Features — 26 January 2019
Time to go

It was necessary for the politicians to have their say, and no one can shut them up when they want to speak anyway. But at this time they have to recede and allow the untainted people to come to the fore. I am, of course, talking about the YES vote.

Let’s get the real sense of these guys. In 2002, when the Ramphal/Reichler Proposals were being laid on the table, the leader of the main opposition party, Dean Barrow, declared that he supported the process, but that’s where it ended.

On September 18, 2002, Channel Five’s Janelle Chanona reported on a statement he made to the nation:

(QUOTE) The United Democratic Party votes no to the proposals unless and until the following conditions are met:

1. The crisis in Benque must be resolved and the Guatemalan citizens that have invaded Belizean territory removed from our country. [Applause]

2. Draft language for inclusion into any treaty of settlement, describing effective mechanisms for preventing and dealing quickly and successfully with Benque and Santa Rosa- type incursions into Belize, must be approved by the United Democratic Party on behalf of the Belizean people. Such language must provide generally, as well, for the resolution of all disputes that might arise from competing interpretations of treaty provisions, or from any situation of conflict or potential conflict arising at sea or on land between Belize and Guatemala.

3. There must be an assurance and a commitment in writing that the OAS, or one or more of the major powers, will guarantee any treaty or treaties of settlement between Belize and Guatemala, including the enforcement mechanisms for conflict resolution and dispute settlement.

4. The traditional and exclusive fishing rights of Belizeans in our area of the proposed ecological park, must be maintained and guaranteed by the Government of Belize.

5. A commitment must be given and draft language reflecting it produced, that in any treaty of settlement, Guatemala will be required to drop forever any and all territorial claims to Belize; and that nothing, including allegations of non-fulfillment of any condition or provision in that treaty of settlement or any other treaty between Belize and Guatemala, can result in the revival of such claims.

6. A comprehensive Belize draft of the treaty or treaties to give effect to the proposals of the facilitators, as clarified to the satisfaction of the UDP, must be produced so as to assure that there is no slippage between what is contained in the proposals and what will ultimately be agreed with Guatemala.

7. Conditions one through six must be satisfied within thirty days of today’s date.” (END OF QUOTE)

Janelle Chanona (News5 anchor) asked him what he and his party would do if the demands weren’t met. Barrow responded: “Then our conditional no is a complete no, and we will campaign actively among the Belizean people for them to vote no in the referendum.” (Applause followed.)

“What I have said reflects not just the party’s position, but my position. What I have said is something that I, together with a number of others, fought for last night so that I am entirely at one with my party in the position taken,” Barrow further said.

He went on to say, “While I think that with the safeguards we are insisting on people perhaps in the end can vote for these proposals, it really is not helpful for anyone to come here and in effect tell us, vote yes or else. I think that’s calculated to get the backs of the Belizean people up and that would be the surest guarantee of a no vote.”

Ah, you see why the PM has not stuck his nose out, hasn’t gone much beyond saying he supports the trip to the ICJ? Ah, and we see where Eamon Courtenay took a page right out of his book, with his freeze and repeal MAA and such. Some PUPeez are saying NO all the way, but some are saying NO, until a later date. That’s how they roll.

As we approach the date with destiny, we have to change tack. It is OBVIOUS that all with the taint of red or blue party paint have ZERO CREDIBILITY, so they have to step back. Fellows, you have brought the ball just about as far as you can carry it.

Assad Shoman wrote must be a thousand pages on George Price and didn’t find one fault in the great man. Thank you for your work Assad, you’ve DONE your job. Now, give way.

The referendum unit must change course at this time, or Ambassador Rosado has to find another vehicle. His arguments are for YES, so then he must say YES. Ambassador Rosado is untainted by the politics.

There is only one other knowledgeable person (on the matter) in Belize who is untainted by politics, and that is former ambassador, David Gibson. Yes, we know that when the UDP was at its nadir, worst, most terrible, back in 1998, it was floating around that David Gibson might run for the PUP who at that time were campaigning to save the country from a near total economic squeeze. But he didn’t. The truth is that David could have run for either party. When the politicians give space, maybe David will join Ambassador Rosado.

We have a case to win, but it will not make it to the ICJ if these spent, wasted party players don’t get out of the pool and head to the showers. Unu deh eena di way.  Beat it! Vete! If there are any rewards for you, it is way down the road. The present demands that pure heroes, leaders with CREDIBILITY, take charge.

Brilliant syndicate

In my Tuesday column I told you about a brilliant version of the traditional syndicate that Brother Ervin Perez spoke about the Tuesday before on the WuB. I see wonders for this thing. It can be used in schools, and it will help our children and youth to become comfortable with math. They could operate with a shilling each week, so they learn how it works. Those children who have a childhood similar to the one Mr. Joe Bradley of Wave fame had, can play with bigger money. The brilliant innovative syndicate will also help us adults who aren’t familiar with the business of money to learn how money works.

You can get the full details from Ervin, but here’s what I understand. We’ll use $10 per week each in a ten-person syndicate to make it easy for you, and for me. The first step is, you pay for the positions.

Hmm, I quit. I’ll mess up this thing and it’s just too good to confuse. I got it, but I have to be perfect with the mechanisms. I’ll have to find a way to Ervin, then voila!

Trust me, the brilliant syndicate is out of this world sensible. It is so good that I’d join a syndicate and consider drawing last out of ten, when I would never consider anything below the second slot in the regular show.

Hurray, no more nonsense, dangerous Ponzi schemes in Belize!

Joe made Fonso’s eyebrows go up

Joe Bradley of Wave must be an heir to Bradley’s lemonade. That explains why sometimes he’s snotty. That’s the unfortunate of the rich kids. They have no sense of how poor people live, so if they weren’t born with the virtue of empathy, they won’t ever have it.

Last week, Joe told Fonso that his folk used to give him TEN DOLLARS allowance each month. Fonso’s eyebrows went up, and so did the eyebrows of most everyone else who was listening in that morning. Ten dollars back then was more than most laborers earned for a full day’s work. Ten dollars back then could have bought 100 tickets to a Sunday afternoon football match at the MCC.

I’ll tell you more about how incredible that $10/mth is. I don’t think one person in the 31 members of the House of Representatives who’s over forty, got more than a dollar a week for allowance. Joe must have bought a lot of protection with that wad in his back pocket. He’s not a physically big fellow and he’s got a big mouth. He must have bought protection.

Responding to an unfortunate situation

Things happen in this world. These things that happen can change our lives in a blink. We are familiar with the saying, man proposes but God disposes. So it is, that we make the best business plans, cover all the contingencies and more, and then a hurricane comes, or there is a seismic shift, an abrupt, unforeseen about turn by our partner(s), and kaput goes our designs.

In many areas in this world, thousands of young men who might still be too innocent to be fully responsible for any crime, are on the battlefield, fighting wars they know little about. Somewhere in this world a young woman is being abused, or being forced into a relationship with a mature man she doesn’t care for. There is no shortage of victims in this world. Things happen, and these things are very real. Suddenly, we are forced to change course to deal with a reality we are completely unprepared for.

A vile, or ignorant, or very stupid person reportedly posted nude photos of a female teacher on an internet site, an act which violated the lady’s privacy and also threatens her right to do her job. This is the story that emerged in the news over the past weekend. The school where the lady taught/teaches, Muffles College, reportedly asked her to resign, and when she refused they put her on administrative leave.

The teacher has hired a lawyer, who has pointed out that the school cannot dismiss the teacher, that it is only the Teaching Service Commission that can do that. The lawyer has also pointed out that the teacher has a right to her job, under the Constitution, and appears to have called on the teachers union to weigh in on her behalf.

Before we go on, we must point out that anyone who is in an intimate relationship is vulnerable to have what happened to this teacher, happen to them. A malicious type person can take photos of us when we are unaware. And a malicious type person can use said photos to blackmail, or injure us for sick personal satisfaction.

It can happen to anybody. A Dominica News Online story of November 11, 2015, reported on a sex tape that had surfaced which showed a young female and a much older male who “sounded very much” like St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) prime minister, Ralph Gonsalves. The tape surfaced just after the SVG leader had announced general elections. Gonsalves denied that he was the man in the tape.

It’s a crazy situation created by the new technology, and in many instances it is worse than stealing a person’s private communications. It’s a form of murder, assassination of a person’s privacy and opportunities. It is murder of a person’s God-given right to choice.

There are at least three stories in this incident with the teacher, one being who would do such a thing to her, two being how what was done affects her, and three being how her nude picture(s) affect the youth who see it.

There is no question that a person who violates the privacy of another person should be brought to justice for the crime. It is a despicable act, a vicious one, and definitely no stone must be left unturned in finding the culprit and serving justice.

The teacher has a right to teach. To fire her is to violate her again. But the students also have a right to the best environment for their education. A teacher’s job is very much similar to that of a boat captain or a sports club captain. The teacher is captain of his or her classroom. As captain, the teacher must have the capacity to control his or her charges, must be able to maintain discipline.

The teacher is not the first person in Belize to be so violated. There was another story of a similar violation, in Orange Walk, but the victim was in another profession. What is almost certain is that this latest incident will not be the last of this kind.

Our response is important. No right thinking person wants a teacher to lose her job because an extremely vindictive or stupid person hurt her so cruelly. It is cruel to murder a person’s privacy, and quite possibly murder her opportunity to teach too. However, we must appreciate that where the school and the students are concerned, it is not relevant HOW the picture(s) became public.

We don’t live in a gender-neutral world. The women of our country might see ways to navigate through this unfortunate situation, find a way for the teacher to keep her job. We have no hesitation in saying that if a male teacher were to fall victim to such a crime, there wouldn’t be any need for a discussion. He would have to find another job.

There’s a reason why people wear clothing that doesn’t have to do with protection from the heat (in tropical countries), and protection from the cold (in temperate countries). Times change, making some laws archaic, outdated, but the intent of the law, why it was made, cannot just be passed over. The revised laws of Belize, 2000, declares it an offense for a man to “willfully, openly, lewdly or obscenely expose his person in any street, river or harbor, or in any place in view thereof, or in any place of public resort.”

It is possible that that law encompassed women, but it is unlikely. A woman who exposed herself for public viewing would have been considered unbalanced in the head, in need of psychiatric care. If she wasn’t, the female members of the society would be so harsh to her it would have been unconscionable cruelty to punish her further.

But the law does prohibit willful exposing “in any street or any public place, or in the window of any house or shop in any street or public place, any obscene print, picture…” It is a subject for discourse. It is not impossible that we have “fast-forwarded” to a world where a nude photo of a teacher is of no interest to their students.

The simple solution would be for the state to immediately find placement for the teacher in a less sensitive job, one where she will not have to command youth and children. Surely our state has the responsibility to recognize that it must remedy injustice. If the teacher is devoted to the teaching profession, it will not be enough. But we will have done our best.

In closing, it is so that things happen, and sometimes they are terrible things. However, we must not forget that sometimes things happen that are out of this world better than we deserve. We draw the breath of life at birth and what could we have possibly done to deserve such a blessing? Our prayers go out for the teacher, that this episode will have a good ending.

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Deshawn Swasey

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