From the Editor | Amandala Diary

When the University of Belize (UB) was officially opened in August 2000, yours truly was the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The university was/is a merger of five different institutions – University College of Belize (UCB), Belize Teachers College, Bliss School of Nursing, Belize Technical College, and Belize School of Agriculture.

The UB Board of Trustees consisted of approximately 12-14 individuals who represented the five institutions and other relevant bodies, such as the University of the West Indies (UWI), Belize Chamber of Commerce, St. John’s College, etc (I believe I was replaced as UB president in early 2004.)

Nearly twenty-two years later, I am disappointed in UB’s invisibility when it comes to high-level public discourse on critical issues. Because I was chairman of the board of UB for the years I referred to earlier, I know why the situation is the way it is, or I believe I know. UB scholars are suppressed by the Government of Belize, whether UDP or PUP, as the GOB handles most of UB’s funding, and the bagpiper, whom whether it’s red or blue, sets the tone.

I dare to suggest, at this point, that Sandra Coye and Ya Ya Marin Coleman do more high-level academic work, on their own, without any funding, than all of the UB scholars and students.

Across so-called Latin America, universities are cauldrons of intellectual debate and dissent, and I know that the Belizean government, during my term as president, a People’s United Party (PUP) government, was determined to do this. that the UB does not produce such militant unrest. .

This reminds me of the early 1980s when the government of Belize, a PUP, decided to “Belizeanize” the command of the Belize Defense Force, which was established in 1978. For those of you younger readers , it is important to mention that during its early years, the BDF command was in English hands.

I was living on First Street (King’s Park) in the early 1980s when Charles Good, a captain in the BDF if I remember correctly, came to see me. He lived a few blocks from my house. Captain Good was in a restless state, as the PUP government had decided to recruit Tom Greenwood from the Belize Volunteer Guard section of the BDF and send him to Sandhurst for special training to assume command of the BDF in as the first Belizean in our army. chief.

It was clear to all and sundry that the logical choice for Belizean command at the time would have been Captain Good, but I was sure Belize’s political leadership had been warned by the British to be very careful of any Belizean commander overly respected by , and popular with the base of the BDF. This was my personal perspective. So I told Charlie the PUP government was scared of him, that’s why they were jumping Greenwood over him.

So politicians are afraid of armies, and they are afraid of universities. Directly. This is my thesis.

Because of Belizean politicians’ fear of their universities, some very important research is “contracted out”. It’s practically ridiculous. A classic example was the Jamaican anthropologist, Dr. Herbert Gayle, Ph.D., hired by Belize to research Belize’s gangs and gang neighborhoods. Sure, Dr. Gayle is something special, but, all things being equal, it should have been a job for a Belizean.

I have told you before that I felt like I was poorly educated in the Belizean schools, which I attended from 1952 to 1965. I was never taught about caste warfare in Yucatan. I was never told about the 1919 uprising in Belize Town. I resented my poor upbringing deeply and so I rebelled. For this rebellion, I was severely disciplined by Belize’s power structure.

Well now the same thing is being done, has been done, over and over again for the past half century for the students of Belize. No research has been done on an event that I believe is essential to understanding Belize’s history since self-government.

During a period of about two years, between 1971 and 1972, something extraordinary had happened. A fusion between political party lines had occurred among the youth of the former capital/population center – Belize City. Looking back now, I can see that such a merger was, almost by definition, quite fragile, because the basis of Belize’s socio-politics is a two-party system, where the people of Belize are divided by the emotionality of politics party personality.

The reason 1971 and 1972 are important for research is that young people in this same old capital city/population center have been killing each other for over three decades now, and no one can really understand it, or let’s put it another way , no one can offer a solution that comes close to working.

If it is that some people somewhere want such a suicidal/genocidal process to exist and continue, then this agreement is so important it is mind blowing.

I have come to the conclusion that any solution to this disaster must come from the Belizean Diaspora, so be it. For now, I repeat, Belize scholars have refused to acknowledge that anything significant happened on May 29, 1972. They did the same thing their colonial predecessors did to the events of May 22 and 23 July 1919. These events did not occur. They were a figment of someone’s imagination. Today, ignorance is blood.