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Belizeans, I bring you good tidings

FeaturesBelizeans, I bring you good tidings

Belize City, August 30, 2016: Our beautiful Belize is a country that’s in crisis. We are facing a severe financial and economic crisis where our sources of foreign exchange have fallen by some 15% in the first six months of this year. We have lost most of our access to US banks, and our excessive money printing is putting the exchange peg in trouble – our open economy depends on foreign exchange. We have several serious crime/social problems as leading members of our government have been implicated in the biggest immigration scandal in the history of Belize; a beheading of a pastor allegedly by a crime gang/syndicate headed by a person with connections to the highest levels of government. A neighbor (Guatemala) who keeps threatening our country with invasion; and a population that is very angry because of the Chief Justice’s recent ruling to change the meaning of the word “sex.”

Before I deal with Belize’s problems, the good news is that a sea-change, an earthquake is occurring in Asia. September 2nd will see the start of three successive international summit meetings in Asia, which will establish the new reality that China, Russia, and India— not Obama and NATO—are creating and shaping that future.

There are strong strategic shifts underway. Putin has overturned the U.S./European assumptions about fighting terrorism in Southwest Asia, winning Turkey to his approach and now winning leading voices even in Germany. The policy of China, Russia, and India of building land-bridges and corridors of new infrastructure across Eurasia and Africa has become more powerful than Obama’s attempts to provoke Russia by war and “issue rules” to China.

All Obama’s poisoned efforts to make China the enemy of the 10 ASEAN nations, have wound up with China more influential in ASEAN than before. Its annual meeting Sept 6th–8th will take place in Laos. First will be this weekend’s East Asia Economic Forum meeting in Vladivostok, Russia from Sept 2nd to 3rd and then the G20 meeting in Hangzhou, China, Sept 4th to 5th. According to the Chinese, these three powerful summits will focus on restoring growth and productivity to the world economy, after the last decade’s collapse triggered by Wall Street. Now, a handful of world leaders are proposing a change of course and in doing so, are fundamentally challenging the underlying axioms which have shaped the last century of global economic policy. The plan is to introduce a New Financial and Economic Architecture which puts people, not money, nations and markets, as paramount.

And Obama’s anti-China “trade agreements,” Trans-Pacific Partnership and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, are being pronounced dead even by their former supporters. Monday, the French Trade Minister said it was dead, and today Germany said the same. In October, India’s P.M. Modi will host the BRICS summit in Gao, India to continue the drive for a new, just economic order.

So, Belizeans, the world as we have known it is changing. We need to be on the right side of history. Our problems can be easily solved once the new paradigm is established by China, Russia and India; because the Americans will come to their senses and understand that the new world order is no longer uni-polar, but a multi-polar world, led by China, the USA, Russia and India.

Now let’s be real. The UDP has very serious problems and may not win the next general elections because of the William Mason debacle, the immigration scandal, a declining economy, the changing of the meaning of “sex,” and the crime situation. Therefore, the alternative seems to be the PUP forming the next government. But the PUP has serious problems. The neo-liberal faction is living in a glass bowl in the world of austerity, unlimited extraction and exploitation of human and natural resources, free trade and globalization which is dying before their eyes.

As the philosopher and economic guru of the PUP, the 67,000 members need to know truth. I will now write things that have never been made public before. In 1993 the PUP lost the general elections and the following year, 1994, suffered a devastating defeat in Town Boards at the hands of the UDP under Rt. Hon. Manual Esquivel’s leadership. A group of us decided to form a faction known as “May 15th” to try and reform the party. In the 1995 Convention we decided to challenge for some of the posts on the national executive. We got 7 of the 18 posts, including the co-chairman.

In December 1995, an arrangement was made between, George Price, Said Musa, Ralph Fonseca, Evan X Hyde and Bill Lindo. Ralph was going to be out of Belize for several month and his deputy, Bill Lindo, would be in charge of the 1996 Belize City Council elections. The late Javier Berbey Garcia raised a little over quarter-million dollars for the PUP and with the support of Mr. Price and Mr. Musa, Evan X and Bill won for the PUP the 1996 Belize City Council elections, and for the first time since 1964, won the Albert Division. This election was the beginning of the end of the UDP. By 1998 they suffered the same humiliating loss that the PUP would suffer in 2008.

Mr. Garcia supplied enough money, but it was the creativity of Evan X and Bill which made the difference. Evan X started a new radio show – the Kremandala Show, featuring the late Dr. Leroy Taegar, Evan X, Bill and others. Bill wrote a book—ABC’s of Economics (1995), to prove why the building of 10,000 houses would be good for Belize’s economy. The neo-liberals built the houses but it was detrimental to Belize’s economy – they borrowed too much foreign exchange. The houses were supposed to create demand for locally produced steel, paint, electric wires and cement. After the 1998 general elections, the neo-liberal faction took over the PUP and the rest is history. From 2006 to 2015, the PUP has lost every single election.

In 2010, the PUP decided to publish a revised Creed and Constitution based on the1950’s PUP. Article 6 stated the aims and objects of the PUP. Number 1 and 2 speak about national unity and maintaining the Independent Belize. Number 3 is very clear – “To achieve full Economic Independence, Eradicating Poverty through Self- Reliance and Full Employment.” Number 6 states: “To ensure that every Belizean has a Right to Work, Right to organize, unionize and strike, and that they receive a just return for their Labour based on a living wage, a fair share of the national wealth and a continuously improving quality of life.”

When the PUP returns to its 1950’s roots, it wins elections: when it goes against its Creed it suffers defeat. Belizeans don’t need two UDP’s. The current one under Mr. Barrow is enough.

Some in the PUP think the Belizean people are a bunch of fools, a bunch of yahoos. Behind the backs of its members, a neo-liberal faction is trying to push their failed ideology again on the party.

The PUP Creed and aims are clear – full economic independence. This will take at least 20 or more years, but the march towards it will see the eradication of poverty, full employment, a living wage and a continuously improving quality of life for the citizens of Belize. Building more call-centers, employing more servants and maids, using the people’s tax dollars to give the large Mennonite farmers and distributors who take our money to Canada and give us death, is not going to increase standards of living, nor end poverty. These measures will increase poverty, will made Belize more dependent and create a miserable set of citizens. Poverty is already at 53%. These neo-liberal policies will in 6 years cause our poverty rate to be some 70%

Take the case of agriculture. A Mayan corn farmer puts about 15 pounds of seed into the dirt. After 90 days he harvests about 1,600 pounds of corn, or if a Mennonite, his yield will be about 3,460 pounds for the 15 pounds he put into the dirt. The Mayan farmer gets 167 times more and the Mennonite farmer gets 230 times more. So our stupid politicians refuse to support the Mayan farmer and instead give tax dollars to the Mennonite farmers and fully support the Mennonite farmers getting a monopoly on the rice, beef, chicken, eggs, pork, beans and most of the corn. And we all know what happens – the Mennonites collect monopoly rent from us. They extract heavy rent for the foods we buy from them. Today, rice is selling in USA for US$ 18 cents per pound, or about Bz$ 39 cents per pound landed in Belize. The importer adds 10% and the retailer adds another 20%. The retail price is then Bz$ 54 cents per pound. Belizeans, why are we paying 90 cents per pound? Then they want us to give them more?

The heirloom corn that the Mayans grow will not yield much grain, but it will be nutrient-dense, meaning it contains some 40 minerals and vitamins, while the Mennonite grain will contain less than 20 minerals and vitamins, and is loaded with pesticides which cause cancer, diabetes, heart problems and other diseases. The Mayan grain has no such problems. So when you add all the costs to environment, health costs and other social costs, which is cheaper in the long run?

I have been gathering data on agriculture for the last couple of years. Between the years 2010 to 2015 acreage has increased by about 3% per year to some 220,554 acres. Imported pesticides over the same period increased by 51%, and imported fertilizers increased by a whopping 176%. But guess what? Yields have been decreasing for corn from about 4,120 lbs./acre to about 3,460 lbs./acre for mechanized corn grown by the Mennonites, and the same trend is being reported in citrus, beans, vegetables, etc. The large farmer’s method of farming is wrong. Chemical farming kills the soil so that yields decrease, while inputs must be increased just to keep up. They don’t farm: they MINE the soil. The soil contains about 84+ minerals, but they take out the 84+ and replace mostly 3 or 8 minerals. The result is sick plants that attract insects, which they spray like crazy, which gives us cancer, diabetes and other degenerative diseases which are causing Belizeans to drop like flies. It’s not God killing us for our sinful ways: it’s we killing ourselves by eating sick food, while the grower extracts monopoly rent from us.

Belizeans, understand something. George Price was a man who devoted his life to creating a happy set of Belizean citizens. But, we have lost our way. He knew that agriculture when grown as biological rather than chemical will nurture us and keep us healthy; and that agriculture is the raw material for our manufacturing industries.

How do you end poverty? You pay a living wage. But so as not to destroy the economy, the human must be creative. He/she must invent technologies to produce more while using less labor-time. In other words, saved-labor (machinery) using technological advances from the creativity of humans must make the worker productive. This then solves the economic riddle of DEMAND. Lack of demand is today killing the economy of Belize. No neo-liberal mind-set will solve it. In fact, the austerity of the neo-liberals will by definition create a lack of demand.

The Americans and Europeans have always insisted that Belize buy finished goods from them. The result is Belizean dependence and slavery. Making your own food, clothing and shelter is independence and freedom. The PUP was started in 1950 as a political party to make Belize independent both politically and economically. The world is now multi-polar, so we can go for our economic independence. No more excuses. Our citizens need their freedom and happiness.

The move by the Anglo-Americans to change the meaning of the word “sex” is a sign of the decadence of Belize’s society caused by the escalating rise in poverty, due to the policies of the neo-liberals. Fix the economy by ending poverty, creating full employment at living wages along with a return to the Age of Picas to emphasize beauty, poetry, and classical culture and you will see a happy Belize full of happy citizens, and little or no crime.

As to the corruption in government, and society in general, especially regarding immigration, the solution is simple. I agree with the Prime Minister that joining the UN convention on corruption is expensive, and allows foreign entities to interfere in our country. Belize has a law on the books that’s easy to use. It is a civil rather than criminal matter, but very effective. It’s called “Unjust Enrichment.” For instance, any group such as the Chamber may file a claim against any public servant, including a politician, to show how he or she obtained the assets they possess. If it was by corruption they lose the assets. Simple and efficient. Just take a look at the government parking lots and see who is driving which fancy ride. If we are serious, let’s see who will bell the cat.

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