The recorded conversation between John Briceño and a PUP insider has come as a surprise to just about everyone in Belize. The UDP administration is seemingly positioned to gain from the disclosure. As far back as the 1970s, and especially after achieving independence in 1981, there have been rumors of inappropriate financial activity within the ruling PUP party.
The Musa administration was voted out as a direct result of suspected mishandling of the people’s finances. The present government came to power on the premise that they would bring good governance and transparency, as promised by the now Prime Minister Dean Barrow.
Belize’s Constitution purposefully protects government officials from being prosecuted for criminal acts, and the Barrow administration has done nothing to amend this law. But more importantly, the people of Belize have not seen it fit to demand that the government make constitutional amendments and put laws in place that will go after individuals who betray the people’s trust.
Meanwhile, we continue to salivate for foreign investors and grants from foreign governments. Then somehow, those monies disappear, projects remain incomplete, passports sold to individuals incarcerated on the other side of the planet’s surface, and no one has answered for these crimes in a court of law.
The content of Mr. Briceño’s declarations comes straight from the horse’s mouth. When coupled with the results of the recent municipal election, it could be ill-conceived as a clear road to victory for the UDP in the coming general election. The reality of this situation is that it may be a win for the UDP, but it is certainly a loss for the country and the people of Belize. And the blame for this sits squarely on the shoulders of every citizen and every government official in the country.
Does this information not warrant an investigation? Is it just another breeze that will fly over? Is it mud the UDP will enjoy “slinging” in the face of the PUP? Or will it be seen for what it is?
The Integrity Commission is non-functional. Is it not time, regardless of which party is in power, to conduct a complete audit of the country’s finances? Is it not time for party officials to become true politicians, and not hustlers. Is it not time for the opposing party to become a boisterous and effective opposition? Where are our social leaders and community leaders? Why are we not addressing the problems that stand in front of us on a daily basis? Or, are we waiting for Belizeans in the Diaspora to come and liberate us? Maybe, we are all waiting for “our turn” to feed at the trough, and, as a result, there is no need of fixing anything!
This position taken by the Barrow administration is pretentious and insulting, to say the least. The explanation given by PUP Party Leader, Francis Fonceca, is unacceptable and disingenuous. Mr. Briceno’s declaration is no private matter, and the people of Belize should not accept that explanation. Doing so is accepting and further sanctioning that type of behavior. How can this be a private matter when it involves public funds? This declaration is in the direct interest of every Belizean citizen and a matter that must be answered in a court of law; given that the country had proper laws and the enforcement of such laws in place. Belize seems not to realize that the entire world is watching and that we are being evaluated based on our actions and decisions.
There is no political victory here. The entire country has lost. The reality of the situation, particularly when it comes to the way things are in Belize, nothing will be done. The people remain ignorant, and the arrogance of politicians continues to govern.