Amidst the Flack Print E-mail
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Written by Jamil Matar   
Thursday, 06 June 2013 00:00

What I am saying is that since my last contribution there has been, among many, many other heads, the Noh Mul issue, the UNIBAM court challenge, the San Antonio Road repairs, Ms. Matura’s resignation, and of course the village council elections. With such an array of subjects, it would be impractical for me to address in detail each of these; but on the other hand, I could be accused of bias if I were to opine on only one, so I ask your indulgence to briefly discuss all of the above headlines.

Regarding the damage to the Mayan temple here in Orange Walk, I can only echo my disappointment and condemnation of the destruction of this heritage site. The respectable thing was that Denny Grijalva openly took all the hits for this misfortune and accepted full responsibility, legal and otherwise.

However, what was upsetting was the attitude of two of our local PUP politicians, who took about 15 minutes each on CTV to condemn the action, all in the interest of posturing for voters. I mean, what did the politician/doctor know about Noh Mul before the issue was ventilated in the news? I bet nada. Yet there he was, lamenting on the screen, his eyes blinking and juicy as if he literally grew up on the hill and felt so deeply for the Mayas who built it! Belizeans call that ‘pappy show’ (puppet show.)

What the authorities concerned should have paid attention to was what Grijalva was saying in his interview with the media. He claims that it was impossible for his company to have wreaked so much damage to such a large hill in only one and a half days with only a backhoe. He said that Noh Mul had been pillaged over the past ten years. But to make matters worse, there was no signage at the location to indicate that it is a Mayan heritage site and was protected under ours laws against excavation. These are very important concerns that should be an integral part of any investigation. The Ministry should know who else was at fault and slap fines on them too.

The other issue, the UNIBAM case, is unique because I just read last week that they claim to have 30,000 supporters in Belize. Jeez, that’s a big membership, bigger than any union or employers’ association! But what also stands out is the number of attorneys associated with their case. About 8, it is said? Anyway, the comment I heard from friends was that when our country was faced with the referendum on the Guatemalan claim, no foreign attorney offered free legal assistance to Belize, either from England or CARICOM, yet in this effort to change our sodomy laws they are materializing seemingly out of ant mounds, offering first-rate pro bono services to Unibam. You see now where their priorities are regarding our country?

I want to link the UNIBAM issue to Ms. Matura since it would seem to the average Belizean that said organization played a direct role in her abrupt departure from Oceana. Don’t get me wrong; I am not weeping uncontrollably because she is leaving that organization.  She was in fact a formidable challenge to the UDP, more so than the entire PUP. I am more concerned about hers, and everybody else’s, constitutional rights to free thought and expression. I firmly believe every individual has the fundamental right to express opinions on any national issue without fear of repercussion. Those persons in the PUP who like to accuse the UDP of victimization better take a closer look at the “bammers”, since they seem to brandish extraordinary influence.

As to the San Antonio Road here in OW, the Ministry of Works has committed to investigate this issue and appraise the public if there was any underhandedness. But to put things into perspective, this PUP Town Council did campaign on the promise that they would repair this stretch of road, no matter whose responsibility it falls on, local or central government. We now appreciate their extraordinary talent to double-speak and this project will never get done by this crowd. So, I would like to suggest that the Ministry undertake to address this piece of nuisance road here in OW and give the area residents a break from the snow-like dust they have to endure each day.

The final topic revolves around the encouraging results of the Village Council elections as at June 2nd, 2013. In spite of all the flak and propaganda directed against the UDP from multiple directions such as the Ashcroft Alliance (and its surrogates in the PUP and at Channel Fox), COLA, Menzies and Maheia, the UDP is doing respectably well. Voter support since the 2012 elections has grown rather than diminish. And we are speaking of the rural areas where these polls are being taken, a supposedly UDP Achilles’ heel in the UDP’s shell in 2012. So far, of the 1,086 seats contested, the UDP has won 740, and the PUP 297, with Independents taking the rest. Tell me, is there a hidden message in these results?