What we are here proposing as safeguards needed to protect a Senate to be elected may be what much older states need urgently as REFORMS. Two of our most powerful institutions, i.e., political parties and the media, will not like the restrictions placed on senatorial candidates. It is obvious that they make loads of money from the exercise of democracy. However, in the long term they will benefit from the blessings of a more progressive society due to less crime and less corruption.
At any rate, it is unthinkable that we should continue along the same beaten, oppressive way. As a nation we perhaps need to grasp this moment and take an historic decision that may well elevate Belize to the status of greatness.
Readers, we take it for granted that the vast majority of our fellow citizens already are in support of the elected Senate. The concern now is what it will look like and what electoral rules we need to put in place to safeguard its independence and integrity.
First, we are optimistic that elderly folk who are retired and are financially independent would be far less tempted to corruption. Therefore, the age of candidacy would be 65 and upwards.
Furthermore, the following provisions must be instituted in the enabling act to establish the Senate: – 1. Candidates shall not be card-carrying members of any political party. 2. All funding will be from public funds; $10,000 will be allotted to a candidate when he or she presents the endorsement of 500 verifiable electors; 3. It will be illegal for any mass medium to publicize more than 2 thousand dollars worth of support for any candidate; 4. It shall be a criminal offence for a candidate to receive funding from any source other than from the designated public treasury; the donor shall also be deemed guilty of an offence; this rule applies to cash and kind; 5. The term of the Senate will be 12 years.
Readers may have their own safeguards in mind. Please express them to the editor.
(Signed) Paul Rodriguez