If you didn’t think Mikey Ashcrook was going to use his power to censor Belizean speech… now you have it. Evan Hyde responds.
Posted: 29/05/2007 – 01:18 PM
Author: Evan X Hyde
There’s been another attack made on KREM Radio by Michael Ashcroft’s Belize Telecommunications Limited. They’ve taken KREM off the Internet. Apart from denying Belizeans in the United States (and other parts of the world) the opportunity to hear Belize’s most popular radio station, BTL has taken out our Punta Gorda, Placencia, Independence, and Corozal Town connections, which work through the Internet.
Ashcroft’s attack is in retaliation for the Mose Hyde/Kalilah Enriquez campaign against the $33 million UHS motion, because it was his Belize Bank which would have benefited. KREM was taken off the Internet at 12 noon on Friday, right after the PUP Albert and Lake Independence representatives, Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde, abstained in the House of Representatives when the controversial Ashcroft Bill to convert BTL into Belize Telemedia Limited came up for a vote.
In the battle being waged in the streets and the countryside of Belize between the Ashcroft Supporters Society and the people of Belize, it is KREM Radio which the Englishman considers more dangerous than the newspaper. There are different reasons for this, but I will discuss these reasons another time. Suffice to say that at the book launching a couple months ago for the LOVE FM owner’s literary effort, Lord Ashcroft showed up in the front row, and when questioned about it by Jules Vasquez, responded, “Anything for Rene!”
When Lord Ashcroft launched a legal and financial attack against KREM Radio in late March of this year, a very successful UDP area representative tried to whip up UDP sentiment against myself and KREM Radio in the UDP’s newspaper. This UDP politician has a friendly relationship with the wealthy Lord, and that friendly relationship was on national television for all to see. So I will just leave it at that.
I was comfortable with my son Cordel’s joining the People’s United Party in 1994. I am equally comfortable with my eldest son Mose’s battle against PUP corruption. It has appeared to some people, in the PUP especially, that Cordel and Mose were on a collision course, but now you can see exactly where they have a common cause – 60 Market Square.
There are some members and supporters of the UDP who have been listening to propaganda against me for a long time. From time to time, I try to get them to look at the history, or to research the history. Last week, for instance, I gave them the story of how one of the UDP’s erstwhile darlings, Paul Rodriguez, a man who had previously done no work against the ruling PUP, became one of the UDP’s founders in September of 1973.
Today I will take the UDP people back to August of 1971. This was a time when the UBAD Party was the most powerful opposition to the PUP in the streets of Belize City. The late Rev. Gerald Fairweather, an Anglican priest who had become the New York-based financier of the Opposition, showed up in Belize City. Rev. Fairweather lived on Rutland Road in Brooklyn, New York. One of his sons is Compton Fairweather, who ran the radio telephone system through which Belizeans in the United States got news about Belize before the time of the Internet. Compton ran that system out of the Rev’s house on Rutland Road.
When Rev. Fairweather came to Belize in the summer of 1971, he brought money for the UBAD Party. This was the first time anyone had donated money to UBAD. UBAD was a remarkable organization because it had no money, yet UBAD enjoyed the loyalty and love of its members and supporters. Rev. Fairweather’s money had a specific purpose. It was to buy cloth for red and green uniforms so that UBAD could march in uniforms on St. George’s Caye Day – the Tenth of September. Rev. Fairweather took the UBAD leaders to Brodies to buy the cloth. I think some of us also got black berets, to complete Garvey’s red, black and green, but I’m not certain. I do know that we were supposed to get “pocono boy” sticks to march with as part of the deal.
So UBAD marched in uniforms that September 10, 1971. When we reached Swing Bridge to enter the Southside of the city shortly after noon, Police Superintendent Eric Jones stopped us and told us that a hurricane was coming, and that we should disperse. (I think that was Francelia.) The spirit of UBAD was high, however, and we were mostly young, so we decided to “march through the hurricane.”
It was only a couple weeks after that when the official House of Representatives Opposition, the National Independence Party (NIP), led by the Hon. Philip Goldson, approached the UBAD Party for a coalition. The specific purpose of the coalition was to contest the December 1971 Belize City Council elections. And so we did, with 6 NIP and three UBAD candidates.
As an inexperienced politician, I thought everybody was united to fight the ruling PUP. But Dean Lindo’s PDM boycotted the election. And I was too naïve to notice that I never saw the Rev. Gerald Fairweather around that 1971 CitCo campaign at any time – before, during or immediately after.
After the CitCo election defeat, I rashly took it upon myself to travel to New York, along with Ismael Shabazz, after the election. This turned out to be a futile move. The game was being played at a level much higher than where I was. I did not see Rev. Fairweather in New York that January of 1972, only Compton. He was then the leader of the British Honduras Freedom Committee.
For sure I saw Rev. Fairweather in the streets of Belize City in early 1973. He was here then to organize the Unity Congress, which was the precursor of the UDP. The Unity Congress meetings were held at the Rev. Gerald Fairweather’s house on Rectory Lane. It was these meetings which welcomed the Liberal Party and consigned the UBAD Party to the role of shock troops.
I suppose the Rev. Fairweather must have brought money to organize the Unity Congress. I didn’t see any of that money. Neither did Philip Goldson. He was in London studying law. Just put one and one together, and you will get two.
The purpose of this column is to say this, UDP. I am not an enemy of the people of Belize. You can’t be so sure, however, that Lord Ashcroft is not Belize’s enemy. So what good reason do you have to support Market Square against the zinc fence? Get real.
Power to the people.