By Jamil Matar
This Wednesday afternoon past, 11th September, I was aimed, cocked, and ready like a Vietcong sniper to fire off my opinion piece to The Guardian when “Biejo” suddenly appeared at my little spot, practically boiling about a “$40 million” student loan write-off. You all remember Biejo, right? He is an octogenarian who claims to have been a PUP since he was five years old, and says he will never change. After first correcting him that it was a $40,000 write-off, not $40 mil, I told him that technically, all overseas student scholarships are ultimately written off. You see, as soon as a student completes 3 years of working in Belize, his/her loan is cancelled, and the bond which was entered into is taken off the books. Biejo did not know that fact. No sooner had I calmed him on that issue, when a friend passed in a pickup truck and shouted at Biejo that Barrow will pass a law that no person over 80 would be allowed to vote in 2020 because they “were not firing on all cylinders” and will spoil their vote. Biejo went off again on another tirade, that he would kill all those mother fires.
Another guy, Austin, asked Biejo if he had seen the massive UDP convention to endorse Hon. Faber for UDP Party Leader at the Civic. Biejo responded by saying that Faber will never be Prime Minister and if Austin felt otherwise, to “go bring his land papers”. So I suggested that if it was not Faber, it would be Hon. Saldivar, then? Biejo grudgingly agreed, which left me stunned at this concession. Biejo added that both UDP candidates were of the same corrupt kettle, but since Saldivar was “out-district”, he would be a better choice for the other districts to look good like Cayo. I did not disagree with the out-district argument. Austin reminded him that Johnny was out- district too, so why was he conceding a PUP defeat in 2020? Biejo started to swear all over that those AH’s were already fighting again, with the two Musa’s and Fonseca not attending PUP Executive meetings. The barrage of expletives threw me off track, so I took a day off from writing.
In all fairness, I am only using Biejo as scapegoat for my absence. In reality, my invalidity sent me into a period of hopelessness and irritability. My doctor had to prescribe some anti-depressants to fix me up. Since my disposition is a bit sunnier these days due to my meds, I want to make good on a promise to a longtime friend and stalwart UDP supporter to mention in The Guardian the challenging times his 30-year business is facing here in OW. My buddy is a brick maker, and he claims that large, well-financed foreign investors are driving the small entrepreneurs like himself out of commission. My suggestion was to form an Association of small brick makers to seek a solution to their struggle. It’s a pickle these days for small businesses; there is no such thing as faithful and loyal customers; people will flock to low cost goods and services. That’s the sad reality of doing business in an expanding economy. But unity is strength in all matters, hence my suggestion of an Association. Next time, we talk some more about it. Happy Independence Day to all!
By Jamil Matar