Friday, May 05, 2023

Is there any space left on this bandwagon?

How unlike the Guardian to fail to contextualise the remarks of Belizean PM Johnny Briceño who, before opening his mouth to patronise Rishi Sunak over his Indian heritage, might have paused momentarily to engage brain...



Belize became a crown colony AFTER Britain had abolished both the slave trade and slavery.
According to the Garifuna's own version of their history, they were never really enslaved. In that narrative a slaver was wrecked on Saint Vincent and the surviving West Africans blended with the warlike Caribs on that island (who had only recently completed the extermination of the native Arawaks). Under pressure from both Britain and France they subsequently got in their boats and set off for the Bay of Honduras. They still speak an Amerindian-derived language. 
A chunk of people in Belize are descended from soldiers who fought under Lee in the Confederate Army and were resettled after the Civil War. Do they deserve their share of reparations? 
A significant number of Mayan Belizeans arrived in the 80s having fled the genocidal policies of Guatemala's military regime. Would Guatemala need to chip in? 
Northern Belize's population is weighted towards those descended from refugees from the Caste Wars, in which the Yucatán, at the start an independent state, was attempting to put down a revolt amongst its indigenous population. Who's on the hook here? Spain, Mexico or the Governors of Yucatán and Quintana Roo? The UK provided sanctuary.
Perhaps ironically, there is one large, ethnically-homogenous group in Belize which might get some mileage out of a gripe about British imperial policies, now the country's most economically-powerful demographic: the Cantonese. 

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