t spiritual fasting, but his published history says he’s never known weeks, months, a year, years, forever, hungry and without hope.

Point blank, there are few opportunities out there for marginalized black youth. Competition for laborers’ jobs is stiff, and their families don’t own sufficient businesses to absorb them. So, the marginalized youth steals and/or he sells drugs.

Pardon me for forgetting the option of religion. Ah, Mr. Henry Young expressed (wrote) some negative views to me about that religion business. I’ll let off my thoughts on that someday, but for today allow me just these two points. Religion is supposed to be a way to save our souls in the hereafter, but yes, there’s a here and now business side there. My second point is that religion is a discussion that Belize refuses to have.

It had to be a resort

The government’s decision to incarcerate a hundred young men is an admission of defeat, failure. That’s what a state of emergency is. It shouldn’t have come to this. I get no kick out of “I told you so”, but I have to, so I can point out where government failed last week, monumentally.

It is pretty obvious that our justice system is not equipped for the times, and it is impossible for a country to have such an ineffective system. It is just impossible that a man can get off a murder charge on a technicality, or because the witness was killed. (We should make it that a man accused of murder would be on his hands and knees every night, praying for the witnesses to live.)

The government has arrived at the realization that we can’t go on this way. I had told them (in my column) that persons who are not “completely” innocent should be held in the nearest thing to a humane “jail”, and that the state should expend on a battery of lawyers and detectives to give these in limbo cases a better resolution.

The state of emergency and blanket incarceration is the government’s counter for the failure of our economic system and justice system. Unfortunately, they went completely off the script. You can’t house a human being in a filthy house, even if they are guilty of murder. And our courts found all those persons innocent of the crimes the police “know” they committed. The scene was especially bad from the housing angle. They shouldn’t have been there. The men should have been housed at a resort, or at a facility designed for a retreat.

Those men should be in private rooms, with television and private bath and clean beds. They should get good food and exercise space, and if they were breadwinners for their families, their families should be cared for.

Umpire wrong to caution Serena

I see where much of the tennis world is blaming Serena Williams for her meltdown at the US Open Finals a couple weeks ago. One Ryan Young, writing for Yahoo sports, produced statistics that showed that male tennis players are penalized significantly more than women.

Arguably, the greatest clutch basketball performance anywhere, ever, is Arike Ogunbowale hitting a pull up jumper from 18 feet with one second on the clock to send Notre Dame (ND) to a 91-89 OT victory over undefeated University of Connecticut in the semi-finals of last year’s NCAA female basketball championship tournament, and following that up a couple days later with a fade-away from the far right corner with one second left to lift ND over Mississippi State, 61-58, for the title. I am pointing that out to say this: female sports are very serious business.

Female tennis is bigger than male tennis for many, many people. In the recent US Open Finals, Serena Williams, one of the best ever, found herself behind on the score to a new kid on the block, Naomi Osaka. Naomi was playing brilliantly, and Serena’s top weapon, her serve, was slightly off. The game was definitely not over, but Serena looked extremely vulnerable. You don’t get to be one of, if not the greatest ever, by being nonchalant about losing.

In this tense moment the umpire cautions Serena about accepting coaching. It is a stupid, inappropriate, embarrassing call. It begins the unraveling of Serena. Some years ago, at the US Open, an umpire called Serena for a foot fault at a tense moment in a match she was losing. That was also a stupid and inappropriate call. Both calls were right, technically. But they were oh so, so wrong. There is this thing about a foul. It is supposed to give you an advantage.

Of course Serena was wrong to go ballistic. I don’t give points to players who express anger and such on the ball field. But the US Open umpire made an idiotic, robotic call.

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Deshawn Swasey

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