05-01-12 MAY DAY! MAY DAY! Mayday?


May Day has its origins thousands of years back to the days when it was celebrated as the Festival of Flora or the Roman goddess of flowers. Bonfires were lit to signify the end of winter and the coming of summer. As Christianity spread, many pagan celebrations such as this morphed into other religious holidays such as Easter, Christmas etc. May became known as the Month of Mary and all over the world, statues of Mary are adorned with crowns of flowers, offerings of fruits are made. More secular celebrations involved crowning the Queen of the May and Maypole dancing.

In Belize, it is Labour Day and is usually incorporated into a long weekend of “Agric” where all produce that is grown and animals that are reared are featured as part education/part celebration. There are 80 countries around the world engaging in similar celebrations on this day borne out of tragedy. In the late 19th Century, tensions rose between workers and capitalists resulting in the May Riots of 1894. In response, socialist organisations all over the world formed labour unions in an effort to create better working conditions for workers. May 1st became a day for many to continue to bring attention the conditions of the labour force and as such has become known as Internation Worker’s Day. Many countries decided to make it a public holiday in recognition of importance of workers.

In the US, despite failed attempts to make today its official labour day, it is still observed as a day to protest and send a message to corporate America. This year the Occupy Wall Street, OWS, is staging a general day of protest asking people all across the nation to just do nothing for one whole day in an effort to highlight the impact of the labour force on the economy:  No Work – No School – No Housework – No Shopping

So, what began as a pagan ritual celebrating the end of winter, has now morphed into a day of protest and dissent, a day to send out a “mayday” to anyone who will listen to the cries of distress  of the labour force. http://occupywallst.org/

How will you celebrate today? May Day or sending out a mayday?

 

Daily Dingleberry 04-26-12 Amazing Grace?


They seh dont speak ill of the dead but rass dis di tek di cake! Look…I understand ok? Even gangbangers have people who think they are great. You can almost always find someone who will swear that he is sweet, charming, fun, caring….even it is only his momma. But we have to tell di truth and shame di devil man!

I respect all human beings even if they are the most evil monsters you can fathom. It doesn’t mean I have to like them or not face facts. Sometimes, the only good thing about a person is what he teaches you NOT TO BE. Let’s stop dis shit about making these gang bangers into martyrs. They are behind much misery in many people’s lives. They are cruel inconsiderate bastards who would sell their mothers to the highest bidders. So, why is it that WOMEN seem to be the ones defending these guys? These men aren’t loyal. They use you. They leave you with babies they won’t support or can’t be good role models for. Are you so shallow that you are blinded by a beer and some chicken? IS that the requirement to be considered a “good” man nowadays? RASS Then I am ten times that man huh? cause I could buy you a whole case a beer and all the chicken da di shop! Can I be KING now?

It is a sad state of affairs when we sell ourselves so cheap. And we are. Have you thought of the message we are sending our children???? Don’t drugs. Go to school. Go to church. BUT you si Mr. So and So? Check out ih new ride! Wow! UGH

Grow up people. Have some integrity. Uno eat uno pride wid da fry chicken?

Do you want this to be your family portrait?

Daily Dingleberry 04-20-12 420 Bitches! Legalize It!!!!!!


Legalize It

So…research shows that there are many benefits to using marijuana for medicinal purposes and that it can be quite the aid to people suffering the side effects of cancer treatment. There are already a few states in the US that allow for the cultivation and distribution of medicinal marijuana…WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR? I say: corner the market man! Do you know how much resources are wasted trying to chase marijuana farmers, the mules and then the poor user who is caught with an ounce? To what end?

 

I am emphatically against legalization of narcotics so don’t bother rebutting with: it is a gateway drug blahsiblah. I am also against minors engaging in recreational use so don’t come to me with that either. Don’t come to me with the idea of contributing to moral decay either: Belize is pretty immoral already and plenty of damage is done with alcohol which is legal.

I am simply saying that we treat it like an industry with funding, regulations and TAXATION. When you control this already booming industry, you eliminate a certain level of corruption, violence and even dependence. There will be a certain level of accountability which is not achievable as the current situation stands.

I sincerely believe that the idea bears consideration. Most North and Central American countries are examining it…there just might be something to it.

 

Invisible in plain sight by: Aria Lightfoot


“A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” Mahatma Ghandi

Homelessness is defined in the US laws as a person who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate night time residence; or a temporary night time residence that is a privately or publicly supervised shelter; or any night time residence used as a temporary living accommodation; or a person using an institution providing temporary  residence awaiting institutionalization;  or a person who sleeps in facilities public or private not intended for those purposes.  The places the homeless normally sleeps are the street, cars, buses, trains, public building, parks, bridges, abandoned buildings or substandard buildings battling natural elements, predators and disease.   Homelessness impact the lives of adults and children equally; causes dyfunctional environments for children, increase crime rates,  increase illness and it is a human rights crisis.

There are many reasons cited for homelessness according to the National Coalition for the homeless. It includes, foreclosure, poverty, no work opportunities, no public assistance, lack of housing, declining health, domestic violence, substance abuse and mental illness.

Belize City has a major homeless problem. It is a problem that occurs in plain sight  and for many years, a problem that recurs without any permanent solutions.  Some charities exists that provide temporary relief to the homeless, provide meals, limited spaces to sleep and clothing. However with a growing world recession, increases in oil prices, declining opportunities, Belize city, where the problems seem most prevalent, has turned into a city of blight and degradation.

As a Christian nation we are failing to follow the teachings of the Bible that mentions poverty many more times than it mentions homosexuality. It seems that Jesus, Leviticus, Luke, Mathew, Isaiah, Proverbs were crystal clear and adamant on the duty of the Christian to help the poor. Remember that story Jesus told about ignoring him when you ignore a fellow man in need? All the Biblical teachings tell us to act with kindness towards the poor and actively solve their plight.  Additionally, Belize is a signatory to the Declaration of Human Rights for the UN, we are bounded as a society to treat our fellow man with dignity and worth.  Finally, just being a fellow member of the human race we ought to extend a hand, and help solve issues for our fellow human beings, especially in their lowest , most vulnerable and seemingly helpless moments of their lives.

With that said, I must admit that I too am guilty of not adhering to the Bible, human rights convention or fellow humanity arm of extension lecture above.  I recognize my past inability to empathize with the homeless even though the problem is palpable. I have donated money to the homeless effort,  given clothes or otherwise performed the very basic duties, however, I have been rather oblivious to the everyday conditions of the homeless; I have tacitly accepted their condition as a part of societal problem, not my problem approach and maybe cast a judgmental excuse, thinking homelessness is a self made condition.

My first experience with the homeless was through my teacher Mrs. Galvez (Fonseca) at St. John’s College Sixth Form.  We had a group project to interview members of the homeless and present our findings to the class.  It was not the violent Belize City of today and we felt comfortable interviewing homeless people at night to delve into their condition. Many had families,  but also seemed to suffer from mental illness or other conditions such as drug abuse.  One member of our group interviewed a family member who expressed helplessness because of their inability to cure the situation of their loved one. We completed an effective presentation and after the project was over, went back to our normal lives.  I continued along my day avoiding contact or exposure to the homeless. It was not my problem and I did not want to see it.

Just around Christmas time each year  though ,with highlights of  Mary and Joseph seeking an Inn to sleep at night, as she suffers in labour with  Baby Jesus and after being turned away in her most fragile condition,  she is eventually  made to deliver and sleep in a barn with animals. The story must subconsciously affect our sense of duty to provide temporary food and clothes and shelter for the homeless. The goodwill becomes alive with drives and collections that ultimately solves nothing. Once the season is over, we go back to our normal lives, having done our regimented and less involved duty as a Christian or humanitarian with a sense of accomplishment and a boost  in our sense of empowerment knowing that our condition is not as bad after all.

Recently the mayor of Belize City made a revolutionary suggestion and even welcomed ideas to address the homeless situation in Belize City. The idea is revolutionary because I don’t think anyone was thinking about the homeless. Certainly not me. I forgot they even existed, even though they exist in plain sight.  This seems to be the first real attempt by any public official to take on the issues of homelessness. No quicker than the idea was expressed, out of the woodworks jump the “why we should not do it, why it can’t work and why I won’t support it” people,  even though they offer absolutely no alternative solutions of their own.  The argument is that people’s civil rights will be violated and it will become a crime to be homeless. Well technically, homelessness is a crime in Belize and  is not addressed as a plight of the poor in our laws but rather a nuisance.  It it is defined in our laws, exactly how we treat homelessness, as a nuisance we prefer not to see.

I don’t know if many Belizeans are aware that Belize City continues to be rated poorly by tourists. I have had friends who have visited on cruises and were shocked at our level of poverty in Belize City.  Hearing it offends my every being, but many times that is how we are when confronted with the truth. When we become actively blind to poverty and homelessness and have subjectively focused on the good,  an innate guilt exists when someone else points out what we fail to see.  We have allowed our fellow citizens to deteriorate to a level where their lives are treated with less regard than an animal.

My hope is that the dilemma of homelessness will be carried out with as much humanitarian effort as possible. My hope is that we will be able to rehabilitate the homeless into functioning and productive members of society. My hope is that we can can put politics aside and support real solutions. We continue to profess our love for Belize, well loving Belize includes the people who make up the  country of Belize.  We need to uplift our city and become vigilant , active,  solution-seeking,  members ensuring poverty does not become a demeaning human rights crisis.  We are a small nation of very intelligent, caring, capable and resourceful people. We are our own heroes.

Daily Dingleberry 04-02-12 Where Have All The Good Men Gone?


Would all the real men in the world, please stand up??????

I don’t know what the hell happened but somewhere along line, our expectations for our male counterparts just keep getting lower and lower to the point where when a friend says “But he doesn’t beat me”, we are supposed to think that it is a wonderful qualification!

Uhm. NO.

There is a place for everyone. It takes all kinds: a little bit of weird, mixed with straight laced, a dash of goofy and a pinch of impatient equals adventurous, determined, innovative, human. Oh and cute doesn’t hurt. But lately, we hear heartbreaking stories of young men killing each other; “upstanding citizens” using their position and power to intimidate and abuse; the elderly being beaten and conned, their pittance of a social security stolen. Then, there are the fatherless children living in abject poverty as their mothers struggle to provide just the basics. And, what about the middle aged married man hooking teen mistresses with promises of a better life only to leave them broken and worse off than when they started?

We need to move the bar, man. Don’t lie anymore just because people desperately need to believe you. Don’t steal just because you have the keys to the safe. Don’t have children you have no intentions of raising just because you have an itch you gotta scratch. Don’t sell yourself short by not living to your best potential. YOU deserve better. You need to feel your three year old’s arms wrapped around your neck. You need to see the admiration of your teen daughter in her smile, her look. You need to feel the respect of your wife/partner as you leave for work everyday. You need to walk with your head held high because you are honest and hard working.

I promise that the greatest feeling you will ever feel is the feeling you get from serving others. True fulfillment will not come at the bottom of a bottle, the end of a blunt, in the morning after an illicit rendezvous, or sporting that new bling. Get involved. Commit to doing more and doing better. We need you. We welcome you. 

The Sweetest Lives
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The sweetest lives are those to duty wed,
Whose deeds, both great and small,
Are close-knit strands of unbroken thread
Where love ennobles all.
The world may sound no trumpets, ring no bells;
The book of life the shining record tells.

The love shall chant its own beatitudes
After its own life working.  A child’s kiss
Set on thy sighing lips shall make thee glad;
A sick man helped by thee shall make thee strong;
Thou shalt be served thyself by every sense
Of service which thous renderest.


 

Raquel Battle Battles On! by Fayemarie A Carter


Raquel Leslie Battle

As my high school friend and co-captain of our volley ball team in 4th Form at Ecumenical High School, there was already a lot to admire about Raquel Leslie, this red gial from Placencia. And then she showed off even more talent performing “The Jaguar” written by Henry W Anderson, MBBS, JP in the Miss Lion’s Contest later that same year. She and I would never see each other after graduation in 1991 as we went our separate ways. It is funny then, that we followed similar paths studying psychology and specializing in emotional and behavioural disorders. She is  pursuing a Ph.D in Health Care Administration at the moment, which is where her path diverges just a little from mine. I have no intentions of doing any such thing! However, Raquel and I still have a lot  in common especially our strong advocacy efforts.

Raquel Leslie Battle has formed the Blissfulsage Foundation because of a promise she made to her father, Edlin Leslie Sr. Her father was fortunate enough to receive excellent care in Virgina towards the end of his struggle with cancer. He expressed concern for his people in southern Belize not having this kind of care available and so he asked Raquel to find a way to help.  She has founded the Edlin Leslie Sr Hospice and Home Care with its headquarters based in Dangriga, Stann Creek. The aim of such an organization is to provide clients and their families with support through actual medical care; meeting some basic needs such as clothing, toiletries etc; education and counseling. Learn more at http://www.blissfulsage.org 

This weekend, Raquel met former President Bill Clinton at the 5th Annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) in Washington DC. Over 1000 students attended, representing all 50 states and over 75 countries. I looked for you in the news clips Raqs but didn’t see you 🙂 The following further describes what Raquel was a part of over the weekend:

Source: Clinton Global Initiative Press Release

CGI U 2012

The CGI U brings together students, national youth organizations, nonprofit leaders, entrepreneurs, and celebrities engaged in efforts to create positive change.

About CGI U 
The Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) challenges college students to address global issues with practical, innovative solutions. CGI U members do more than simply discuss problems – they take concrete steps to solve them by building relationships, creating action plans, participating in hands-on workshops, and following up with CGI U as they complete their projects. Their efforts have culminated in approximately 3,000 Commitments to Action. Previous CGI U meetings have taken place at Tulane University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Miami, and the University of California at San Diego, and have convened more than 3,500 students from 641 schools in 110 countries and all 50 states. The fifth annual CGI U meeting will be held at the George Washington University in Washington D.C. from March 30 – April 1, 2012. To learn more, visit cgiu.org.

About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2,100 commitments, which are already improving the lives of nearly 400 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $69.2 billion.

CGI’s Annual Meeting is held each September in New York City. CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.

I hope to feature more about our fearless pioneer Raquel Battle in the coming weeks. She has formed the group  Belizean Educational Association for Treatment of Cancer, BEAT Cancer, (luv luv luv di name gial) as part of her commitment to CGI U. She is hoping to compile a comprehensive list of information regarding research, treatment and support for victims of cancer. She is asking that everyone joins her in gathering the information needed to create a systematic approach to fighting cancer. Check out: https://www.facebook.com/groups/324395380943704/

I hope that as we hear about her efforts to help others in our tiny country, that we are inspired to join her in her battle against poverty, ignorance, and hopelessness. One of Raquel’s favourite quotes is “Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Ghandi. She surely has been living what she preaches.

An interview with the Prime Minister of Belize by: Aria Lightfoot and Fayemarie Anderson-Carter


Leadership is the ability to guide, energize or direct an organization, movement or country towards the accomplishment of a common goal. Leaders shape the destiny of that organization, movement or country and many times the organization, movement or country is defined by such leadership. Leaders are the force that determines the success of their organizations, movements and countries. The study of leaders and leadership qualities is vast and expands centuries. It covers numerous factors such as religion, politics, socio-economics, etc. It would be difficult to cover all the different types of leadership styles and theories in this piece.

Researchers have agreed that there are certain traits and characteristics that are normally associated with being a successful leader. The physical attributes are height, age, appearance, sex appeal, as well as, character traits such as honesty, integrity, vision, competence, integrity, enthusiasm and persistence. Leaders must be intelligent, progressive, decisive, and inspire confidence, trust and loyalty. Political scientist, James McGregor Burns, has examined presidents and world leaders and he came up with two distinctive type of leaders. He classified leaders as either transactional leaders or transformational leaders. A transactional leader motivates followers by recognizing their needs and providing rewards to fulfill these needs in exchange for performance and support. A transformational leader raises his/her followers’ aspirations to focus on “transcendental, higher level goals akin to self-actualization needs” .

Martin Luther King Jr. is an example of a transformational leader. He inspired followers to look forward to a new vision; to reject the status quo and to work for greater social justice. Barrack Obama inspired and raised the spirits of all Americans, especially African Americans, to once again believe that, regardless of station he/she is born into, regardless of race, anyone can rise to the highest position or status as long as he/she works hard. His rallying cry “Yes, we can” was shouted all over the world as supporters watched the United States elect its first African American president. George Price, implored Belizeans to break the grip of the colonial government and fight for and eventually win independence in 1981 so that today he is called “The Father of the Nation”.

The Prime Minister of Belize, Honorable Dean Barrow, despite criticism and naysayers is proving himself to be a powerful transformational leader. On March, 24, 2012, Twocanview had the privilege of interviewing the Prime Minister to get his perspective and to examine his leadership style. Twocanview has observed that much of the criticism aimed at our leaders is done without ever talking to the leaders. Getting a personal perspective before judgment is passed is definitely an important exercise.

The Prime Minister’s manner was very cordial, warm and inviting. This allowed us to just dive right in and begin our interview. Our first question to the Prime Minister was “why politics?” His answer was that he was born into politics. His grandparents, parents, uncle were actively involved in politics so that he grew up listening to animated and in depth discussions about current affairs right there in his living room. He watched as the different parties developed, declined and eventually, three of them would merge into the United Democratic Party (UDP). His involvement was a natural progression. He started as a legal advisor for the UDP was asked to run in city council elections,(which he won) then shortly thereafter in 1984, the general elections. His success in Belize politics is undeniable. He is the first Black Prime Minister of the Central American region and also the first leader of the UDP to win two terms consecutively.

The PM leads both his party, the UDP and the Government of Belize. Each has its own separate and particular challenges. He claims that at this juncture, the members of the UDP have coalesced to a strong cohesive unit, with no personality conflicts or serious grumbling. His biggest challenge is to maintain equilibrium, balancing expectations with conflicts.

As the Prime Minster of Belize, conversely, the challenges are innumerous. Belize is a small open economy. International trends can and do affect Belize: Europe’s struggle to balance its weakest members with the strongest in the union; shaky confidence in the United States’ leadership as the country faces an election year; the downturn of international tourism as a result of the worldwide recession. Surprisingly, Belize has not been as negatively impacted as other countries and our country actually did enjoy quite a healthy tourism trade last year, 2011. However, debt such as the “superbond” continues to obscure this progress. This creates increasing pressure to renegotiate terms so as to alleviate the strain on the economy and release funds for the continued development of our social programs.

Other pressing issues continue to include the Guatemalan claim, a complex conundrum spanning centuries which poses a constant threat to our borders and our resources as Guatemalan citizens ignore the laws of our land regarding immigration, agriculture and forestry. There is also the encroaching influence of the Mexican mafia infiltrating our justice system as they seek to cultivate means of transporting their illegal drugs and arms. Related gang violence is a real concern for many in urban areas and now even in the more rural villages.

Domestically, the PM faces the difficult task of providing immediate relief to our most impoverished while trying to develop sustainable, long term solutions for employment, education and proper medical care. All the while he is diligently pursuing these goals, he is bombarded by rambunctious advocacy groups with different agendas. Critics weigh in on his decisions and policies relentlessly and seemingly without any real purpose but to detract and create disharmony and fear. The Prime Minister must take account for it all, navigate a philosophical and realistic course with purpose and effectuate policy that is beneficial for all Belizeans.

When we asked the PM in what direction would like to take Belize, he said that social justice is the hallmark of his government. He wants to uplift the marginalized people of Belize. He describes his ideology as being similar to that of the democratic party of the United States. He was emphatic in juxtaposing the Republican philosophy against the Democrats’ in order to state that he does not believe that government should stand back and just let the corporations dictate the people’s fate. He believes that “government must function to alleviate the hardships in people’s lives”. His government believes in the ‘pro-poor programs” such as the Food Pantry Program in Belize, Cayo, Toledo Districts where the working poor can buy food at a reduced cost. He assists heads of households, mostly single mothers, with a monthly subsidy called Boost in exchange for compliance with truancy laws etc. He is determined to continue to develop more social programs in this second term of government.

A priority for the Prime Minister is increasing the growth of the private sector. As the world economy gradually improves, Mr. Barrow plans to seek ways of helping the private sector to pick up the pace through increase production. This translates into more taxes which benefits the people of Belize through funding of more social programs. He admits that one of the biggest impediments has been the increasing fuel cost. Although the government may benefit from exporting crude, Belize must turn around and import the refined oil at high cost. The Prime Minister tells us there are plans for a refinery. Belize National Energy (BNE) is the only company that has found oil and presently exporting crude oil so BNE will be initiating plans to build the refinery. It is the Prime Minister’s intention that Belizeans will benefit from the refinery through ownership of shares. He plans to ensure that BNE continues to act in the best interest of Belize by allowing for a certain percentage of the shares are owned by Belizeans.

We then asked the Prime Minster what he considers his leadership style. The Prime Minster said that he is not a “micro-manager”. He believes that people should be allowed to do their jobs without constant interference from him. He said that given the magnitude of his own responsibilities, that would make for an impossible situation. He has an expectation of professionalism, honesty, and utmost respect for the people. He admits he is a forthright person. He will directly address issues as they present themselves but it is not his style to be arbitrary or condescending to his staff.

This brought us then to the question of what the Prime Minister thinks about criticism branding him as arrogant. He said that he doesn’t consider himself to be arrogant but rather thinks of his approach as direct and confident. However, if his critics insist on labeling him as such, he would prefer to be known as arrogant rather than dishonest. He reiterated that he conducts his office professionally and with rigorous honesty. No one can accuse him of receiving bribes or collusion. He is honest with the public about difficulties we face as a nation. He refuses to conceal the truth and does not hide behind rhetoric. He further went on to claim that there is absolutely no incidence or occurrence of fact to substantiate the rampant accusations of antagonists. He feels that “independent and fair minded voters” could easily identify the strengths of his character. He believes that regardless of all the negative information that is propagated out there, people who believe in facts, will know the truth and that truth wins out in the end. Ultimately, he feels that he will be judged by his integrity and openness to the public.

We followed this by asking the Prime Minster if there was any one leader with whom he identifies. He said that he is a voracious reader and as such, he is familiar with many well-known leaders, but he feels that at this moment he can most relate to the President of the United States, Barrack Obama. He acknowledges that the population size of Belize is nowhere near that of the US nor is our government near the scope of that of the US. Nevertheless, he feels that like Obama, he was hailed as the agent of change and as they both began their terms, he watched, that similarly to himself, President Obama’s high approval ratings gradually declined as time progressed. The recession dashed hopes, demanded compromises and spurred economic crisis. He said that while Belize’s parliamentary system does not face the gridlock of the United States’ governing body, Belizeans are faced with similar economic conditions, expectations and challenges, thereby creating similar tensions, disappointments, negativity and disharmony. The Prime Minster said that despite the tense atmosphere and barrage of allegations cast his way, the President’s eloquence, persuasive nature and the way he balances his rhetoric is admirable. Along with paying keen attention to the goings on in our neighbour’s government, the Prime Minister also does a lot of reading. In order to keep up with world events and to make decisions with an accurate perspective of Belize’s place within a global context, the Prime Minster reads much about world politics and world economy in papers such as The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal as well as magazines and books. As for light reading, he prefers classics such as George Elliot, Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte.

The final question was more personal in nature as we asked the Prime Minister about the effects that a diagnosis like that of Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow has had on him. He said it was a tremendously difficult moment when he found out she had cancer. He describes the worst night of his life as when they were waiting for the results of the scan which would determine if the cancer had spread. Her diagnosis was Stage 3, but could have also possibly had advanced to Stage 4. He was absolutely relieved to find out that it was not a Stage 4 diagnosis. He said that even though he has had a tough time watching his wife undergo this fight for her life, he can only imagine that “it is a million times rougher on her”. He said Mrs. Barrow has been a “trooper” so that even though she has had some low moments during the course of her treatment, her courage has been a powerful testimony to her character. She is brave, unrelenting, calm and positive.

At the end of our interview, he thanked us for the opportunity to add clarity and definition to his position and that of his government. We in turn, thanked him for the opportunity to provide our readers with such an up close look into the inner workings of our leader. We also wished him, the First Lady and their family, all the best for the upcoming medical visit this week.

Our Impressions of the Interview:

Leadership is a process. It is such an arduous task that in fact, given the opportunity, most people could not function as leaders. In addition, leadership today is made even more difficult as society has grown cynical, disrespectful and doubtful. We are now in an information age where lies and propaganda can be disseminated in a matter of seconds. People can damage a person’s credibility and reputation in a matter of minutes.

I (Aria Lightfoot) met Justice Clarence Thomas in 2011 and he said something that resonated with me. “We can no longer raise a generation of children believing the game is fixed and raise them in a cynical society and cynical about leaders”. He said that children must believe in hope and possibilities for them to chart the future of the United States. As builders of Belize’s future, we must learn to be respectful in our approach to all our leaders. Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Dean Barrow, has given his entire life to the betterment of Belize. In spite of all the unfavourable political rhetoric that is out there, Belize’s democracy is more vigourous, informative and louder than any other time in our history. We have freedom of speech so our leaders are under constant scrutiny and criticism. Therein lies the most precious gift of our time: the freedom to be who we want to be, the freedom to want what we want and the freedom to demand it from our leaders.

In light of our economic crisis, crime rate, poverty and this recent underlying divisive agenda of anti-government proponents, Belize needs confident, skilled, experienced and unifying leadership. Benjamin Franklin once said “any fool can criticize, complain and condemn and most fools do”. We should be offering solutions to help build Belize. We are at a moment in our society where pettiness, vendettas and irrelevance should not enter into our public debate. We need to agitate for changes but we should not agitate with the sole purpose of undermining our society. We keep reading sentiments such as “this is not my PM or government, I did not vote for him”. Whether or not you want to accept it, once elections are over, the government of the day is each and every Belizean’s government.

We, at Twocanview, only have the best interest of all Belizeans at heart and wish only the best and most progressive leadership for our nation. Is the Right Honourable, Dean O. Barrow, that leadership we seek and need? Only time will tell. In the meantime, let’s lend our best efforts to the development and growth of our country.

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

-John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961

 

Hitler Who? by Fayemarie Anderson (yes, that one) Carter


Look again. These are bodies.

What are you looking at?

Lately, as political debates reach ever higher summits of the ridiculous and maniacal, a common name hurled at people we don’t like is “Hitler“.  Now, we can all understand getting passionate about issues. The strength of our convictions and raging adrenaline gives us overwhelming courage to raise our voices and pump our fists. But to call your nemesis “Hitler” just because you don’t like him/her or don’t agree with his/her ideology is very immature, reactionary and truly tasteless.

It is very concerning to see OUR leaders act in such an  irresponsible and inflammatory manner. It almost always plays out the same way no matter if it happens in lee Belize or the big ole United States. Some high profile politico calls an opponent “Hitler”; it causes fierce controversy; the aggressor backs down but by then, the damage is done. That name, that image is forever linked in the voters’ minds.

Even people who are shocked and aghast at such vitriol, like the Germans in the 1930’s, we tell ourselves, “Oh, he didn’t mean that. It won’t turn into anything. After all, I know him. He is my cousin. He is a nice guy.” But that is the frog boiling. You know the metaphor: A frog, dropped into boiling water, will frantically try to escape. But if you place that same frog in a pot of tepid water and gradually raise the temperature, he will languish in stupor and smile his way to death. Is that what is going on here? I think so.

People with malintent and less than stellar ethics, are trying to colour our vernacular with the blood of millions of people who were murdered under the directive of a  lone, evil %$#&@!$*!@^#. Do you understand that when you use the name “Hitler” in vain, you insult the victims and the survivors of the most monstrous acts committed against humanity, EVER?  When we call others “Hitler” we minimize the horrors the whole world had to fight to overcome.

Imagine YOUR family portrait. Do you see your mother; your grandmothers; your father; your grandfathers; your aunts and uncles; your cousins; your baby brothers; your four year old sister. Do you see your mischievous 10 year old cousin pulling his sister’s hair? She is the one with her mouth formed in an “O” in surprise and pain. And then there is your tomboy of a 12 year old sister making googly  eyes at the camera.  Are you smiling? Now imagine putting an “X” on each and every face and telling your grandchild, “Hitler killed him”; “Hitler killed her”; “Hitler”; “Hitler”.

Lemme ask you something: Has any one of our leaders ever told millions of people they had to identify themselves by wearing a distinctive symbol signifying that they are the scourge of their nation? Have you ever had to watch your children being taken from you and put on a train to a concentration camp, your son is 4 and your daughter is a screaming 2 year old? Did you have to watch as soldiers lined up hundreds of the old and sick, each one being riddled with bullets in the blink of an eye? Did you have to watch your mother shrivel up from hunger and die slowly from the simple flu because she has no medicine or the strength to fight? Did you have your gold teeth ripped out of your mouth so some bastard can take the gold and melt it down? How about skinning your neighbour so a General can have a lamp shade made of his skin? Did you have to watch your daughters/sisters rounded up and sent to labs where there insides were mutilated and injected with poisons in “experiments”? Were you made to give up all your clothes and warm shoes then left to shiver in negative 30 degree Fahrenheit bitter cold winters?  And you better not stop working because you will be butted in the head by a gun.

No. You haven’t. And you won’t.

And before you dismiss my plea because you are telling yourself that it will never get to this point so why bother discussing it? It didn’t start with the gassing and the shooting. It started with toxic rhetoric. Beware words like: dictator, imperialist, unilateral, uncaring, supremacist, socialist,  or phrases like “threat to our freedom”; “if you are not with us, you are against us”; “it’s us versus them”; “take back our country”. And whenever you are not allowed to criticise a political proponent’s ideology and in turn are accused of being a “traitor” or identified as being partisan and blind, that is a huge signal that true democracy is NOT that proponent’s intent. Then, there is the actual poster with our Prime Minister dressed as Hitler himself. I’m not showing that picture here. That would give it more press and I refuse to be a part of that. Go look for it yourself.

It is a shame that politicos with self serving agendas are playing on people’s fears and emotions. Hitler took advantage of a depressed Germany to push his hate filled objectives. At first, the Germans didn’t even like him. He was unsuccessful at his early attempts. As the environment became more desperate and people sought a leader, he became their saviour, their knight in shining armour. None of them realized what they were heading for. Is this what we want for our people? More hate? More violence? More devastation? Check yourself. Check your motives. Check your tactics because it might turn out that “Hitler” is YOU.

To All The Whiny Bastards Out There: Get Off Your Ass


This is how you get shit done people….stop waiting for “someone else” to do it…there is NO ONE but YOU. No one can care as much as YOU about what YOU care about so that leaves YOU to do what YOU need to do…Is that clear?????????? LET ME YELL THEN: DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO FOR YOURSELF AND STOP BLAMING THE GOVERNMENT, YOUR PARENTS, POVERTY AND CORRUPTION. THOSE WHO REMAIN SILENT ARE JUST AS GUILTY.

 

 

What Buggery is Dis? by Fayemarie Anderson Carter


We have all heard the religious rhetoric surrounding  Sec 53, you know (in lowered voice) the gay law. Pastor Dis and Bishop Dat decided that they would just ignore the fact that we are NOT, I repeat NOT a religious state BUT a democracy. See, people get sooooo confused with the word DEMOCRACY but in simple simple simple words, it means  “the freedom to call something into being which did not exist before, which was not given… and which therefore, strictly speaking, could not be known.”[5] This type of freedom, which is connected to human “natality,” or the capacity to begin anew, sees democracy as “not only a political system… [but] an ideal, an aspiration, really, intimately connected to and dependent upon a picture of what it is to be human—of what it is a human should be to be fully human.”[6] 

Not simple enough? Mek ah try: it is a process by which what nevah exist before, could exist NOW!

Read on:

While there is no universally accepted definition of ‘democracy’,[7] equality and freedom have both been identified as important characteristics of democracy since ancient times.[8] These principles are reflected in all citizens being equal before the law and having equal access to legislative processes.

And then some more:

Majority rule is often listed as a characteristic of democracy. However, it is also possible for a minority to be oppressed by a “tyranny of the majority” in the absence of governmental or constitutional protections of individual or group rights. An essential part of an “ideal” representative democracy is competitiveelections that are fair both substantively[16] and procedurally.[17] Furthermore, freedom of political expressionfreedom of speech, and freedom of the press are considered to be essential, so that citizens are adequately informed and able to vote according to their own best interests as they see them.[18][19] It has also been suggested that a basic feature of democracy is the capacity of individuals to participate freely and fully in the life of their society.[20] 

AHHHHH CRAAAAAAPPPPP!!!! NOW I SEE WHAT THE PROBLEM IS!!!!!

Ok. Now that we have an idea of what democracy is, let’s look at RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. People like Pastor Dis and Bishop Dat feel that because God is on their side and they believe in Jesus that for some reason, they are superior to everyone else. At this point, you should all be raising your hands and asking the teacher, “But, Miss? Doesn’t that contradict what you just said about democracy?”

Ahm, frankly YEEEESSSSS! People confuse the right to practice religion with the rest of democratic principles. And don’t worry, it’s not just in Belize. I am not picking on you but I won’t let you get away with it just because al Qaeda blew up a couple a buildings and does it worse that you. The following is a case that explains it perfectly. And YES I know it’s an American case, but they’ve been doing this whole independence/democratic nation thing a lot longer than we have so…they could teach us a thing or two:

 

In Employment Division v. Smith, a pair of men who were fired from their jobs for ingesting peyote during Native American religious ceremonies sued when their applications for unemployment were denied because they had been fired for cause from their jobs. The US Supreme Court ruled that since the prohibitions on drug use is a neutral law of general applicability that the religious freedom argument didn’t come into play. From the decision:
Laws, we said, are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices. . . . Can a man excuse his practices to the contrary because of his religious belief? To permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.”

In other words, lovers, lovers of Belize, we have the freedom to practice our religious beliefs BUT CAN’T HOLD IT SUPERIOR TO THE LAW OF THE LAND!!!!!! Soh dem weed smokers whe seh dey do it because  a JAH…dem Pastor Dis and Bishop Dat whe seh that homosexuals should be prosecuted because dat dah whe GOD seh? Dem Muslims whe mutilate girls, cutting off their sexual organs to keep them pure because ALLAH seh soh? YOU CAN’T DO THAT IN A DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY AND IF YOU DO YOU ARE SUBJECT TO PROSECUTION AS ANYONE ELSE IS.

Now…I am hard pressed to understand why the hell a country run by a bunch of lawyers couldn’t figure this one out and make a stand for the development and progress of our democracy…buggery..I tell you…just plain old buggery. Bend ovah and insert bukut.