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Jan 30, 1998

G. Michael Reid on the need to register

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News Five commentator G. Michael Reid rarely enters the murky waters of Belizean politics and when he does dip foot, it is not without first checking carefully for sharks, jellyfish, sea urchins and other perils of the sea. Finding, for the moment at least, that the coast is clear, he decided to go for a swim.

“Is it just me or is time really slipping by faster these days. Seems like just yesterday we were preparing for Christmas and now here we are, already putting the finishing touches on January. Regardless of how fast she goes by however, if this first month is any indication, then 1998 should turn out to be, one of the most eventful and interesting years in recent history: both home and abroad. Internationally we have already seen what many have deemed to be nothing short of a miracle. Pope John Paul the second, the quintessential Christian was received with open arms into Cuba and by no other than Fidel Castro, considered himself to be, the consummate communist. Really, isn’t this a little like the lion lying down with the lamb?

At home on January 11th, we saw Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel and opposition leader Said Musa kneeling side by side in the Ebenezer Methodist Church being blessed by preachers and pastors from every different denominations in town. Instead of lions and lambs however, these shepherds seemed more like referees giving final instructions before a boxing match. “Touch gloves now fellow and come out fighting.” Less than two weeks after the sermon in fact, the two political bulls had horns locked in a test of will on capital hill as Belize cam the closest it’s been to unrest in quite a while. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and the sentence of a reprimand seems to have been well received by both sides. Yet, this is election year and one can’t help but get the feeling that Mangar won’t be the only one kicking up dust in ’98? Speaking of election, I stopped by the elections office to pick up my voter’s ID card and was pleased to see a steady stream of applicants still being processed. Let me remind you that if you haven’t registered as yet, please do so as soon as possible. By being registered you count yourself as a member of society and become in reality, a somebody to the system. With your ID, you can prove who you are, you can cash checks and of courts, I mean of course, you can even get credit. More importantly, you can let your voice be heard in deciding who will run your country. I you don’t register, and you don’t vote, then you have no right to complain regardless of how bad times get. For our country’s sake, let us all get involved.

Now on a lighter side, 1998 is a significant milestone in our history as it marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of St. George’s Caye. After all the discussion, debate and input into the subject last year. I remain and am in fact even more convinced, that something significant enough to celebrate did occur. To those who suggest that in no way could a few rafts of riff raffs turn back a Spanish armada. I refer you to the book of Joshua, chapter six. While we seem ready and able to quote the scriptures in justifying our condemnation of a few hundred gays, boasting of our knowledge of Sodom and Gomorrah, we seem to have all but forgotten about Jericho.

With the last word, G. Michael Reid.”

The opinions expressed on the Last Word are those of G. Michael Reid and not necessarily those of Channel Five. Comments are welcome.

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