Dear readers, this is not my regular column. Yes, I’ve been missing in action, but I haven’t gone anywhere, and I’m in pretty good shape. It’s difficult to explain all the issues and personal emotions of the moment.
With your permission, I want to reproduce what I believe must be the very first one of these columns ever. At the time it would not have been written in a publisher’s capacity, mostly because I was still the editor. So the piece below was not entitled “From the publisher,” but “A farewell to arms,” which was a phrase which would have been borrowed from the one Ernest Hemingway. It was originally published in Amandala No. 251 of Friday, November 8th, 1974, reproduced in Feelings in 1975, and in X-Communication in 1995.
There are some special times in life when a man must take stock of himself, what he has been, what he is, and what he will be. In one of these critical times I now find myself and I can only say what is a man, what has he got, if not himself, then he has not.
The people have expressed their will, and I respect the will of the people. The UBAD Party and myself have been rejected by the people. In the judgment of the people, the majority of the people, the policies and programs of the party are irrelevant and incorrect. I accept the judgment of the people. I must now remove myself from the political spotlight. It is not a question of surrender, but rather a reasonable assessment of a situation beyond our control.
On behalf of the UBAD Party, I express gratitude to those merchants who gave us something to campaign with, to all the canvassers who worked so hard for us, and to those magnificent 89 people in the Collet division who were brave enough to vote for us. If you are in need of any help that we can provide, rest assured that I and those of us who remain will do our best.
You know that many of my good men have gone to the States to seek betterment; some have joined the PUP; some have joined the UDP. This system after all is a two party system, as we have seen, and it is not for us to judge anyone.
I express our congratulations to all those who have been elected. You have now been entrusted with a sacred responsibility by the people. Do not be childish, petty, or malicious. Be manly, honorable, and magnanimous. PUP and UDP, forget your differences and work as one government for the good of all of us – the Belizean people.
After much thought, I have decided to continue publishing and editoring the AMANDALA newspaper as long as I can. AMANDALA will move in the direction of being a community newspaper rather than a political organ. How long we will survive is, of course, up to you the people. I also want to do some writing otherwise. By and large, the years have been good ones. I will not answer the post-election rumors and accusations. Only time will be the judge, and you will know this was a brother who was sincere to the people.