Four days from today we’ll be celebrating the 210th Anniversary of the Battle of St George’s Caye. I’ll be celebrating it even if you aren’t, because to me it’s not a red or a blue holiday; it’s not a black or white holiday. In my humble opinion, labeling it as some sort of tacit endorsement of colonialism and slavery is narrow-minded in the extreme.
To deny that the battle happened because those who fought didn’t meet certain criteria and because you hate the British who are long gone is, in a word, pathetic. Somebody said in the papers the other day that it’s bogus because it was a white man’s fight. I’d like to personally call that writer a racist, brain-damaged idiot. The proper way to look at it is thus, if nothing happened then, would we be speaking English now? For sure there would be no Guatemalan dispute because we’d already have Guatemalan passports. Before you decide that’s a good idea, let me point out that generally speaking the Latinos don’t have the best record for liking us ‘people of colour.’
A few more than two hundred and ten years ago (I’m ashamed to admit I don’t remember exactly when) a public meeting was held where those present discussed and voted on whether to remain in this settlement and fight to keep it or abandon it to the Spaniards. The vote to stay was the winner because of some black folk named Flowers who came in to Belize Town from Flowers Bank for the meeting and voted to stay –their vote put it over the top. I hope that Flowers’ descendants of today are aware and proud of their ancestors’ active role in Belizean history.
As a direct result of that vote, when the Spaniards anchored their ships off our shores a year or two later we were ready, and we repelled them. There is no shame in having had a British warship there to help, just as there is no shame in the notion that there was no wholesale slaughter of our people. The former was their duty and the latter should be our pride. The British warship did not and could not repel the Spaniards on its own, nor does the fact that the two opponents did not line off against each other across a battlefield, point muskets and shoot at each other mean that nothing happened.
The thing is, you have people here who are traitors to Belize even as they wrap themselves in our flag. They don’t want us to have pride in our heritage because that would make us proud and strong. National pride gives us self-pride, a sense of identity, and that’s dangerous to people who want to enslave our minds and keep us down. So next time you hear someone sounding off like that brain-damaged racist, please point out to him/her that they are sounding off in English, which seems to underscore the silliness of their denial. They should be ashamed to call themselves Belizeans.