Letters — 09 January 2015
“I blame our political class”: Brian Plummer

Dear Editor:

The global system of governance is a reflection of the system of most countries. The United States of America (US), who always criticize countries like North Korea, Cuba and China for human rights abuse, have been found to be wanting in its human rights records. The black community in the US has recorded myriad cases of police brutality (inhumanity). This is clearly human rights abuse by the US. The police are agents of the nation state. It is not only in the US that there are many cases of police brutality in a systematic way; it difficult to find a country in the world that doesn’t have this social ill – just to a varying degree.

The goal of any economy should be to organize resources to provide the greatest degree of wellbeing to its entire population. The evidence of police brutality suggests that has not been the case for countries where this is prevalent, such as in Belize, because it is usually the socially marginalized being brutalized. The elites in a given country influence the political directorate whether in a democracy like the US or an authoritarian state like North Korea.

The many media reports of police brutality indicate that something is systematically wrong. The police are empowered by the political directorate and usually do their bidding, especially in Belize.

In certain countries, search warrants are needed, but in most Caribbean countries (like Belize), no search warrant is needed. The US saw the right of people to be “secure” so vital that they put this right as the 4th Amendment to their constitution, which requires a specific warrant for search and seizure.

Politicians argue that the need for warrants makes the police job more difficult to apprehend criminals, but in most Caribbean countries, including Belize, the conviction rate is low. Obviously the draconian laws are not effective and the more likely reason for them is to suppress a certain segment of society.

The head of the Belmopan police formation, in his televised Christmas message, asserted that the reduction in complaints against the police in his area conceivably helped to reduce crime.

The OECD pressuring less developed countries to enact rigid anti-money laundering act is an international example of a draconian domination that on face value makes sense, but under close scrutiny, will destroy a lot of developing countries’ offshore banking sector, keeping the money in the developed world.

This seems to be the real motive of the international scheme. I see the response of most leaders in the developing world as that the developed countries naturally have the right to make global rules just like they believe they have the right to make laws in their countries. I don’t think the developing world could resist the international domination by developed countries because they use the same system of domination in their countries and accept the state of affairs as inevitable.

A need for search warrant is the first step in limiting the power of the state and hindering abuse: power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Not needing a search warrant is virtually absolute power to search a citizen and encourage the police (or politicians) to be drunk with power and frequently abuse it.

In Belize, police brutality is the most frequent complaint to the Ombudsman, but virtually nothing is done to decrease that; in fact, it seems to be encouraged by our political class. The rough police seem to be promoted quicker than the more community-minded ones.

Personally I don’t wholly blame our police brothers; I blame our political class (whether PUP or UDP) because they enable and condone the abusive behavior by not addressing it aptly. Since I found that police brutality is commonplace throughout the world, I suggest that this is a global system to keep the elites in place by suppressing people who are disadvantaged and most likely a threat to status quo.

To address the fact that our political system has not been able to produce a prosperous and secure life is a move to direct democracy. This will not create a Utopia, but it definitely won’t be abysmal, as is the present state of affairs. A lot of the problems created in Belize are a result of deals made on behalf of the Belizean people without the approval of the people because this is not a requirement of the Westminster system, our present system.

With direct democracy, a system employed by Switzerland, a law can be enacted or rescinded if enough support can be garnered by voters. This is needed because we have a history of leadership that has made many agreements that are harmful to Belize. We are the only nation in the world that has people on their flag; this should mean that people are paramount in Belize. Power must be with the people, not the politicians.

Yours truly,

Brian Plummer

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