The ruling faction of the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) is playing a propaganda game which is dangerous for Kremandala. Every weekday morning, the PUP leadership has their attack dogs repeating a specific lie which is intended to provoke those volatile elements which surround Kremandala on the Southside of Belize City.
That specific lie is that the ruling UDP is paying Kremandala large amounts of money in order for us to support the UDP government. In depressed areas like the Southside, when people think that a specific entity is accumulating large amounts of money, that specific entity becomes a target. At first, the targeting involves requests, but then those requests become demands. Demands involve threats, both implicit and explicit.
Kremandala experienced a similar situation in the summer of 2003. The alliance which had been formed between the PUP and Kremandala in late 1993/early1994 ended up damaging Kremandala. The PUP was the much larger, much wealthier partner, there is simply no comparison. When the PUP regained power in August of 1998, there were key Kremandala personalities who openly shifted their loyalty from Partridge Street to the PUP leadership. Belize is a free country: this was their right, and it was their privilege.
The problem for Kremandala really began when the PUP won a second term of office in March of 2003. The ruling faction of the PUP included a specific element which then decided that the time had come to break Kremandala, so to speak. The first part of the attack took place immediately after the 2003 general elections. It was against the University of Belize, where the Kremandala chairman had been board chairman from UB’s founding in August of 2000. The second part of the attack took place in the streets around Kremandala. Street elements were told by those Kremandala personalities who had shifted their loyalty to the PUP, that Kremandala was making a lot of money and that they needed to get some of that for themselves.
History records that the UB faculty and staff fought a heroic, emergency battle to save the university, such as it was, from a financial offensive launched by the PUP government. This was how the first part of the attack was averted, by the UB faculty and staff.
Where the second part of the attack was concerned, this crisis involved demands made by the streets around Kremandala which had to be negotiated and settled. Previously to the summer of 2003, Kremandala was a source of largesse which could have been considered charity. After the summer of 2003, that largesse was no longer largesse: it became taxation.
The present ruling faction of the PUP spent almost three quarter of a million dollars between 2009 and 2011 publishing a propaganda sheet called The National Perspective, one of the main purposes of which was to attack Kremandala. While everyone in financial circles knows where the real PUP money is banked, the situation is different in the streets. Propaganda lies can spark unrest. Things are so rough on the Southside that people can quickly become edgy to the point of desperation when they feel that something is going on of which they are not a part, something from which they are being excluded.
The main problem with the PUP presently is that those leaders and cronies who got away with the big money between 1998 and 2008 are sitting on that money; they refuse to spend it. Recently, they preferred to shut down The Belize Times and fire loyal workers rather than dig into their enormous nest eggs. In fact, when John Briceño resigned as PUP Leader in late October of 2011, it was because he realized how the PUP Ebenezer Scrooges had set him up. Briceño had spent millions of his own money, and borrowed more millions, on his personal guarantee, in order to run the party between March of 2008 and late 2011. With general elections around the corner, he realized how exposed he was financially, that he couldn’t carry the burden alone without extreme danger to his family’s businesses.
The fact of the matter is that the ruling UDP does not have to pay Kremandala anything for them to stay in power. There are no general elections scheduled here for the next four years, not even municipal elections until 2015. The UDP owns its own newspaper, its own radio station, and its own television station. More than that, Kremandala did not take sides in the 2012 general elections. KREM Radio and KREM TV were committed to the Oceana campaign against offshore oil drilling, a campaign which definitely hurt the UDP in the critical last two weeks of the 2012 campaign.
For some reason, the ruling faction of the PUP believes they can intimidate Kremandala into fighting the UDP on their behalf. Why should we fight on behalf of a political element which has been repeating publicly for years that they have personal issues with us?
This is a dangerous game which the ruling faction of the Opposition PUP is playing, and there are people who are speaking out of turn.