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UEF calls for new bridge replacing Haulover to be named The Eboe Akan Bridge

LettersUEF calls for new bridge replacing Haulover to be named The Eboe Akan Bridge

Minister Julius Espat
Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing
City of Belmopan, Belize

Date: February 9, 2024

Re: United Black Association for Development Educational Foundation (UEF) request for the name of the new bridge across the Belize River, that replaces the colonial named Haulover Bridge, to be named The Eboe Akan Bridge, after the Afrikan nations where our Afrikan Ancestresses and Ancestors originated from.

Greetings Minister Julius Espat,

United Black Association for Development Educational Foundation (UEF) is an almost 28 years old community-based organization in Southside Belize City with a focus on consciousness raising for the liberation of Afrikan people using the popular education model in Belize. UEF is advocating for the new bridge that spans the Belize River and replaces the old colonial named Haulover Bridge to be named after the Afrikan nations our Afrikan Ancestresses and Ancestors came from and whose blood, sweat, tears, bones, and vibrations are woven into the wind, soil, river, trees, and roots of the 2 banks of the Belize River, in the Belize River, and the crossing space between the 2 banks of the Belize River that the new bridge now connects. 80 years after “the first recorded settlement was made in 1638 by a party of shipwrecked British subjects, later augmented by settlers from Jamaica (captured from the Spanish by British forces under Admiral Penn and General Venables in 1655),” our Afrikan Ancestresses and Ancestors, after being kidnapped and tortured from the continent of Afrika, large numbers did not survive the human trafficking across the Atlantic Ocean to Jamaica, and the other spaces that other Afrikan people were forced to come to the Settlement in the Bay of Honduras, today the country of Belize, in 1718. The Honduras Almanack (1829, p.18) also notes for the first time how, “About this period [1718], Negro Labourers were first introduced from the Islands of Jamaica [which was a major market and supplier of captive Africans in the West Indies and the North American colonies], and Bermuda before which, the Whites, notwithstanding the baneful influence of the climate upon Europeans, appear to have done just as much work.”

Between the period of April 1755 and 1863 (not counting the over 4 years that the Settlement in the Bay of Honduras was abandoned between 1779 – 1784) there is documented evidence of:
• April 1755 – an engineer was sent to help to build and arm a fort at the Haulover, and a small detachment, to be camouflaged as Baymen, to man the fort. Nevertheless, the Spaniards are said to have burned the houses and destroyed the provision ground (Pendergast, p.16)
• In 1786 – we are told that at the Public Meeting (what can be considered today as the Legislature), the members agreed to build a good house for the Superintendent at Despard’s Point on the Belize River near the mouth of the Haulover Creek (the Haulover Bridge on the Northern Highway near mile five now crosses the Belize River at or near Despard’s Point). The Public Meeting also agreed to contribute 500 pounds per year to his salary and provide an Official Pitpan and paddlers for him (Cited in Emory Kin, Vol. II, pp. 6-7)
• Indeed, the Honduras Almanack of 1828 noted that, “the chief military station was at Haulover and there the Superintendent resided” (p.9). It also states that, “a cattle road ran from the southern mouth of the Belize River to the Haul over” (ibid, p.9). Finally, the document also states that beside the military station, “there is no single building at the Haul over” (op. cit, p.10). The same document also noted that, the Lt. Governor “shall call the attention of your honourable house to the efforts now being made to form a road to the Haulover (idem, p.3).
• The Haulover is described by John Caddy in 1839 as, “The branch of the river from Belize to Haul over – so called from its being the place where the cattle taken to Belize are driven across – runs through a mangrove swamp for the distance of 4 miles: a road has been cleared on the right hand side which is passable in the dry seasons: and indeed cattle are driven along it at all times of the year. Nothing can be more monotonous than this part of the River until you arrive at Haulover where its principal mouth opens to the sea, having beside the two channels already mentioned several smaller ones. The quantity of alluvial deposit from the River causes great shallowness of water for miles continuous to its outlet, and it appears that the whole of that part of the coast from Haulover to Belize is a delta island, which is evidently increasing, and others forming” (Pendergast, p.37)
• The Archives of British Honduras (p.10) entered that in August 1809, “the Superintendent lived in a house not belonging to Government at the Haul over, requiring a pit-pan for communication with Belize”.
• In November 1827, the Haulover road was cleared.
• It would indeed appear that, up until 1863, the only means of travel to the Haulover, beside the river, was a bush path.

I took my time to document many actions between those approximately 104 years (1863 – 1755 = 108 years minus the about 4 years of the Settlement in the Bay of Honduras being abandoned 1779 – 1784 = 4 years) to provide the evidence of the time period that our Afrikan Ancestress and Ancestors were forced to work unpaid, to plant provisions, be separated from their families and communities, prepare food, serve food, were paddlers, clean up after enslavers, worked for ungodly hours, chop trees, clear paths, drive cattle, build structures (fort and houses), women were raped, children were expected to contribute as well, Afrikan beings who were classified as properties were beaten, killed, maimed, whipped, traumatized, starved, fed inadequately oftentimes in spite of the weather conditions or how they may have felt physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually … in the area known as Haul over!

Based on the evidence I presented that I gathered from various sources and cited at the end of this email, as a decolonizing act and in leaving a legacy of right actions to our Afrikan Ancestresses and Ancestors memories, to our Afrikan elders who are still alive, to us their Afrikan descendants, and to our unborn Afrikan children in Belize, this administration and the Government of Belize has a duty to name the new bridge that spans the Belize River an Afrikan name!

There are a number of Afrikan names that may be chosen for the new bridge. The bridge may be named after Afrikan nations of people who were forced to work and some died in the Haulover area. The following list of Afrikan nation names are from these regions in Afrika:
• Congoes – the Congo in west-central Afrika,
• Nangoes – the Yoruba of south-western Nigeria,
• Mongolas – Angola in west-central Africa,
• Ashantees – Asante of modern Ghana,
• Eboes – Igbo or Ibo of south-eastern Nigeria

“The Eboes had a community named after them in Belize Town based on the 1829 Honduras Almanack, Eboe Town lasted up until the mid-19th century. The Handbook of 1925 noted that on “November 9th 1819” Eboe Town (that area between South and Barclay Streets running from Regent Street to the Canal, Belize) [was] consumed by fire” (p.8; also refer to Eboe Town on a plan of Belize in the Honduras Almanack of 1829). Eboe Town was also known as Over Pond.”

“Eboe Town was so-called because of the preponderance of enslaved Africans of Igbo extraction. Even though Eboe Town was burned down in 1819, the area was still referred to by that name in 1850 as recorded by Crown.”

“In fact, Akan names are present in all the census registers between 1790 and 1832. There are also place names that are indicative of the dominant position of the Akan/Asante in the overall enslaved African population of Belize. Place names include: Africa in the Orange Walk District, Bomba Bank Belize District (the name is of Yoruba origin in Southwest Nigeria), Cudjoe Lagoon in the Corozal District (the name is of Akan origin in modern Ghana), Quaco Creek (Akan of modern Ghana), Quashie (Akan of modern Ghana) Banner (Irish) Creek, and Quamina (Akan of modern Ghana) Creek”.

United Black Association for Development Educational Foundation (UEF) is recommending naming the new bridge The Eboe Akan Bridge which crosses the Belize River that replaces the old colonial named Haulover Bridge.

In conclusion, UEF is aware of a number of colonized narratives about the origin of the word Belize. “David Hernandez has traced the name Belize to a tiny African village and river of the same name, spelling, and pronunciation to the Cabinda Province of Angola, in Africa”.

Let me quickly list some of the books that were my sources of information and that I quoted directly from in most of this email.

  1. Free Yu Mind Booklet A Community talk with Aondofe Iyo
  2. Discover Old Belize Town Sites & Places of Memory Aondofe Joe Iyo
  3. Belize New Vision African and Maya Civilizations the heritage of a new nation Aondofe Iyo, Froyla Tzalam, and Francis Humphreys
  4. The Formation of a Colonial Society Belize, from Conquest to Crown Colony O. Nigel Bolland
  5. Family and People all Well… An account of the Occurrences in the Business of Mahogany and Logwood Cutting in the Bay of Honduras in 1789 Roy Murray

As the chairperson of United Black Association for Development Educational

Foundation (UEF) I have a duty to represent the memories of our Afrikan Ancestresses and Ancestors, the interests of our living Afrikan descendants, and that of our unborn Afrikan children racialized as Black people in Belize.

My cell phone number is 501.671.8050

Awaiting your written response to UEF’s request, Cabinet members of Belize.

Carolyn “YaYa” Marin Coleman
UEF Chairperson

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