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Orchestrated ignorance? (Part II)

EditorialOrchestrated ignorance? (Part II)

“Teach the children the truth.” (Bob Marley)

From Amandala editorial of Tuesday, May 16, 2023

“… a people who have supposedly shaken off the yoke of colonialism and say we are now independent, such a people should put much greater priority on enlightening the upcoming generation on all that was withheld about the past from their forebears because of the system of orchestrated ignorance that prevailed to keep them in bondage.”

Monday, May 22, 2023

Our schools should not be dragging their feet on embracing African and Mayan history, a very important and relevant endeavour for our young people, many of whom are lost in ignorance, despair and lack of knowledge about who they are, and where their ancestors came from.

The past is very important. So important that presently in the US, the racist governor of Florida is trying to ban the teaching of certain aspects of black history in their schools. They figure that by disarming the young African American population from their knowledge of self, they will be more “pacified” and less able to organize and agitate for justice and their rights in the American system.

In Belize, so much has been kept from us in schools in the past! This must not continue. We are not a colony of Britain any more. How can our youths still be going through high school and even sixth form, and know nothing about so much of great importance that has happened “before our time”? The lesson of history is that foreknowledge of mistakes prepares us to avoid the same mistakes in the future.

But today still, our young people are taught nothing about African people in the Americas before the arrival of Columbus; nothing about the abolishment of night drumming in Ebo Town/Yabra by the colonial bosses; nothing about the pre-slavery history of Africa outside of “the Columbian Room”; nothing about the inhuman treatment of some women in Belize town by ruthless slave owners; nothing about white superintendent Marcus Despard who married a black woman and was recalled to the U.K. and later executed for treason.

Our young people know very little about the Caste War in Mexico in the last half of the nineteenth century that helped populate our northern districts, about the 1773 and other slave rebellions in Belize settlement, about the 1786 treaty (Convention of London) that resulted in the quadrupling of the population in the settlement with new arrivals (in 1787) from the Mosquito Coast (mostly Honduras and Nicaragua), about the recently revealed “E.M.L. Tragedy” (see Amandala May 2023 issues, thanks to Donia Scott), about the 1919 Ex-Servicemen’s Riot and the visits of the great Marcus Garvey and formation of the UNIA branch in Belize, about the role of millionaire Bob Turton in the founding of the PUP independence movement.

Ask any unemployed youth today and he likely knows very little about the great labor activist Antonio Soberanis, about the CIA orchestrated coup to overthrow popular president Jacobo Arbenz in neighboring Guatemala in 1954, about UBAD, and nothing about the 1982 UK-Belize B.I.T. Treaty that one Lord Ashcroft has repeatedly used against our government in court battles that cost us many millions… there is so, so much that our people don’t know because we have been kept in ignorance. And it was not by accident.

A great Belizean patriot once said, “The time to save your country is before you lose it.” To do that, the time is now for our people, especially our youth, and those young men running wild and lawless in their ignorance, it is time for the books to be opened to them. The “peaceful, constructive, Belizean revolution” saw no need to enlighten our youth about self; but now it has become urgent that they find their roots, so that they can stop this self-destructive trend we have been going on. We are better than this. Peace and love, Belize!

Another murder; another accused “get off”; why not revisit “A New Jurisprudence”?

Excerpts from “Ideas and Opinions” in Amandala of Friday, May 16, 2014

… There is a better way to achieve the “devisers’” ideal while preventing as many murderers from escaping the sword of justice. It is by a system of conducting murder trials based on a new jurisprudence. These are its principles:

(1) The prosecution and defence shall be engaged in the pursuit of the ends of justice, by presenting and discovering the whole truth of the case. Nothing of pertinence to the whole truth shall be concealed from the jury.

(2) Equality before the law should be the distinguishing characteristic of murder trials. On trial for his life, a rich man shall not be better defended than a poor man. The quality of justice should not be a function of the accused’s financial resources.

(3) The role of the prosecutor will remain, with one exception. He will continue to present his side’s case and attack the defence’s with vigor. The exception is that at whatever point during the course of a trial he realizes that the accused is not guilty, he should submit his findings to the judge, requesting that he instruct the jury to find the accused not guilty.

The role of the defence will be the same as before, i.e., to present the accused’s case and attack the prosecution’s with conviction and vigor. However, since he will be engaged jointly with the prosecution in discovering the whole truth in the cause of justice, therefore, the defence counsel cannot be a party to trickery, deception or fabrication. Defence counsel’s present attitude, that ethical principles may be ignored, because their client is on trial for his life, can no longer be allowed.

If accused murderers are to be treated alike, they cannot be allowed to choose their own counsel, else the wealthy accused will be better defended than those of little means. The obvious solution is for the appointment of one or more public defenders to be paid from the public purse and assigned to defend accused murderers by the Chief Justice.

Suggestion: The position should be awarded to the best trial lawyers in the country and they should be rewarded handsomely …

… if what is proposed in this essay were implemented:

  1. No innocent man will ever be convicted; therefore, murderers should no longer have the right to appeal their conviction without putting forward the grounds for the appeal.
  2. Very few murderers will escape the sword of justice and, their removal from society will have a sobering effect on the criminal element. What is more, the people will regain their confidence in the state to perform its primary duty and their sense of security will be restored …

Essentially, what the new jurisprudence proposes, as opposed to the present system, is that the prosecution and defence counsel be not adversaries, but joint seekers of justice and truth, while presenting the prosecution and defence causes to the best of their ability.

For the proposed system to work properly, the roles of prosecutor and defence will have to be changed. Let their cause be justice and truth, above all.

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