Features — 10 January 2018 — by Colin Hyde
PUP wrong; PUP right

The UDP is clearly in the right when they said in the House on Friday that the PUP was wrong to declare that BTL getting a sovereign guarantee for a loan the company was getting from Taiwan, was similar to the PUP providing a sovereign guarantee for a private group of investors (UHS) so they could get a loan from the Belize Bank.

The UHS, before it all went wrong, was a privately owned hospital. The government had encouraged, blessed the investment of the group. The observable details in brief are that the PUP government, brilliantly, saw that Belize could use more sophisticated medical care; that Belize could make a lot of savings if we provided this type of care; and that Belize could, maybe, attract rich patients from abroad who could afford specialist care. The government that engineered the UHS “saw” the NHI coming on stream, a guaranteed source of revenue for the group at the UHS.

Not so brilliantly, or corruptly, the government had handpicked people to do the job and reap the fantastic rewards. Not so luckily, the government ran the DFC, the main source of financing for the group, broke. They couldn’t find soft funds from elsewhere to funnel to their UHS friends, so they went to a commercial bank. The bank didn’t trust, and demanded a sovereign guarantee.

The BTL is a private company that is mostly owned by the Belizean people. In a just Belize, this would be a company that is run like a private company, and the benefits would be for all. Unfortunately, we are not living in a just country. And this is why the PUP, which is wrong to equate a sovereign guarantee to BTL with a sovereign guarantee to UHS, is right in, yes, equating a sovereign guarantee to BTL with a sovereign guarantee to UHS.

Where the PUP is right, and the UDP wrong, has to do with the real of the game playing out on the ground. Effectively, this is a game of six of one and half a dozen of the other. Neri Briceño wrote about the real deal of public companies, how they always, always sink into corruption, cronyism. Sadly, that is the game being played out on the ground in Belize.

The objective of the company (BTL) looks good, but the real of the 35-million-dollar investment is that merit will not determine how it is spent. The UHS was very much a selection process. The BTL investment will also be a selection process. In both instances, the people’s money is squandered, directed into the maws of voracious party hacks.

Belizeans understand that a new government will, in its first year or so, show some special kindness to party stalwarts. What Belizeans don’t accept and cannot afford, is that ten years later their government still avoids the merit game like it is the cholera or the yellow fever.

Ten years later (after 2008), the UDP is still living la vida Mark King – UDP first, every time. Nothing has changed from day one UDP here. Remember when Minister Faber said Belizeans complained about being lied to, so he couldn’t understand why they complained when he told them the truth, that yes, they (the UDP) were not ashamed to admit they were ready and eager to take away any job held by a PUP and give it to a UDP? Charlie Good isn’t here anymore, but the records remain.

When we elected the UDP we expected, demanded that certain fat cat PUPeez on contract with the government, fat cats who were raping the system, fat cats who weren’t absolutely providing specialist services only they were capable of providing, were ousted. But we never expected that the cold UDP hand would reach all the way into the ranks of school wardens. This type of politics is sick and it must be stomped down.

In 2018, the people have had it with the vida the UDP is playing out in our country. We used to think they were the honest party. Really, they just know how to slip a lie under the truth. With the PUP, cronies get involved with projects funded with public dollars. With the UDP, cronies cream off projects funded with public dollars. Say it – six a one an half a dozen of the other.

If you follow the line of a few Christians, a select few that is made up mostly of those Christians who are sold on the business side of religion (people like TD Jakes and Joel Osteen, the mega millionaires of religion), Abou ben Adhem is bound for the burning hell. Now, any human being who claims the authority to condemn another’s soul has to be a little crazy.

In James Leigh Hunt’s immortal poem, one night Abou ben Adhem sees “An angel writing in a book of gold”, and he asks what the angel is writing and he is told “The names of those who love the Lord.” Abou asks, “… Is mine one?” and is told, no; so Abou says, “I pray thee, then, Write me as one that loves his fellow men.” The next night the angel comes and in the book shows “the names whom love of God had blessed”, and when Abou looks he sees that his “name led all the rest.”

A philosopher friend who used to mentor me, advised me thusly. He said: Whenever you read the gospels, listen for when Christ is speaking as God, and when he is speaking as man. For me, I still can’t make such differentiation. But I learned to appreciate Christ more for His spiritual beauty, and not as a man wielding a hammer.

In John 14:6, Christ said these words so much used to murder non-believers, condemn the immortal souls of non-Christians to hell (only Jews escape), and make mega rich pastors. Christ said, in John 14:6, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. The literal interpretation of that is everyone else be damned.
It is important to see the full context of this statement. No, Jesus didn’t make it in isolation. There’s a lot of things Jesus said at the beginning of His ministry to make the world know that He was special. In John 6:51 He said: I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever. But it was not until John 14:6 that He brought down the full weight of the hammer.

The Last Supper, the beginning of the end of Jesus’ days on earth, had begun. The Jewish leaders not only hated His mission, they accused Him of bringing heat from the Romans on the Jewish people – John 11:48, If we let him thus alone, all men will believe in him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

Now, He was going to be reviled, scourged, and put to death. And His apostles, those who had to carry on, were scattering. Judas had sold Him out for 30 pieces of silver. Peter would deny Him three times. Yes, He saw that they were weakening. And the message of salvation was too important to lose. John 14:6 was to give His core followers the strength so they could survive the pressure from the Jewish leaders in the days to come.

It is just impossible to think that the Jesus who chose fisher folk to be His apostles, embraced Zaccheus the rich tax collector (remember it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get a pass at the gates) and Mary Magdalene the prostitute, it is just impossible to think that He could find no more worth in Abou than that of a beast of the field.

The rehabilitated Paul of Tarsus said that a man is saved by grace, not by his works. But as is obvious to the world, the two are inseparable. A man filled with grace cannot help doing good works. A man who does good works has to be filled with grace.

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Deshawn Swasey

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