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Whenever I hear of a Mestizo Irison the stage

FeaturesWhenever I hear of a Mestizo Irison the stage

by Colin Hyde

The all-out assault on Ms. Iris Centeno by the UDP camp, deservedly or undeservedly, me noh noa, touched my memory just as the entry of a girl named Iris in the Belmopan Queen of the Bay pageant did some years ago. It’s all about the name. Once upon a time, just once, just for an hour or so, I met an unforgettable little girl with that name. Ms. Centeno and Ms. Iris in the beauty pageant might be two different girls, or the same; and one of them, or both, or neither might be the Iris I met, once.

I met Iris at the old (first) Awe shop at Alta Vista. Really, I met a lady who might be her mother first. I was on my way from Dangriga, heading north up the Hummingbird Highway, and I stopped at the shop to buy a snack or a cooling drink. A lady with a bundle of clothes was standing by the side of the road, and the immediate suggestion that came to my mind was that she was waiting for a ride to come along; so, after I got my refreshment I told her I was heading north, and she could come with me if she could use a lift. She readily accepted the offer, so I put her bundle of clothes in the pan, and she and a little girl who was with her piled into the cab with me.

The lady sat by the window; the little girl, who was about 8 or 9 or 10, sat between us. It was a regular weekday, so she should have been in school. I didn’t ask any questions about her missing school. It did cross my mind that the lady was the child’s mom, and she didn’t have anyone she trusted to leave her child with, and thought it better that she missed school than be exposed.

I asked the lady what her destination was. She told me Maya Mopan, or somewhere on the east side of Belmopan. I then asked the little girl what her name was. She said it was Eeris. That’s how people who speak Spanish as a first language pronounce Iris. The rest of the trip belonged to her. That little girl bubbled non-stop from Alta Vista to Belmopan. She had charisma; she was excited about the stories in her school books, and she regaled me with one story after another until we reached their door. I will tell you that when we got to Maya Mopan, or thereabouts, I was in her cheer section, and I had decided that nothing or no one would stop her, that she was going to be a big star.

Whenever I hear of an Eeris doing things, I wonder. Yes, when I heard of an Eeris in the Queen of the Bay Belmopan, I thought back to that enjoyable trip and wondered if the girl on the stage was her. And when I heard of a woman named Eeris taking the controls at the Sports Council, it got me to wondering too. I didn’t find out the apellido of the lady and the little girl who traveled with me that day from Alta Vista. I say, even if neither of the two adult Eeris’s are Eeris, I wish them the best. And Eeris, wherever she is, I hope she is doing well. If she is anything like the way she was, I bet she is the light everyone gathers around, to hear her tell delightful stories.

Incarceration is horror. Yes, it’s a crusade

I’ve told you that this country is the master of ignore. I wonder if it’s a legacy of George Price. That man has a lot of plusses to his name. But nobody’s all good.

Sometime back, maybe a decade, I was disappointed in a decision of our lawmakers – our courts only execute the mandate – yes, I was unhappy with one of our lawmakers’ decisions, and I set out to provoke a response from the masters and mistresses of ignore with the objective of prodding them to right their draconian penalty. I was provocative, maybe too much so. I did get a response. It was to shut me down.

I am very disappointed in my country for this wholesale acceptance of incarceration as just punishment for about every infraction. The, agh, “pisshouse” story is sick and shameful. For us, taking away a person’s freedom isn’t enough. We must mingle them with strangers, some of whom are hard criminals, and the conditions must be degrading, deplorable.

You know, someday the European architects will tell them that their housing isn’t right, and they will jump to action to remedy their atrocity. But not until then, not until they are told by the master who controls their minds, will they stop their injustice. You know there are non-Europeans who really believe that the Europeans are smarter. The proof of the pudding remains in the eating. If you wholesale copy a man, it means something. The reports are that the incarceration centers of the Europeans are “physically” healthy. So, it’s just that they are yet to tell our people in power that in most cases incarceration itself is sufficient.

Does Singapore think caning is worse punishment than jail?

In regard to the favorite, Singapore, Singapore Legal Advice says, in the story, “Accused of Molest: Outrage of Modesty in Singapore”, that “outrage of modesty” is what they call a man groping a woman’s behind in that country. The story covers a lot of territory, but we’re after penalties, and we know these Singaporeans, respect, are quite effective, and set in their way. When the mighty USA called them out for rightly caning a young American upstart who had vandalized cars in Singapore with ugly graffiti, the East Asians didn’t flinch. The boy got a good hiding, tayr out, as we call it.

The list for “Outrage of Modesty” in Singapore includes: a tutor touching the breasts and thighs of a student; hugging and kissing a woman without her consent; grabbing a woman from behind and squeezing her breasts; touching a secretary on the back and slapping her lightly on her buttocks; an acupuncturist kissing and nibbling his victim’s toes; and massaging the groin area of a man without his consent.

And the penalties for “Outrage of Modesty” are: If you are found guilty of the offence of outrage of modesty, you may be punished with a jail term of up to 3 years, a fine, caning or any combination of such punishments depending on the severity of your case.

What fascinates me here is that my, my, they might see caning as worse punishment than incarceration. The punishment begins with Band 1, one aggravating factor: less than 5 months jail, generally no caning. When we get to Bands 2 and 3, the jail time increases, and drop yu pants, no ifs, ands or buts, enter the whip.

I am lost. The least egregious of the “Outrage of Modesty” crimes can land you in jail for 5 months in Singapore. But the judge can say, no whipping to be administered. Maybe my mind is experiencing a block. But I won’t lose it. Some more research is necessary here, thank you.

Jail drives people berserk

If you don’t know, incarceration drives many people mad in the head. Ahem, I think we’ll have no disagreement if we say that there are way too many mentally bothered people walking about Belize already. Before I continue, lest anyone forget, it’s an ongoing theme here, my disgust with our preference for incarceration. Directly, about that man who dared touch a girl’s behind, I would give him the option, incarceration or a good caning. I said that if the criminal is persistent in his chaansi behavior, then the state has to incarcerate, or hang the bohga.

In the story, “The Mental Health Effects of Being in Prison,” psychotherapist Amy Morin wrote: “According to the Prison Policy Initiative, 10.6 million people go to jail and 600,000 people enter prison in the United States each year. Many justice-involved individuals have pre-existing mental health issues. And some individuals who were considered mentally healthy prior to their arrest develop mental health symptoms once they are in prison.” Ms. Morin said, “Being in prison can take a serious toll on an individual’s psychological well-being”, and “many justice-involved individuals are released back into the community without ever receiving any type of treatment.”

We’ll have to revisit these stories, from Singapore and from the US. For now, I’ll just say, yes, a good lashing humiliates people, just like “Outrage of Modesty” crimes do. And jailing people humiliates them, AND makes them angry and full of hate, and mad.

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