At his press conference on Monday morning, Belize’s Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dean Barrow, announced the establishment of Belize’s first national bank. It is sensational news for us Belizean nationalists, because it is probably the only way forward where Belize’s domestic economic development is concerned. This is a bold step by our embattled Prime Minister.
Before we proceed, let us say that the only thing we wanted to hear about at that press conference was rosewood, because we are very, very angry about what is happening with rosewood. This is a situation where Belize’s elected politicians are defying and violating the expressed wishes of the Belizean people. Belize’s elected PUDP politicians did this before, repeatedly, with the selling of Belizean passports. And now, they are doing it again. Shame on the Government of Belize. Lord Acton, may he rest in peace, was right.
To the best of our knowledge, this national bank idea was first proposed by the late, brilliant Dr. Leroy Taegar. Since Taegar died a couple years ago, Bill Lindo had taken over the national bank baton. None of these two were given any credit for the idea, however, when Mr. Barrow made his announcement earlier this week. So that, if the national bank concept works, and it almost assuredly will, it is Mr. Barrow who will get the credit for the idea.
There is a lesson here for Belize’s young activists. There is much that is undesirable, sometimes downright abhorrent, about the political world, but, if you really want to do something you believe in, there’s no avoiding the world of politics. In the words of Ghana’s late Kwame Nkrumah: “Seek ye first the political kingdom.” Mr. Barrow had to possess the political power before he could implement such a progressive, almost revolutionary, idea. This is the reality of our parliamentary democracy. Leroy Taegar never acquired political power. From his mind came a powerful idea, but it took the elected politician for the word to become flesh.
Bill Lindo is probably more sinner than saint, but he should have been given some recognition, if only token. But this is not the way how Belize works. The circumstances of the idea’s implementation are such that Lindo may actually feel tempted to criticize it in practice.
The ruling faction of the Opposition PUP has spent several years claiming that Partridge Street cannot criticize P.M. Barrow because we are on his payroll. The journalists and columnists at Kremandala know that this is a laughable claim, because they criticize Mr. Barrow when and how they wish. But, it may be that what Queen Street really wishes for are editorial attacks on the Prime Minister. Wishes, sir, ain’t horses …
In emphasizing the power of the elected politician, we place ourselves, as newspaper publishers, in the category of the activists. Long experience has taught us that the idea is not worth a plugged nickel until it is implemented. And, in the Belizean political system, it is only the elected politician who can implement. This is the reality of our democracy.
On the same day that he introduced the national bank, Mr. Barrow defended his administration’s scandalous rosewood policy. Rosewood has tarnished Mr. Barrow: mayhap he will be redeemed by the national bank. Who knows?
Power to the people.