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Apr 30, 1999

G. Michael Reid bigs up basketball

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Tonight G. Michael Reid gives us a little bit of sports, and a little bit of recreation as he looks at Belize’s team to Cuba and the May Day holiday.

“Many were ecstatic to receive news that our national basketball team which will be heading to Cuba next week, will be once again be stewarded by the able tandem of Coach David Greenwood and Clarence Morgan. Guarding the point, as he did so dexterously during CARICOM, will be favorite son Milton Palacio while Alex Carcamo and Kirk “Shabba” Smith will once again be filling the wings. One sad note is that Keith Acosta, a key component to Belize’s dream team success during CARICOM, might not be able to make the trip. According to sources, Acosta is not only involved with finals at school, but suffered injury as the result of a spill during last Friday’s semi-pro contest against the Lakers. We wish Keith a speedy recovery and believe that it would not be a bad idea to leave a space open for him just in case. Acosta is one of Belize’s most talented athletes and considering his love for competition, we can be sure that this is hurting him as much as it is hurting us.

Nevertheless, even without Acosta, this team should do very well in at least maintaining the level of basketball respect that we have captured so far. Aside from the CARICOM crown, our boys also registered impressive victories in Venezuela, albeit coming up short of a medal. To win, show or place at these games in Cuba would not only mean making history, but also garnering considerable international recognition.

Too long have we played whipping boy to the rest of the sporting world and let us hope that once again, Saldivar’s soldiers can bring us home some sports glory. Let us rally behind our national team and let them know that whether home grown or foreign grown, we are proud that they are Belizeans and are grateful for their representation. On behalf of all of us who will be back here glued to our media source for results, vaya con Dios compadres and if you don’t mind, kindly bring us back one of those precious little medals.

Of notable interest in the whole processing, this national team has been the way how B.N.B.A. President and staunch U.D.P. supporter John Saldivar and the P.U.P. government, have been able to put aside their political differences for the sake of his venture. Nuff respect to our Prime Minister for taking a stand on the issue and let us pray that this is a trend that will catch on and hopefully one day, free us from this witless political strangulation. Oh what a happy day that will be!

And speaking of happy days, tomorrow is May Day and throughout the world, this day is being celebrated as International Labor Day. Like most other holidays that we celebrate today, May Day also has its origins deep in the cradle of Paganism. The ancient Celts and Saxons celebrated May 1st as Beltane or the “day of fire”. May Day, in the olden days, was a time of fun, games and feasting, celebrating the end of winter and the return of the sun and fertility to the soil. With the advent of Christianity, the celebration of May Day like all the other pagan holidays, was at first outlawed by the Church but realizing that they would never be able to eliminate all of the traditional feasts and holy days of the old religion, the Church instead opted to transform some into saint days. May 1st consequently became St. Crispin’s Day; Crispin being the patron saint of shoemakers.

It was not until 1889 that May 1st became associated with the labor movement, and this in itself is a rather interesting story. Of course, practically the only place on Earth that does not celebrate May 1st as Labor Day is the United States of America. Over there it is celebrated on the first Monday of September. The irony here is that the celebration of labor which is held worldwide on May 1st, is actually in commemoration of historical events that occurred in the United States. It was the year 1886 and the newly formed labor unions of America and Canada were demanding an eight-hour work day. The American Federation of Labor declared a national strike on May 1st 1886 and 350,000 workers across the nation responded. The city of Chicago in particular was virtually paralyzed, with railroads, stockyards and many other businesses forced to close. The strike kept growing and on the third day, nervous policemen fired into a crowd of noisy strikers, killing six and wounding countless others. The very next day, a huge rally was held at Haymarket Square in Chicago protesting the unprovoked police brutality. The police once again arrived but this time when they tried to break up the crowd, someone tossed a bomb in their midst. Seventy officers were seriously injured with eight of the injuries being fatal. Whether by coincidence or not, eight labor unionists were eventually arrested and although no concrete evidence was ever presented linking them to the bombing or even placing them at the rally, all were convicted and sentenced to execution.

In 1889 at a convention in Paris, the International Working Men’s Association declared May 1st as an international working class holiday in commemoration of the Haymarket martyrs. A red flag became the symbol of Labor Day and is flown in memory of the blood that has been shed in the fight for workers’ rights. As we enjoy our Labor Day festivities tomorrow, let us not forget the real purpose of this day. Let us take time to remember the many souls who have suffered in order that the rest of us can have an easier time on the job. 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. Viewer comments are welcome.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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