Features — 06 December 2017 — by Colin Hyde
The exorbitant cost of party  over country

The Prime Minister was told, begged, pleaded with, over and over and OVER again, to stop putting his party’s fortunes over our country. Please, we begged, make your government Belize first, Belize second, Belize third—then party. People saw what he was doing (how he was governing), and he was told, begged, and pleaded with.

But there he was, even at the end of the last verdict (CCJ), wondering how the PUP will vote. Who cares about how the PUP will vote, Braa? The PUP might just as well stay away from the House when the UHS vote comes up.

For those of us who believed, we were let down by our legal luminaries. For those of us who didn’t believe, we got wap anyway. This case was strange from the very beginning. We knew we were dissatisfied with the way the PUPeez handled things. So we dumped them at the polls. We’ve been dumping them ever since.

But, we wondered how we could tie the bank into the PUPeez felonies. We’ve all seen how difficult it is to convict a man with a good lawyer, and how impossible it is to get a verdict against a rich man with powerful lawyers. The PM himself had lectured us about the difficulty in establishing legal guilt. What, really, were we trying to prove, and how could we make it stick.

The CCJ handed down a ruling which didn’t surprise that many Belizeans. If the Belize Bank were a local bank, we might have questioned their nationalism, having seen the wanton way the PUP was running the country. Did the UDP really think that Ashcroft was Belize first? UDP and PUP operatives may know that the Ashcroft bank KNEW that it was guaranteeing a suspect loan. But how do you prove that in court? And, how certain can one be that a court will check a bank for being a bank?

There is the suggestion that the people believed the UDP was on the right track, and now we are practicing hindsight. This is what occurs when you surround yourselves with sycophants, people who don’t remind you that “you are just men.”

PUPeez, so busy covering up, and UDPeez, so busy exploiting this UHS deal for every drop they could get, and the people left holding the bag.


Julius Espat is perfect for the UDP

I really don’t care to call out Julius Espat, but someone has to, for running ahead of his party and discussing the CCJ verdict. He’s got his points, but I’ll have to say that too many of his reads are off page, unless he is working for the UDP. Julius comes over as an Ashcrofite, an ultra-right PUP. Or, he really could be a UDP. Of course the former is the more likely. He does sit in the House as a blue. Whichever of the two he is, it works out for the reds.

The CCJ has ruled but this deal is not sewn up. History shows what happens when countries or individuals are brought to destruction by onerous, vulgar usury; history has shown what happens when the interest on a loan grows until it becomes “a pound of flesh”.

Nations, and individuals, will grin and bear, do all they can to pay off the principal. And they will do the same to respect an agreement in respect to the interest. But when the interest is onerous, obscene, as is the case in the UHS deal, there has to be some serious talk, very serious NEGOTIATION.

The PUP has sufficient reason to say NO. Even Said Musa could vote NO. He could argue that he paid the bill already. Or, the PUP could decide to NO SHOW on voting day. When the UDP became the government, UHS became their baby.


A sackcloth moment

Belize doesn’t have a history of governments’ having the honour to do the right thing. Belize’s three extra-early elections were called by governments that saw weakness in the Opposition. It didn’t work out for the PUP in 1993. They underestimated the work Godwin Hulse and Russell Vellos had put in on KREM Radio to expose their “Italian” projects, and they didn’t expect the UDPeez and Philip Goldson to patch things.

The UDP almost lost in 2012 when they called early elections. They miscalculated on the profit in blaming a PUP that the people had kicked out of the House in 2008, and they didn’t realize the turn off their Wave Radio was. Wave Radio was instrumental in exposing PUP corruption in the run-up to general elections in 2008, but when they turned their ugly on citizens who weren’t deeply political, Belizeans soured on the government.

The UDP got a better margin after snap elections in 2015, largely because they were awash in PetroCaribe, and the PUP ultra-right wouldn’t heed Dr. Francis Smith’s advice, that they back off.
The UDP was hired to remedy the UHS and other problems. The UDP leaders promised their followers, and Belize, that we had an ironclad case. Now, after they lost the case, they want to berate the CCJ. No, this is time to hang your heads. This is a sackcloth moment.


What the UDP “must” do

Our government absolutely must stop playing games with this nation. Damned right that money from Taiwan and Venezuela should not have been used to settle a private loan. That would have been unfair to the people of those nations. The PUP government deserved to be booted from office for playing so loose with the people’s money. The UDP was elected to make things right. They played politics.

God is good. Despite all the efforts of the UDP to lose the 2012 election, they came through. If they hadn’t won, the PUPeez would have gotten their paws on the PetroCaribe money. The ungrateful UDP did spend too much of it on cement, not on the citizens, but that is better than PUP fat cats huffing the funds. What a huyayai it would have been for the blue ultra-right!

Belize doesn’t have a history of governments’ having the honour to do the right thing. Properly, the UDP should dissolve the government, hand over to another government to fix our problems. Yes, they should resign, call new elections. They won’t do that and we don’t need them to.

The UDP must pay for this failure. The UDP must (of course we are pleading with them again) set about making itself a people’s government, until the end of their term. They must sit down with the people and make the necessary changes to our political system. They must allow our governance bodies to function the way the architects of the system intended. The UDP must dissolve Wave Radio, absolutely the morning show. The UDP must dissolve the Guardian newspaper, absolutely.

Then the UDP must go directly into negotiation with the bank. The thought of waiting out their term and handing the matter over to another government to fix, is unconscionable. What have the people of Belize done to deserve this? The bank must be told to “come down to earth” and eat that interest.

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