Features — 29 October 2016 — by Dr. Theodore Aranda
Grand corruption destroying Belize

October 26, 2016

I watched a replay of the Senate hearing on TV a week or so ago. What was immediately striking was a groping and rambling by the Senatorial Committee to cover up for the leaders of both the House of Representatives and the Senate and to pin their Grand Corruption on others. They were trying their hardest to divert attention away from themselves so that their wrongdoings are not known by the public. They were distorting the rule of law by dragging the country into lawlessness and international disrespect. It is a total waste of time and money to continue stretching their time in office simply to collect more salaries.

The House and Senate know that they have no useful or productive solutions to the severe corruption in the proposed Senate Committee agenda. The dominant voices and actors in both Houses are the one and the same, who have accepted corruption as a normal political practice and behaviour. The Senate, as corrupt as the House, can only play “follow the leader” to the House that leads in the severe corruption, and thus cannot offer solutions to it.

The corruption in both houses has long and far-reaching tentacles that affect the Nation in many more ways than this article covers. From the total disrespect to and destruction of the image of what the Legislative Assembly should be to the retardation of our national progress by disproportional representation. From the ruthless mismanagement and actual pilfering of public funds to the disregard to public health. From the poorly financed educational system to the utter abandonment of transportation and trade and commerce infrastructure. From the extremely poor and inadequate international representation to the almost nil national security. From our seas and reef to our mountains and valleys.

They all serve as evidence and testimony to our national welfare, good governance and health. They cannot be left to corrupt leaders and reckless abandon. They cannot survive or prosper but can only perish in corrupt hands. They, without counting the cost, must all be nurtured and protected.

The corruption in both houses underlies and threatens the security of the Nation that is fast becoming a haven to local and international criminals, and can spread beyond its borders. This is indeed geopolitically intolerable and will strongly argue for harsh international measures against Belize. Belize is already regarded as a high-risk jurisdiction. We already have international monetary monitoring against us. Investors think twice to invest in Belize. There is a prevailing insecurity and uncertainty about our foreign investment repatriation practices. The governance of the Nation, with all its Ministries, departments, operations and offices, have been shifted from serving the Nation to serving themselves and a select few.

Law and order are all but gone; and political corruption is accepted as normal behaviour although an Act was passed against political corruption in 2007. The country is severely hemorrhaging from perpetual financial litigations. All these put together, can sever us from international financial markets and loans. Corruption must be completely eradicated out of our political culture. The half measures proposed to correct it will only give it more time to become more entrenched and deadlier.

We have reliable records available now that Government officials at the highest level, Ministers and government offices create citizens of dangerous and deadly criminals by illegally providing and issuing them Belizean national documents, such as birth certificates and passports. The serious issue here is that although the Government passed an Act to prevent corruption in Government in 2007, that same Government has taken corruption and crime to the highest heights — so much so that the administration has turned out to be more dangerous and deadlier to our law and order than the most cruel criminals who slashed a Belizean citizen’s throat, cut off his head, travelled with the head in a bucket and burned the body. Yet, when the accused criminals were caught redhanded with the severed head, they were arrested, only to be quickly released. They were later re-arrested.

Another serious act that merits mention is the case of a prisoner halfway across the world in Taiwan. The prisoner has never set foot in Belize, but was illegally issued a Belizean passport. The passport was carried from Belize all the way to Taiwan with the intent to secure the prisoner’s release from prison. No one, to date, has been prosecuted for that offense, although the recall of Representatives Act was passed in 2010.

Those accused of the heinous murder crime have been rounded up and securely removed from the society by imprisoning them. However, the Government officials involved who facilitated the commission of those corrupt acts continue in office, after having naturalized heaven knows how many other criminals before those who came to light and those who may emerge later.

The Nation needs a competent leadership with a different mindset that can expand on what we have already accomplished and proceed immediately into:

1.Establishing a safe and progressive Nation.
2.A Government that encourages, facilitates and enables an entrepreneurial and productive citizenry, industries and employment for its working class.
3.Nurturing educational and professional opportunities for the young, upcoming and future generations.

Only a new election can possibly set the Nation on that path. The present government/administration has miserably and irrevocably failed.

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