Features — 15 September 2018
Musings by the Curious Non-conformist

I’m sure we all know that our beautiful Belize is about to celebrate its 37th year of Independence! We gained this status of independence peacefully, unlike any of our Central American neighbors, who have a history marred by full-blown civil wars and genocide. We gained it through strategic negotiations, acting in pursuance of our human right of self-determination and staunch nationalism, something the Father of The Nation, Rt. Hon. George Cadle Price, called the “peaceful and constructive revolution.” We, the people, have for a long time been asserting ourselves as an independent nation. I say this because we have been a full member of the CARICOM community since 1974, almost a decade before the country’s greatest, collective achievement in 1981.

Yes, I am stark-ravingly excited and honored to call myself Belizean. I mean, we have been blessed with God’s grandeur of pristine land and seascapes and we are some of the most hospitable people you’ll ever meet and one of the most diverse countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

With all this, I reflect sometimes and am worried about the geopolitical future of Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret, my home. In the midst of the pageantry, “Tenth,” 95 million dollars debt, and all the pomp and circumstance of Belize’s birthday month, we cannot forget the issue that inspired this year’s September celebrations theme, “Belize da fi wi — now and forever, 8867” — an issue predating to colonial times. We are set to host our referendum on April, 10 2018 while our Guatemalan neighbors to the west and south have already hosted their own. The Belizean air is truly ripe with the question of “yes” or “no” to the proposed question: “Do you agree that any legal claim of Guatemala against Belize relating to land and insular territories and to any maritime areas pertaining to these territories should be submitted to the International Court of Justice for final settlement and that it determine finally the boundaries of the respective territories and areas of the Parties?”

The government education campaign is geared toward a “yes” vote, and the Opposition, the government-in-waiting, is still in limbo about their official position, but with its Southern Caucus and other area representatives coming out with a resounding “no” to the ICJ.

A quick aside — please do re-register and come out to cast your vote! Abstaining based on the excuse that “I nuh vote” NUH MEK SENSE! Since the referendum law was amended, even if one voter comes out and casts a vote, that vote will be looked at as the will of ALL Belizean people, so please do make a conscious effort to register as an elector and say something. No 3D red/blue lenses needed. Congratulations to the 122,447 Belizeans who have registered so far!

Bringing it back to the topic, though, I have not yet decided on how I’ll vote, but I’ve been reading a lot and purposely ignoring the party politically-laced rhetoric. Some opinions are just fueled by more than patriotism. So, no position to offer but a call to action. Read as much as you can and make this a part of at least one of your daily conversations, at the gym, in a class, at the barbershop and salon, the Boledo shop and the Belikin bar. If a community member hosts talks on the issue which aim to educate in an unbiased manner, please attend them. Lastly, maybe ease up a bit on all the Melchor trips.

“We put an end to oppression; our liberation is coming soon.” #501Forever

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Deshawn Swasey

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