The Francis Fonseca-led Opposition PUP claims that this newspaper is biased in favor of the ruling UDP because the Barrow government is giving us so many advertisements. What the PUP is really doing is protecting a ritual waste of government funds which they, the PUP, introduced way back in 1957 with The Belize Times. Many millions of taxpayers’ moneys were wasted with the Price Government of Belize sending advertisements to subsidize The Times from 1957 to 1984.
All that happened when the UDP finally won office in 1984 was that the wasted advertisement moneys were now sent to the UDP newspaper, People’s Pulse or something like that, then when the PUP returned to office in 1989, it was the Belize Times’ turn to eat until 1993, when the UDP won again, and so on and so forth.
Bottom line is, readers do not buy government-run newspapers. These things have to be given away. The fact of the matter is that government-owned newspapers are political propaganda, and they are treated as trash by the Belizean reading public. Nobody buys that stuff. But, as an example, last weekend’s 40 page UDP Guardian contained 21 pages of Government and Government-related advertisements.
The PUP does not attack this foolishness, because they themselves introduced it, and they expect to feed off it when they return to office. You know the old piti-pat business: fu you, fu me …
In the two issues of Amandala published last week, our mid-week issue, which contained 28 pages, received only one page and a quarter of Government-related advertisements, which came from the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH), Belize Electricity Limited (BEL), and the Elections and Boundaries Department.
Our weekend issue, which contained 72 pages, received nine and a quarter pages of Government and Government-related advertisements.
The UDP Guardian, which probably has about a tenth of the circulation of Amandala, is where a bunch of taxpayers’ moneys are spent every week. This game is one which the PUP introduced, and which the PUP and the UDP play among themselves.
The PUP make these charges against Amandala because they do not wish for their members and supporters to read this newspaper. The main thing Francis Fonseca does not wish to be reminded of is that he lost the only leadership convention in which he was involved. Fair enough, one can understand why he would wish for such a fact to be suppressed.
The thing is that the ruling UDP now owns a newspaper, a radio station, and at least one television station in the media capital. All these organs have to be subsidized, because the private sector does not support propaganda unless they are looking for something specific. The PUP should be calling for political parties to come out of the media business, because hundreds of millions have been wasted there since 1957. Instead, what they are doing is waiting their turn. Then, they say, there is no such thing as PUDP. Check the stats.