Today, Monday, Amandala celebrates 43 years of service to the people of Belize, and next month, September, will mark my sixteen years as editor of the newspaper. As we say, “How time flies.”
Actually, I have been behind “The Zinc Fence” for over twenty years. When I came here from the Broadcasting Corporation of Belize (BCB), it was for television, because at the time, I was chief technician for the BCB’s television section, after studying for 6 months in Japan.
To this day, I mourn the untimely death of Rodolfo Silva, “El Romántico,” an engineer who was in the process of putting KREM TV, as it was known at the time, on the air, mainly by building some of the equipment needed for the station.
With his death, I moved first to KREM Radio, then to Amandala under then editor Glenn Tillett, whom I succeeded in September of 1996.
With one hundred percent certainty, I say that Amandala’s greatest strengths, apart from the committed, driving force of its founder, Evan X Hyde, are the newspaper’s unwavering commitment to the truth, the education of the Belizean people, our commitment to the poor, the helpless and the “nobodies” of the nation, our social assistance programs to those who need it most, and the creative freedom its writers and columnists enjoy.
This is not to say that there were not a few times, over the long years, that we have had to edit our writers and columnists, but the truth is, no freedom is ever absolute. We cherish our hard-earned credibility greatly, and we cherish the love of the Belizean people, who know what we have stood for, and what we now stand for, 43 years after the first Amandala rolled off a Gestetner mimeograph machine.
Which other Belizean medium can make such a boast?
Amandala’s success is the sum total of hard work by all its workers, every single person who works at the newspaper. Everyone is important; we watch each other’s backs and we never forget the goal – to produce the nation’s best newspaper each time we go to press. While the rest sleep, we work.
As I close, I remember an old Amandala saying that I liked even before I began working here: “He who comes to destroy the House of Amandala, he himself shall be destroyed.” Well, it’s fanciful, of course, but the truth is, we are still here, 43 years later, and many of our enemies are not.