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Home Features Tourism and Equal Opportunities Bill (EOB)

Tourism and Equal Opportunities Bill (EOB)

The late Agripino Cawich, an accomplished agronomist from the Orange Walk district who became the area representative for Cayo South in 1998, famously said in his manifesto for the area that when you think of the consequences of little things, “you realize that there are no little things.”

In the greatest game in the greatest sport on the planet, football, the then greatest player in the world, France’s Zenedine Zidane, head-butted an opponent because the opponent allegedly said that he would like to spend a good night with Zidane’s sister.

It’s still in the back of my mind that it was in the back of Zidane’s mind that they were ten minutes away from a penalty shootout for the sport’s greatest prize, and he just might not have wanted to face off against the world’s then greatest portero, Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon, again. Earlier in the 2006 World Cup Finals, Zidane had come awfully close to missing a penalty he had taken against Buffon. The consequences of little things, sometimes they are not small.

It might have seemed trivial when a gay man insisted that a born-again Christian woman bake the wedding cake for him and his male lover, but oh the consequences. That wasn’t just a wedding cake! That cake was the thin edge of the wedge, the straw to break the camel’s back.

For the gay community that would have been the ultimate revenge for six thousand years of being put down, and for the Christian community, that was the ultimate treason against Leviticus. Hmm, I Googled this cake story and found that it’s really a serial — multiple bakers, male and female, and multiple gays, and I can’t report on all, so I report on none. Let’s just say this thing ended up in courts in the USA, and if you haven’t read about it, there are a number of stories that pop up in Google’s search results at the first search.

It is no small thing that the gay part of this bill (Equal Opportunities Bill) involves tourism, the industry where we have the biggest edge. Our flora and fauna and barrier reef and Mayan temples and our people make us number one in the world. (Don’t ignore the fact that in the richest economies in the world, the mighty industrial powers, tourism contributes 10% and more of their GDPs.)

What I’m after today is this EOB and its implications for the bed & breakfast establishments (B&B) and the Airbnb rentals that are bound to become more important in our tourism industry if we get some sense and accept that bigger and more glitter is not best for little Belize. The big hotels don’t give a daam about who books a room. If you’ve got the money, they’ve got the space. However, who comes to Belize is a big concern for the B&B enterprises and the Airbnb homeowners.

Before we go on, allow me to clear this up for those of us who are/were ignorant like me and thought that those two are the same. This piece by Mary White, published by PhocusWire (at phocuswire.com), explains the difference.

Ms. White, in her article “B&Bs: Don’t let Airbnb eat you for breakfast”, says “The letters ‘BnB’ have long been associated with Bed & Breakfasts and/or Country Inns, and as such, Airbnb’s name is causing serious damage to B&B brand identity, and sowing confusion among potential customers.

“Airbnb properties are not B&B’s at all, but rather a diverse array of short-term rentals. The definition of a B&B is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodations and breakfast. This is not a new concept by a long shot – B&Bs as they are known today have been around for decades. Legitimate B&Bs not only serve breakfast, but are also licensed, inspected, and insured in order to protect guests. They are also required to pay a variety of taxes. Airbnb hosts do none of these things.”

I believe one reason the EOB crowd want to pass this thing into law is because it will be good for tourism in our country. The fact is that the gay crowd and their sympathizers have a lot of money, but they won’t come if they don’t have an open field. It would be good if those B&B and Airbnb enterprises who are “tolerant” hang out such shingles, but the gay crowd doesn’t want that. They have money, and they insist that Christian people bake their cakes. All of us have to be in, or they are out.

Ah, but if the gay crowd comes to Belize, the Christian crowd will shy away. Some years ago one of the American Evangelicals in Belize said that the American Christians were looking to our country as the New Jerusalem, because America has become decadent. Well, America being decadent is no news to us. That place is run by a live-and-let-live gang in Hollywood.

I’m not making things up. They are too much the story of rich men, supported by women who don’t give a daam, preying on the young, especially the female young. By the way, here’s Jane Fonda again, telling the world that she went bathing with Michael Jackson and neither of them had on clothes. Is this another tragic case of an old person just not being able to take a bow after the curtain has come down, or is she one of those don’t-give-a-daaam women who helped the ugly male predators in Hollywood chaans the vulnerable young. Yes, I’m not pleased. I used to like Jane.

I think Belize should protect her young people. There are young people who don’t give a daam, and they are who they are. We should give every help to those who want to walk the straight and narrow path.

The tourism for Belize has to go back to the eco-kind, the path that the trailblazers of the industry took before we took a turn to cater for the rich and famous. In time those ugly big buildings will fall away, so we don’t have to send in the bulldozers and the cranes with the wrecking balls.

Christians and Muslims and Baháis in Belize must have the right to choose the kinds of guests they want in their homes and yards. Gay tourists must know that we will not force any B&B or Airbnb to bake their cake. However, our laws must insist that they get full respect, if they are not too expressive when they go to the market.

Well, well, well, Tamango

When I was a little boy much of my life centered on football – I played every day in my yard, and on Sunday afternoons I was a fixture on the bench behind the south goal at the MCC. I knew the names of all the heroes, from the south to the north, from the west to the east.

All the greats had nicknames. In the evenings when I played in my yard I was the Mohga, or Gyas Dougal, or Big Fred Martinez, or Rummy Martinez. When I fell in love with Peeta and R.A.C., and Columbus and La Victoria, I made a little goal and became a portero.

Of all the nicknames the strangest one I ever heard was Tamango, for a goalkeeper from Stann Creek. I think he played for a team called Salada Eleven. I probably saw Tamango only once, but the name stuck with me. A nickname doesn’t come out of the blue. Gyas had a lot of energy; I naturally thought Rummy liked a bottle now and then; Big Fred was tall and strong; Columbus was flamboyant. Why Tamango?

Well, if you’re patient you’ll learn things. I was watching the movie channel, Turner Classic Movies, and wah — Tamango is the name of a slave in a 1958 movie by the same name.

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