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Monday, December 6, 2021
Home Features What Kendis said to Michelle

What Kendis said to Michelle

Belize owes a lot to Kendis, a Belizean man who unfortunately got infected with Chagas disease, for bringing his story to the consciousness of Belizeans via the Krem WuB show, and for something very important he pointed out to one of the show’s hosts, the young lawyer, Ms. Michelle Trapp.

We Belizeans don’t pay much attention to Chagas disease; we should. I’ll skip the disease today, though, except to say, one, it isn’t a concern for the Europeans, so there isn’t much research money chasing after a cure, and two, there are a couple old drugs that have found second use in the fight, but unfortunately it seems that for some that treatment is worse than the disease.

Kendis had a complaint, and what I gathered from Michelle was that his ire should be aimed at the government, for it was the government he would sue if he sought recompense for the mishandling of his case by public employees, and because the buck stops with top leadership. On both counts she was right, and Kendis acknowledged that, but Kendis insisted also on a separation, to finger the individuals in public employ who let him down.
What Kendis said shouldn’t be lost on the leadership of the unions in this country that operate in the service of people paid from the public purse. I have heard that it is extremely difficult to discipline a wayward person in public employ, and nigh impossible to separate people who belong in the private sector from their public job.

I could say more about what I’ve been told, but I’ll hold here to say that if what I’ve heard is 50% truth, then someone has to stop and consider the cost to the nation when an incompetent or crook is shielded. If we want a better country, we must make the hard decisions. The fine-toothed comb must pass through the hair of all public employees, with the comb used on our political leaders’ hair being the finest-toothed one of all.

We are living in the age of justification, and because of that we are forgetting something that’s imbedded in our knowledge base from childhood. We ignore this something when we put our selfish interests above others; we turn a blind eye to this something when we aren’t bold enough to accept and deal with our weaknesses. That something is—one bad aapl can spoil a whole barrel.

The corruption in political leadership, their dishonesty and greed and incapacity to create, and their rank favoritism has permeated and infiltrated the ranks of public employees. Cuts off drug trafficking and political interference have weakened the police and BDF. Protectionism, the one-for-all, all-for-one philosophy, has affected our capacity to separate the chaff from the wheat. I’m going on my nose and what I have heard and what I’ve read. There are rotten aaplz in the ranks, and they ought to be kicked into the private sector.

Fishing for a position and being swayed by tourism

When I put on the shoes of my slave ancestors, I become very angry. I don’t like being angry. When I put on the shoes of my slave master ancestors, I start hating myself. I don’t like hating. It’s much, much easier for me to put on the shoes of my slave ancestors than to put on the shoes of my slave master ancestors. Whoa, retraction! Hmm, when I said “when I put on the shoes of my slave master ancestors”, I said to myself, no, you’ve never put on those shoes, what you mean is you think you’d hate yourself if you put those on.
Perdón, I am in sixes and sevens territory here. Stepping out of that confusion, I’ve heard a few people hollering foul over the renaming of Regent Street to honor Dame Minita Gordon, and I believe they would have hollered at the same decibels if it had been renamed Bowen’s Lane, in honor of the near white (or white) Belizean family that has had so much success in business. I think a lot of Belizeans aren’t gung ho with the renaming of any of the old streets.

I said I’m fishing, and we’ll keep the focus on the colonial past, so I don’t become too scattered. The website ambergriscay.com says Paslow Building was built in the 1920’s, so while it is named after a man from our slave past, it is colonial.

It’s so that Richard Bradley, the host of the first famous talk show in Belize, aired on Krem on Wednesday night, used to rail against that building so-named in the center of town. Bradley, and another paylkaypm brother, Rufus X…hmm, let me get off that tack, let me leave big people alone.

One day Paslow Building burned, oh that once grandest building in all of Belize burned. It was said the foul and costly match-striking was done by an accountant who needed to cover some nefarious deeds that were in the books at the Ministry of Lands, then housed in the famous building. From the ashes I yer a new building rose again, this one under another name, Belize Heritage Plaza.

Thomas Paslow, the man whose name the old building bore, had notoriety and heroics. The website I’m looking at says that Paslow, a slave owner, was fined 10 pounds for the ghastly crime of mutilating two of his slaves. In the middle of it all he married a paylkaypm woman, and on the high end he stood tall in 1797. The website says Paslow Building was burned to the ground on September 29, 2002. I ran to my Google when I read that. That date is the birthday of a certain political party in Belize. I hope that date’s an error.
Belizeans know there’s something very sixes and sevens about our history. I’m not 100% sure Paslow’s name should have been wiped off the signboard on the new building. He’s guilty of horrific crimes, but we must note that these days we’re forgiving people for all kinds of crazy things. We have to put all the cards on the table. One of Paslow’s cards is his shining moment.

Shining moment hell, I have four siblings who’d say, without a blink, I’m sure of this, off with his head. There’s one who I’m sure would say, stay with Paslow, one I think would be leaning with the off-with-his- head crowd, and I, dammit, I’m at sixes and sevens about that name change.

It’s the UDP that made that Paslow name change, but in the Albert Division they set about restoring a number of old structures to enhance Belize City as a tourist attraction, and the PUP, a party that likes to act like it is more rootsy than the rest of us, have been carping about it from the day the project was announced. Is it a celebration of our colonial past, or recognition? Of course it’s celebration for some, but should we be selective about which tribes should get a little love, or are we to love all?

When it comes to quarters that held our ancestors, if anything should be obliterated, they are it. But what physical evidence will there be of our past if we obliterate all traces of it? Like it or noh like it, our biggest industry is tourism, and like it or noh like it, our entertainment industries depend on sales to our visitors. Remember we have a small population; there are just 400,000 of us.

My conclusion, at this time, is that there is tremendous touristic value we are giving up here, just like when we mess with September 10. In this highly competitive world, you can’t sneeze on your selling points. Remember, in the Netherlands they make a living off tulips, and the Spaniards’ grand motive for invading the Americas was to acquire a yellow metal whose primary worth is decorative.

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