From the time Belize Sugar Industries (BSI) commenced operations in Orange Walk in the 1960’s, the beautiful New River changes from time to time. When we were kids, we would swim in its clear waters among the sunken logwood which were parked by the BEC “Bridge,” as we referred to it, but in reality, it was a pier. But after BSI, I remember one time, about fifty years ago, that the river became as yellow as pus. Nobody dared swim in it then. The blame was placed on the sugar factory and BSI looked into the matter and did its best to fix the problem. After doing all its best over the years, the problem persists, not with the color now, but the stench and the dying of the fishes.
As I walked along the riverside on my way to Mr. Daly Briceno’s funeral, I met up with a buddy from way back, Ismael “Tigre” Jimenez. The nickname is from the movie Ride Beyond Vengeance, starring a hard-hitting, left-handed Chuck Connors. Back in the day, many persons got their nicknames from the movies.We started to chat and I commented on the strong scent emanating from the river. He said, “Look, I worked at the B.S.I. wharf for many years and you don’t need to be a scientist for this. The river level is low, the bottom is very muddy, and the tugboat has to make extreme revving to pull those barges with approximately 100 tons of sugar. What do you think happens? The mud is stirred, it stinks and the water loses its oxygen, so the fish die. It lasts for a time because our river is a slow flow. I rest my case.”
You no have to go to UB fu get that . . . . .
On another note, today, July 11, 2019, Eudaldo Briceño, the youngest and last male of the original powerful Briceño brothers of Orange Walk Town, was laid to rest. He was predeceased by his brothers Polo, Joe and Charro; and sisters Clodi and Mati. He is survived by his sisters Nellie and Anita. Eudaldo had suffered a bad fall on the 20th of June and never recovered. “Mr. Daly,” as he was known, was very popular from his young days as a basketball player with the “Youths” team in the first ever basketball tournament in Orange Walk held at the former Muffles College compound on Main Street, now managed by La Inmaculada School. His teammates at the time, if I remember well, were Elodio “Lot” Aragon, Sr.; Eldo “Cek” Briceño; “Teacher” Bucknor, but I can’t remember the rest. They got second place that year.
He will be greatly missed by his “Amigo del Alma,” David “Simon” Leiva.
R.I.P., Mr. Daly.