YA YA AND YASSER
This is the ballad of two activists.
Ya Ya is an African nationalist and a Belizean woman activist. Yasser is a Palestinian nationalist and a Belizean artist.
This week Yasser, like so many progressive human beings on the planet, protested against the USA turning the screw to put more pressure on the government of Cuba.
This week YaYa stepped up her public campaign in preparation for 1st/2nd August when, for the first time in our short history, the legal emancipation of slaves in Belize will be a public holiday.
The enormity of Emancipation Day escapes us at present. For the approximately one hundred and odd thousand creoles in Belize, this event provides a golden opportunity for serious soul searching, discussion, further planning, education and leadership.
Economic emancipation would have to be a main goal. We can’t get there until we can emancipate ourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.
This is where Yasser can comes in.
Not only is he an artist, but he’s an out-of-the-box thinker and teacher. He played no small role in getting St. John’s College to teach African and Indian history. This was ground breaking achievement. For a long time, it seemed Evan X Hyde would be a voice crying aloud in our wilderness on this critical issue. But, it came to pass, at least at one important teaching institution.
There is much work to be done and much seeds to be planted.
No other ethnic group in Belize is so desperate, desperate and leaderless like the creoles. They are living at the bottom of the country’s social and economic situation. They are in a strange snake and ladder existence. No matter how they climb up the various ladders, they always get swallowed by some snake or other.
Ya Ya and Yasser, coming from two separate worlds, in a world inside the world.
There is a lesson from our Belizean’s own history that we should learn.
There was once people living here with us. Living among us. Being a part of us. In 1787, the British had to give up their settlement on the Coast of Nicaragua on the Mosquito Shore. Over a thousand Mosquito Indians came this way. They were called wikas by creoles. By 1981, nobody spoke anymore about wikas.
When slavery was abolished in 1838 and 1840, the British brought ‘East Indians’ from India to Belize. They were referred to in racist terms as coolies. They celebrate their culture every year on August 15 which was India’s Independence Day. Yarborough was filled with dancing, dorey racing and festivities. Where have all the flowers gone?
Next in line are the creoles. Our numbers tell us we won’t disappear overnight. But as economic slaves our days may be numbered.
There is much to discuss and much to do.
SHORTAGE OF JUDGES AND MAGISTRATES
The Judiciary continues to limp along the slow, winding process of justice. Two ‘temporary’ judges were employed last year to help in the civil section of the Supreme Court.
Two judges resigned from the criminal section of the Supreme Court, one in December 2020, the other in February 2021. An advertisement for the vacancies yielded no results. We are not sure if the post were re-advertised.
We made inquiries and learned that neither Anthony Sylvestre, Merlene Moody nor Cheryl Lynn Vidal applied. This is concerning. These are the three most qualified, experienced and capable attorneys deserving of the position and who have the judicial temperament to serve our country. We ask the Chief Justice and Chairman of the Judicial Commission to speak with them.
We observe the UDP opposition playing cheap politics with a serious matter. The statement that the new government did not consult the opposition on the appointment of judges for the Court of Appeal, is an open and naked lie.
A formal letter was sent to the opposition. Their duty was to respond. They did not. We can understand their predicament.
They have two ‘leaders of the opposition’. A comical and ridiculous situation for a small democracy like Belize. The two ‘leaders’ have no respect for each other.
They are in a mess. Both ‘leaders’ are accused woman beaters, an ugly and unacceptable conduct in this country.
At the Magistrate Courts level, the shortage is close to crisis. There’s no Magistrate in PG, Independence, Benque, San Ignacio and only one of two in Belmopan. In Belize City, only three Magistrate are functioning.
What the (expletive) is fonto, or is it plants? It is the leaves sold at Chinese shops which is used to roll a bit of marijuana in for smoking.
Fonto is tobacco leaf. The actual tobacco leaf. Tobacco has a highly addictive chemical called nicotine. Reason tobacco is one of the leading causes of death all over the world.
Smoking tobacco leaf and marijuana together is bad news. The Health Authorities need to get out information on the results and consequences of smoking tobacco and smoking marijuana. Our young people deserve to be informed.
It would be helpful if the water specialist and Health Authorities could say something about purified water. Whether the process of “purifying” the water removes all or some of the nutrients in the water.
And what is the situation of “pipe” water. With floods and heavy rains, the rivers are filled with silt. To make the water and keep a certain taste are we being overdosed with chlorine and other chemicals?
MICHELLE TRAPP EXPOSES YEARS OF POLICE KILLINGS
In a first of its kind, lawyer and President of the Association of Defense Attorneys, Michele Trapp unveiled a research in the fatal shootings done by police in Belize.
She did a research including accessing the United States Department of State which monitors human rights abuses in Belize and elsewhere. The research, titled “I need fi reach home” photographs and specific details of some 19 persons fatally shot by police over the years, ending with the inexplicable shooting in the back of Laddie Gillett, 14 year old holidaying in peaceful Placencia.
Ms. Trapp who hosts a weekly Wednesday night show on Krem Television unveiled her research by painstakingly reading a summary of each of the fatal killings. Families in most of the shooting deaths have received little or no justice. In the case of teacher, Allyson Major, not even monetary compensation has reached his wife and children.
The research shows a pattern of inexplicable deadly shootings. None of the shootings stretching back over fifteen years has ever brought about any charges or reform of the police. The Laddie Gillett outrage is the only event that has brought countrywide protests from North to South of the country calling for justice and upgrading the charge from manslaughter to murder. The countrywide protests have been ongoing since 18 July and include the Prime Minister’s son being part of the Orange Walk protestors.
In the course of her research, Michelle Trapp also revealed that every year the Ombudsman’s Annual Report highlights that complaints of police brutality tops the list of citizens’ grievances.
The media saw Commissioner of Police and his trusted Assistant Bart Jones have been making the television rounds assuring a skeptical citizen that all is well and fine.
No one has brought up the most sensational and shocking killing alleged by police.
On the morning of 8 January, 2013 in an upstairs apartment at the Corner of Dean Street and Plues Street, the body of four young men were discovered. Their throats were cut. A Channel 7 report is quoted as stating: The murders were carried out with precision. The residents believe security forces are responsible for the homicide.
Reporter to then Police Commissioner Allen Whylie. “Commissioner I am sure that you may know that the residents of the area strongly believe that these murders were committed by police officers.”
Commissioner Whylie: “Well, we have heard that. I would not agree with that statement because I do not believe that our officers resort to those kinds of things.”
Michelle Trapp has done the police a big service. Her research gives the new government and the new Commissioner information from which they will need to rethink policing in Belize.
It is our understanding that the Prime Minister, his Deputy and the Police Minister are of the view the police need serious reform.
The emphasis should be on the word serious.
AMERICA IS DEFEATED BY THE TALIBAN
The United States of America quietly pulled out its soldiers, Special Forces and its war machines from Afghanistan after its longest war came to an abrupt end. After twenty years of bombings, destruction and death, America gave up. They cannot defeat the Taliban.
In 1975, after one of the bloodiest of wars, in Vietnam, the U.S.A. was defeated for the first time in their history.
In the present case, America bombed, then invaded Afghanistan set up a puppet government and, then, tried to conquer the warrior tribe called the Taliban.
America claims only 2,400 of its soldiers died in Afghanistan and 21,000 soldiers got injured. The war cost America 850 billion dollars. Over 250,000 Afghan died in the war.