Editorial — 17 June 2017
The real of the deal

Today we use the term “Machiavellian” to describe leaders who pursue their goals without regard for moral or legal limits. They focus completely on status, always look to their own advantage and use others to their own end.

Psychologists include Machiavellianism as part of the so-called dark triad of personality traits, alongside narcissism, and psychopathy. Psychologist Kibeom Lee of the University of Calgary in Alberta and his colleagues have shown that people who score high in all three of these traits also tend to score low in measures of honesty and humility. These individuals will do almost anything to achieve material wealth and social dominance.

– pg. 53 of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MIND, from an article entitled “Power Moves,” by Theodor Schaarschmidt

In the aftermath of the Citizen Kim passport scandal back there in 2013, there had been an occasion when Belize Prime Minister, the Right Hon. Dean O. Barrow, said publicly to his Cabinet Ministers that if anything could bring down his United Democratic Party (UDP) government, it was immigration irregularities, and he publicly begged his Cabinet Ministers to “stop it!”

The less said about the Senate Committee inquiry performance of former Immigration Minister, Carlos Perdomo, the Caribbean Shores area representative who served as Immigration Minister in the first Barrow administration (2008-2012), the better. These last two Wednesdays in the National Assembly building, Mr. Perdomo has given the nation of Belize reason to understand why Prime Minister Barrow went looking for five Belizeans to bring into Cabinet as Ministers through the Senate for his second term as Prime Minister (2012-2015).

The testimony of Rochelle Chan, the high ranking police officer who was fingered by Alvarine Burgess as the source of the financing for her visa transactions with Hon. Edmond Castro, presently the UDP Minister of Transportation and NEMO, brought the nation of Belize to a critical and dangerous point on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.

With Rochelle Chan flatly denying under oath almost everything Alvarine Burgess had told the Senate Committee under oath, it was necessary for Belizeans to go over what had happened to Alvarine Burgess. On two different occasions over the last two decades plus, we have seen Belizean journalists break huge immigration scandal stories, during the 1993-1998 Esquivel administration and during the 1998-2008 Musa administrations, when it was fairly clear that the United States Embassy here had to be the source of the bulk of their information. If Alvarine Burgess is telling the truth, and it is difficult to conceive of her creating such an elaborate hoax which involves endangering her life by calling out high ranking and powerful Belizeans, then it has to be that United States Embassy personnel were involved in making her “see the light” and “confess her sins.”

If this is so, if the United States Embassy felt that the immigration irregularities in Belize had become so serious that these irregularities were threatening the national security of the United States of America, as was the case in 1995 and 2003, such a situation is critical for us Belizeans to examine closely, because the United States is planet earth’s only superpower, the Americans are our neighbors, and this would mean that Belize is not able to fulfill its regional responsibilities where control of its immigration and nationality documents is concerned.

The Chan testimony reeks of danger because we are minded of the Barton Middleton testimony, when he said that his life had been threatened and that he was outright refusing to answer any more Senate Committee questions. Those who are sympathetic to Mr. Chan can find reason to believe he is being truthful, because he could have chosen to go the Barton Middleton route and refuse to talk, period. But, this is what he chose – almost total denial, under oath. The buck had to stop at Chan, because at a higher place than where he is, or at the place of whoever was funding Alvarine Burgess’s visa assembly line, there are people who are prepared, one has to assume, to do anything, and we mean anything, to protect their identities.

Alvarine Burgess testified that when she was confronted by U.S. Embassy personnel about the visa doings, and she denied everything, the Embassy personnel proceeded to play back recordings of conversations between herself and Minister Castro. This spooked her into confessing everything to them, after which she went public on Channel 5. It is a violation of international law for U.S. Embassy personnel to tape record Belizean citizens in Belize, so it is fairly clear that those U.S. Embassy operatives had reached the stage where they were absolutely desperate to break up the visa ring.

In the 1960s, Sergio Leone, the Italian filmmaker, opened one of his Client Eastwood/Lee Van Cleef Western movies with the dramatic words: “Where life had no value, death sometimes had a price.” For the last quarter century in Belize City, life has been cheap amongst our black youth: they kill each other for peanuts. There is an overview reality here which is overlooked by many, and it is that there is a lot of dirty money in Belize, hundreds and hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars, which creates Belize’s climate of violence. That dirty money comes from drug trafficking, human trafficking, offshore banking, contraband, etc. When you add to Belize’s crazy abundance of dirty money, the fact that there are many thousands of licensed, high-powered rifles and handguns in tiny Belize, you get a sense of how volatile everything is. In the Senate Committee inquiry into the Auditor General’s report on the Immigration Department, Belize’s respectable class is getting an opportunity to see how dirty and dangerous The Jewel really is.

The situation represents a huge dilemma for Belize’s UDP government, and this is especially true for the Maximum Leader, who has always chosen to portray himself as saintly, totally above corruption. When corruption is all around you, after a while the heat, metaphorically speaking, changes corruption’s liquid form into gas, and that gaseous stench rises, reaching up to those above?

Baymen Belizeans like to laugh and say the settlement of Belize began with a pirate mentality, and even now many Belizeans do not have a problem with skullduggery. Well, to repeat, the United States has a problem with Belizean skullduggery in drug trafficking and human trafficking. In the case of drug trafficking, we Belizeans can rationalize and say we are only trying to satisfy the American appetite for narcotics. Because of the 9/11 terrorist catastrophe in 2001, however, the Americans will not tolerate any Belizean rationalization about human trafficking and its terrorist implications. That is the real of the deal.

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