Beleaguered Belize received its second dose of good news in the last two weeks, following the success of our national football selection in Costa Rica, when negotiations on Friday morning in Belmopan between representatives of the Government of Belize, including the Prime Minister/Minister of Finance, and representatives of the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) and the Public Service Union (PSU), reportedly went well.
We have previously explained to you that the BNTU has proven itself to be an irresistible force, while the Prime Minister, constitutionally speaking, is an immovable object. So then, the ingredients for instability and crisis were in place.
There is a story in the Old Testament where Joseph, a Hebrew who has been sold into captivity in Egypt, is asked to interpret one of the Pharaoh’s dreams. In that dream, seven fat cows had come out of the river and were grazing on the bank side, when seven lean cows came out of the same river and devoured the seven fat cows. Joseph explained that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine in Egypt.
In Belize, we experienced five years of plenty between 1998 and 2003. The years of plenty were a result of a policy of taking on huge loans from financial institutions on Wall Street, which institutions are now demanding their proverbial pound of flesh. Belizeans enjoyed the five years of plenty, to greater or lesser degrees, but by 2004 it had become obvious that there were bills to pay and that Belize could not continue down this road which the ruling politicians were calling “growth economics.” But for the monarchical constitution under which Belize has labored since 1981, the government of growth economics would have fallen in 2005. That government staggered through until 2008, and, truth be said, they made some efforts to mend the errors of their ways.
The Belizean people, nevertheless, did in 2008 what they had wanted to do from 2005. They changed governments. Since then, we have been experiencing lean years. Belizeans have tightened their belts and worked hard to pay the growth economics bills of 1998 to 2003.
If the PUP wish to be returned to office, and it is certain that they do so wish, then they cannot try to convince voters that they want to resume where growth economics left off. The PUP cannot win by suggesting a return to globalization and privatization and neoliberalism.
And yet, the PUP almost won in March of 2012, even though they did not specifically and categorically denounce globalization and privatization and neo-liberalism. The PUP almost won because the UDP is a flawed party whose incompetencies and corruptions have been exposed.
The PUP has gotten away with its neoliberalism by invoking the name of national hero, Rt. Hon. George Price, who helped to found the PUP in 1950 when the party was, without a doubt, a trade-union based organization. The 2013 PUP, however, does not enjoy great credibility with the trade unions. If it did, the negotiations on Friday in Belmopan would not have gone as smoothly as they did. That is the thesis of this newspaper.