In the final installment of his story, “Violence, Terror and Escape: The Edward Rodney Story”, which was published in the November 6, 2020 edition of the Amandala, Mr. Lawrence Vernon reproduced an excerpt from a headline story in the Belize Billboard that featured the July 15, 1957 conviction and sentencing of Rodney for the attempted murder of a prison officer. What caught my eye was a sentence that said that Rodney had joined “Alberto Alfred in the death cells.”
Most Belizeans don’t have the facility to thank Mr. Vernon for his important research, but I do, so, on behalf of all of us who want to and can’t, thank you, thank you. So much of our history is being lost because our authorities don’t invest in us. Really, we know so much about other people out there, while we have a trove of stories just gathering dust, stories gradually slipping away as our old folk lose their memories or depart.
The first part of Rodney’s story is from a time when Belize was a peaceful haven of democracy, 1957, so it was almost alone on the stage. The reason Rodney wasn’t alone in the spotlight when he was put on death row is because that other man was there, a man who had been found guilty of a horrible murder and was just days away from the gallows. I’m no historian. If you tell me that I’m a writer I will tell you maybe yes, but only in a little niche, a little corner, but I will pick up a story no one wants to do, or no one has any knowledge of, so that it doesn’t remain buried.
Ah, Alberto Alfred, I was to go to the files for his story, but I’ve only been to the Archives once since this COVID-19 came to dominate our lives. I expect that the hardworking archivists at the department don’t mind that I’m not utilizing their important library. The story is that if you don’t absolutely have to be anywhere, then you’d best be at home.
The story I have is that Alberto Alfred was hung by the neck until he was dead within two weeks after he was convicted and sentenced for a crime he did not commit. The story I have is that the murder he was sentenced for took place in “Stag Bar”, also called “Triangles Bar”, in Belize City.
The story I have is that Alberto Alfred was in the bar with his brother, and his brother, a notorious bad man, went up to a man and asked him for a drink, and when the man refused he grabbed the bottle, broke it, and stabbed the man in the neck, killing him.
Police who were nearby heard the commotion and they immediately entered the bar to find out what the trouble was about. They questioned the brothers; one couldn’t answer, and he was taken into custody and charged with murder.
Alberto Alfred had a speech impediment, could barely form words, and his brother let him go to the gallows for a murder he did not commit.
Within a year of the horrible murder and the terrible lie, retribution found the brother of Alfred. He was a marked man for his crimes, and after a number of violent encounters in different parts of the Cayo District, he met his death in one of the Twin Towns, I think Santa Elena.
I have a little more on this story, but I’ll wait until I get to the archives, or better still, until some true historian picks up the tale and finishes it.
Mensaje for Belizean Trumpers
Belizeans who support Donald Trump as president of the US are overwhelmingly of Evangelical stock, and since they are people who believe in prayer, I am asking them to pray for their guy to go quietly. Over there, in the US, I am waiting for Dr. Carson to say what must be said, but he has COVID-19, so it might be a while yet before he is properly focused and realizes what his duty is.
As we all know, yes, yes, when America sneezes we catch cold, and what is happening over there, with Mr. Trump digging in even though the American voters have already chosen another guy to lead them, will cause some bad fallout our way if it persists. There’s a deep divide over in America, and the threads that hold those fragile/some volatile states together, can break.
Belizean Trumpers need to accept how their man came to power, and when they do I believe they will say thanks to God for their great luck to have had, for four long years, a president and vice-president in the White House who defended a baker’s right to be selective about whom they made a tasty cake for, worked to curtail abortion rights, roughed up their political and religious enemies, and responded to other of their many concerns.
Just days before the 2016 US election to choose a president, their FBI director, James Comey, announced that his department was investigating some messages on a private email server that belonged to the candidate for the Democrats, Hilary Clinton. The private email story had been dragging in the news for some months, and it had been put away as being without substance. Reviving it just before the election had to appear as if there was a smoking gun.
Recently I read somewhere that Comey agonized about his decision, and that his wife advised him to hold off. If he had, Donald Trump would not have become president. Eleven days before that election the wind was full in the sails of Mrs. Clinton, and it was like her sailing ship hit a dead calm when Comey made his announcement.
It was a catch-22 for Comey — damned if he made the announcement before the election and if he made it after. Obviously he knew the impact the announcement would have on the election. But his duty was to act when he did. He acted, there turned out to be nothing in the email story, and the Belize Evangelicals got a man in the White House who crushed the Palestinians, and Cuba.
God knows best
Today, Tuesday, one day before the people of Belize decide which party will form the next government, I am hoping that the people decide that it is time for the UDP to be put out to pasture, to go away for the next five years. For all their sins, and their crassness, they should get put out for longer than that, but we have to be satisfied with five years, because the next side, it has proved, never knows how to handle success either.
Sticking to what happens tomorrow, I am familiar with the saying, vox populi, vox dei, which means “the voice of the people is the voice of God”, and my sense is that we can understand this to mean, if we apply it to the results tomorrow, that whatever the vote, we have to accept it. Indeed, the vote is the voice of the people, and whom the people choose to be king, rules on earth with almost the same might as God rules in heaven.
I think that a bigger explanation of that vox populi, vox dei story is that God guides the decisions of man, that piddling we come with our seeds, but God decides which one(s) will grow, so whatever the outcome of the election, we are to say, the Lord has decided. Well, I, me personal, I don’t think God will be helping anyone in a counting room, but if the UDP should win, I know the proper thing to say is, God knows best, He wanted those wikid bohgaz to whip the PUP philistines again.