Features — 10 August 2019
Overzealous NICH must apologize to incontinent tourist

This shaming of a tourist who released some kidney-filtered beer on the lawn in front of the temple, it goes under the category of making a mountain out of a molehill, or worse, inflating a peccadillo into a mortal sin. This one also goes under the category of ingratitude mixed with overzealousness. Almost no matter what a guest does, as long as it’s within the category of ignorance or a health condition, not malice, you don’t roll the state’s machinery over them.

We don’t know if the brother arrived at the PGIA, or his ship, under a tourist police escort when he left, but we are pretty certain, after getting the full exposure of the backlash, that he didn’t get any ‘bon voyage, come back soon’.

It was indecent what he did. Very. The proper place to do the number one is in a bathroom, or at the foot of a lamp post or tree. It was not desecration. Desecration is assaulting a temple with a bulldozer.

This person, the philistine who took the picture — with a big stretch we might forgive him for the lapse, his photographer’s mistake, but he should have come to his senses before scandalizing the gentleman. And NICH, it would have been sufficient when they got the picture (which the photographer should have destroyed) for them to have identified the gentleman and sent him a note, a caution about sprinkling the lawn with impure water. That would have been sufficient. If NICH wanted to go further they could have asked him to pen a one-hundred-word essay about, okay why we shouldn’t pee-pi in the park.

My glance of the pic did not show anyone else in the frame – I didn’t see anyone else — and common sleuthing would tell you that means that the guy hung back, stayed back so he could get as far behind the crowd as he could, before he eased his bladder that must have been at the point of bursting.

Don’t rule out that the man had a bladder problem and he just had to go. Look, he didn’t do it on the temple. He did it on the lawn. I can’t see those inside the sarcophagus getting angry about that. Indeed, our ancestors must have been happy for him, realizing how desperately that poor bohga might have had to go.

A story by Rowland Parks in the Tuesday Amandala shows the man drinking a Belikin beer, and he makes the comment that NICH has a strict no-drinking policy. I don’t follow this. The rule must be, no drinking in GLASS bottles! A law like that would make perfect sense. You don’t have to be drunk or careless to let a glass bottle fall. Accidents do happen. Shards from a broken bottle could ruin a beautiful day at the park.

Somebody has to tell Mr. Parks, and NICH, that the Catholics say that beer is FOOD. That’s right. It’s a nutritious drink, loaded with stuff that protects the heart, cleans the kidneys, lowers bad cholesterol, helps the bones, relaxes the mind and a whole ton of good stuff there. If it’s alcohol content you’re after, you’d have to drink a case of it to get drunk.

He must have drunk a whole case. Maybe he’s one of those types who takes one and can’t stop. There are people who have this problem with dinner. They have no restraint. The man was drunk and that might indicate that he has no self-control when it comes to drinking, but the thousand words we draw from the picture we were shown is that when it comes to keeping his liquid in his body until he could dispose of it decently, he exhibited incredible restraint. I repeat, he was the only person I saw in the picture, so he held it in and held back until the lawn was clear.

We know the man was drunk. The proof that he was drunk is from the backside, which was half exposed. I’m not so sinister to think that he was about any kind of in-your-face gay parade. The man had to be slobbering drunk to pull his pants down so far, because in full mind no fellow pulls down his pants that way to execute a function from the front.

There’s another argument for drunk. If he was sober and he had the overwhelming need to let go his fluid excess, he would most likely have feigned a plank and doused the grass right from that position. I think then that that devil cameraman would have had to disgracefully drop to all fours, get on his belly like a snake to get a sneak shot of what the brother was doing.

Bladder problem, drunk — did NICH want the gentleman to do it in his pants? Then what? Would they have allowed him to get on the bus? Then he would have missed his ship, or plane. If he didn’t have sufficient pocket money he would not have been able to afford a hotel, so he would have had to sleep in the street, and with all the predators about, someone could have assaulted him. Then we would have had an international mess on our hands. People in power really have to make better use of their thinking faculties.

Lucky we, we escaped that extreme situation. Daam to a sneak shot by a camera in the wrong hands, and an overzealous NICH Board! No one around here ever heard about letting a trivial matter lie?

But we are not completely out of the woods. We were supposed to be the land of the warm and the friendly. Now, with this callous exposure of the poor brother, the ugly scene of baring his face and half of his backside, we look like some cold bohgaz to those abroad. Suppose the man is a professor in a university, or has some job that he needs self-respect to perform? You know we just ruined his career, and for what?  For failing to make it to the bathroom and splattering his uric acid on the grass.

Pray to the gods he is not vengeful – he could call all his family and friends, his entire country, because we were so harsh on him for his unauthorized leak. They might all decide on another destination next time.

It’s not impossible that the man is a sailor. He could be a farmer too. Those of us in these lonely professions, we are given to binge sometimes. He could be a sailor. He would have seen our beautiful reef and islands and just at that point when he was sucking on that last cold beer, the one that just couldn’t find space in his bladder, he was thinking about getting a group of friends down here on a yacht, and when they got here they would have left some of their foreign money at all the stops – PG, Placencia, Seine Bight, Hopkins, Dangriga, Caye Caulker, San Pedro, Sarteneja.

They say that things could always be worse, so maybe it’s a good thing, that his good thing ended right there, with the public shaming. He and his folk could have come down on a yacht, and they could have taken a trip outside Turneffe, and a bad storm could have come up and driven his vessel onto the reef. In Belize they don’t only shame you for that, they go after your boat, your house, and your lot, if you’re not Guatemalan.

It’s embarrassing enough for a boat captain to ground his vessel. And the personal losses can be huge. You could lose lives too. Please let us get the sense here. They don’t come more environmentalist than sailors! Sailors carry auxiliary engines only for emergencies. Sailors don’t want any oil slick on the sea and they don’t want to smelly up the air with burning fossil fuels.

Merciless authorities! They should get more patrols out there. They should get more buoys out there, to guide, and buoys that are so well anchored a sailor can tie his boat onto them, in the event that a bad storm blows up around him.

Look, the man apologized, and from what I read in the Parks’ story, he was full to the gills with remorse. He said he comes to our beautiful country every year, and he loves the Mayan culture and history, and he definitely wasn’t about being rude. He even called himself a fool. The man apologized and that indicates that he is not only a good sort, he has a lot of guts. And everyone who’s ever had one too many beers to drink knows that he showed a ton of class too, to hang back from the crowd before yielding to what must have been a very urgent natural call.

Obviously, we could have gotten the apology without exposing his face and butt to the world. My gudnis, can you imagine what they would do to someone who falls in love with tamales and feasted on them like they were Belikin beer? Then what? For a front failure you might be able to do a satisfactory wash off at a pipe, sufficient to get you back on the bus, but for a foul up at the back you’ll need ooh, sweet soap too, a lot of it.

For gudnis sayks, di man jos peep-i. If that is such a great sin in Belize, how come Fort George voted for Dean Lindo and he became the Minister of Natural Resources? Dean Lindo should have been PM in 1979, and it was not the dastard PUP snapping him piddling in the park and blowing it up into a front page story for the Belize Times, that derailed his train.

Daam right, the tourist was wrong. You absolutely don’t want people to be spraying their water all over the place. But do you ruin a man’s life for fertilizing the grass when he thought no one was looking and he couldn’t hold it in any longer? Is it fair to take advantage of a brother to get your point across? I think not.

On behalf of the rest of us, I want the brother to know that we are not all criminals here. He was wrong, but it was a peccadillo, not a mortal sin. I want him to know that we are calling out our NICH for taking a sneaking Tom’s picture and making an ugly poster of it. And we won’t stop calling them out until they take it down, and apologize.

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Deshawn Swasey

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