Features — 25 April 2018
The moment M of G cannot seize

There is something fascinating to people about the number “three.” Horse race aficionados drool over the trifecta. There is a big bonus, a whopper of a prize, if you can pick the first three places in a horse race, in order. Ball teams feel they have accomplished something special if they win three championships in a row.

If you like baseball and softball, you get all of three strikes before you make an out. If you’re feeling religious, there is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The Christ could have jumped off the cross, but He waited three days.

We know the lengths Dean Barrow (Master of the Games (M of G)) went to, to win three elections in a row. We’ll not discuss how he rolled out the PetroCaribe, like Henry money kud a neva done. We are told that results, bottom line, is what counts in politics. Those results left a sweet taste in the mouths of all things UDP, and a sour one in the mouths of all things PUP. But they, the PUP, can find gratification in the way he is suffering now.

Three-peat in elections is a lot of feathers in anyone’s cap, but that cannot compare with wapping the PUP, the same way, three times in a row. The moment is ripening. It’s all over the local Guardian that the PUP is dropping its pants all over the place.

The UDP said there are challenges for standard bearer for the PUP in Port Loyola and Orange Walk East. We know the story about icebergs. You only see one-tenth of what’s there. You can bet that there are other horses in the PUP who are chomping on the bit to get in the races. As an aside, congratulations to Rodwell Ferguson, the only Area Representative in Belize whom I knew when he was “nobody.” We were both employees of Belize Food Products (I worked there a couple years), back when. I saw it on Facebook. “Rado” was endorsed as a candidate for Stann Creek West for the next general election. Congratulations, Honorable Rodwell.

The PUP are going about their business without fear. They are doing so because for the first time in his three governments, M of G can’t do nada. It is fixed in stone that Belize is going into re-registration, and no one on earth is unscrupulous enough to try to snap an election before that. During the re-registration an election can’t be called. For the next six months at least, the PUP can have in-fighting galore, with no fear of a sudden House dissolution.

The government might even want to extend the process of re-registration, to give us time to recover some from the blow Sedi Elrington has done to a YES vote at the ICJ. The Guardian should please desist from writing that we should vote YES because we are afraid of the Guatemalan army. Of course there’d be no ICJ question if Guatemala wasn’t a bully. But there are a number of other factors in this story.

The OAS sent a Guyanese attorney, Shridath Ramphal, and a US attorney, Paul Reichler, to explain to Guatemala that land is not in this story. If we go to the ICJ, the judges will ask the Guatemalans why they rejected Ramphal/Reichler (2002), after the UN had already told them (1981) to rest their ideas about Sibun to the Sarstoon.
The YES vote must be on principle. Of course we know they have more military might than we have. But if Belize has to, Belize will defend herself.

Yes, the re-registration could last a long, long time. And there’s no chance for the man who loves to call it, to call it. He’ll just have to grin and bear it. Those of us who are not bone UDP, that’s the PUP and others, will enjoy the squirming. You know what it’s like when your mommy made a cake topped with caramel icing, and you couldn’t take a pinch because she hadn’t cut it. Agony.

In these next few months, while they wrangle out their future, the PUP will be there for the taking, just like they were in 2012 and 2015. And Barrow can’t du nada. He’ll be wearing his fingers to blisters, with the twiddling. Of course the 3-peat was nice. But three in a row the same way would be sweeter.

True, M of G will not be running as Leader of the UDP again. But it’s his party and PUP pants will be hanging loose. You bet he’d like to call an election and wap them bohgaz again. Perish the thought. A re-registration quiki is out of the question. Thanks to Sedi.

Litigation risk not an issue at ICJ

One of the arguments out there that is against going to the ICJ, is a matter called “litigation risk.” This is a fallacious argument at the level of the ICJ.

In a court there are several components: the judge (jury), the prosecution, the defense, and the evidence introduced. All these components come together to produce justice for a case, under the law. (I’m no lawyer, but we all know the basics)

The law is fixed. There are situations where law does not address the matter at hand, and precedents are introduced. The precedent then becomes law. There are countries where the judge is under the control of the government. There is no justice in such countries. The prosecution can be lackadaisical; the defense can be incompetent. The evidence gathering can be deficient. We have seen in Belize where some people are afraid to tell their story in court. There can be no justice, under the law, in such situations.

A lawyer should know what evidence is admissible in court, and what isn’t. There are grey areas. These are matters over which the lawyer has no control. The lawyer should explain to his/her client the percentages, the chances for them, the litigation risk.

Some people say, oh, the US favors Guatemala over Belize. This MAY be so. America does do much more business with Guatemala than it does with Belize, etc. A judge on the court will be from the USA. He might be a biased s-o-b. What of it? There are fourteen other judges.

The ICJ functions under the United Nations, not the USA. That’s why the USA did not go against Nicaragua at that court (1986). The US knew it was doing wrong (supporting the overthrow of the Nicaraguan government and mining Nicaragua’s waters), and that she would lose. They lost. It is irrelevant that the US has ignored the ICJ decision in favor of Nicaragua because, one, the US did not defend its case and, two, nobody in this world tells the USA what to do, especially in this part of the world. They are the only one in the Americas that has the bomb. And they’ve shown that they don’t mind using it.

If/when Belize goes to the ICJ, it will be a matter of law. You bet that the one hundred plus countries that supported Belize at the UN, put their legal people to study the 1859 Treaty before they did so. The United Nations looked at Guatemala’s claim before it declared that Belize become an independent nation in 1981. Somehow the Guatemalan oligarchy didn’t understand that their claim on Belize’s land was over.

P.S. Paul Reichler, of Ramphal/Reichler fame, was huge for the Nicaraguan team at the ICJ. (That information taken from a story in the New York Times online)

I wouldn’t go there

I think our AG was a little off page when he checked the US for their affinity for marijuana and cocaine (and other drugs), after the US government charged that cocaine and marijuana are being shipped through Belize and we are not doing much to stop it. America might not be very fair when she makes such heavy accusations against us. But two wrongs don’t make a right. The Americans are less wrong, because they are defending their turf.

If a youth in your family is getting too close to weed and you, the good parent, are trying to save this person from this poison, you would be very unhappy if your neighbor encouraged the drug dealer to visit at his house next door. The relationship between an adult and its national government is very like the relationship between a parent and a child. The government and the parent are protective. The nation might be wrong in its policies, but it has a right to its decisions.

Everyone knows about America’s problems with drug use. We oughtn’t to tell them about their addiction. We are to tell them how hard we try, and how they can help us to be more effective.

We must, as a sincere neighbor, tell America how she can help us to stop the transshipment of drugs through our country. Imposing their drug policy on us isn’t helping their cause. Imposing their version of capitalism on us isn’t helping their cause. America using too much “big stick” isn’t helping their cause.

Interception of drug shipments will be more effective if the people south of the Rio Grande are eating better. America needs to help us with equipment and technology so we can make our young people more productive, so they don’t have to get in the drug trade to make a living.

Unfair to call them “cowardly”

Our AG’s insistence on using the term “cowardly” to describe the US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, is troubling. He is a talented guy, he’s got his intelligence and his wit. He’s got bravado and he likes to flex in public. On the local scene, letting your ego run is usually not a great problem.

The UDP called the present AG to be the Speaker of the House in 2012 after the general election. We all remember that election. The UDP won a squeaker, and some PUPeez believed that the UDP had bought, and stole, the election. There were all the ingredients for trouble. As Speaker of the House he could bluster, cajole, run the gamut, do all he wanted/needed to do to get his job done. As AG, when he speaks on international matters, he is representing all of us, so he has to be circumspect.

Recently, the United States demanded that we capitulate and vote at the UN in support of its decision to make Jerusalem the capital of Israel. This put Belize in a very difficult spot.

Belize can’t support modern Israel in its mad, cruel land grab from the Palestinians. The world sympathizes with modern Israel for what happened in Nazi Germany, but that doesn’t give them license to do unto Palestine what was done to them. The world sees through modern Israel’s propaganda. The vast majority of members of the United Nations are against modern Israel’s land grab.

It is fortunate that the UK, the leader of the Commonwealth of Nations, a body to which Belize belongs, also disagreed with the US on this position. The US and the UK are allies. We really wouldn’t want to appear to be “in the face” of the leader of this side of the world. And we are on such friendly terms with the people of their country. The present US government is out of step with US governments before it.

In the story I read in the Amandala (page 1 of issue #3172), by Courtney Menzies, the US Narcotics people say that Belize’s efforts in the fight against the transshipment of drugs is obstructed by “insufficient resources, weak law enforcement institutions, an ineffective judicial system, and inadequate compensation for civil service employees and public safety officials” —all of which “facilitate corruption.”

In response, the AG says that Belize is doing its best, and “if the US knows the identity of those persons bringing the drugs to Belize, they should let law enforcement know so that the perpetrator(s) can be arrested.”

“Cowardly” has two meanings, one, not brave, and two, chaansi. Many Belizeans don’t believe the US is unfair with its pronouncements. To call them chaansi (cowardly) over their pronouncements is just way out there.

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Deshawn Swasey

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