Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) hosted its annual general meeting in Belize City on Saturday. The last AGM was held in 2013 and in the intervening two years the organization has inserted itself into the national discussion, taking firm initiatives and positions on various issues, including the private prosecution of Elvin Penner for his action in the Kim Won Hong passport scandal, among others.
Elections were held at the AGM and Geovannie Brackett was re-elected president; Gilroy Usher, Jr. was returned as vice president; Alton Humes as secretary; Edward Young was re-elected Treasurer; and Ismay Williams as one of two trustees. Newcomer to the executive holding the other position of trustee is Russell Roberts.
COLA has appointed two special advisors, Nedal Jihad McLaren for national security, and the poet Harley Burn, pen name River of Fire, as arts liaison.
In his main address, President Giovanni Brackett said that COLA will continue to agitate on behalf of the Belizean people in concert with their activist partners, including the Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage and the Rod of Correction among others.
Mr Brackett gave thanks that COLA has been able to stand in the face of a lack of resources and opposition from authority figures.
“We can’t get funding at the level that you see Oceana or Audubon Society. Why? Most people will tell you they are afraid to give to an organization like COLA. Why? Because they are afraid of being victimized, but what baffles the Government is how we make bricks without straw, or how we turn water into wine.
How is it that COLA is able to stay alive? I simply say, by the grace of God, because if the PUP is struggling financially, they know we are not being funded by PUP.
[However] we remain committed to the issues we have embarked on.”
Members of the executive in their addresses to members were unanimous in their belief that the organization is stronger than at any time in recent memory, because of its dedicated and sustained presence on the national consciousness.