Features — 25 November 2017 — by Colin Hyde
UDP spent: PUP must step up

Most everyone knows that this UDP is spent. It happens in every life. Properly, we should keep our pataki with our belongings, by the door. Stubbornness is a quality not even prized in mules. We should be ready at all times, to leave.

There are two recent aberrations on our political scene – 2012, when the PUP shouldn’t have come close; and 2015, when the UDP shouldn’t have won.

There are people in the PUP who really think that their near miss in 2012 indicated that their 1998-2008 regime was on the right path. They couldn’t be more wrong. The PUP came close in 2012 because the UDP, the “Our Turn” party, really messed up badly. It is a fact that national coffers weren’t exactly bursting with cash when they took over. But the bigger story is that they were way too busy hating.

The PUP near miss in 2012 hurt them in 2015. No way under the sun a UDP that had squandered our PetroCaribe funds on cement projects should have won again. It is astounding, this fascination with First World type infrastructure. Some of those things could have been built with bags filled with clay, or big stones. It is pretty clear that some people are living in a world vastly different from the one inhabited by the masses. On the George Price Highway they squandered the reflectors. Where they put three, one would have sufficed. Now the glitter is gone from the highway and they have no reflectors to replace the ones that have gone dim, or broke up.

One wonders what new monuments our UDP envisages for when they come back to power. It is pretty clear this party thinks long and hard about these things. In 1984 we got the Ramada Princess. In 1993 we got Central Bank. UDP present has a lot of First World stadiums and round-abouts. But there’s been near ZERO investment in the athletes, and not enough money for gas to drive around the splendid fountain.

It was important that the UDP apologize for 1993-98. The UDP’s Finnegan made sure to do that. That’s why some people refer to him as a master politician. Forget that his plaque from the Belizean people won’t amount to much. There’s been some entertainment. And there is his euphemism. But his plaque from the UDP will have a gold frame. It is so that at times this nation desperately needed the UDP, and Finnegan rose to the occasion then, helped to oust the PUP. If you look at things through that lens, you can appreciate that vital contribution.

There must be some good things about the 93-98 UDP reign. If you ask me, all I can think of is the fact that they did not hand over majority control of BTL and BEL to private hands. Of course, that was no small mercy. There must have been other good deeds. A man like Henry Gordon should be able to talk about the bones in that there sepulchre that aren’t full of rot.

The PUP 1998-2008 has yet to apologize. Correction. The pure capitalists in the PUP are yet to apologize. I suppose that there are people in that party who hold firmly that they were on the right track. Home building and NHI and UB were worthy achievements. But their track was unsustainable, and there were stories about major corruption. I would advise PUP believers (98-03) to talk with Said Musa, seriously. I’ve explained in these pages before, the reason why I didn’t vote in the 2003 election. I felt the UDP deserved to sit out a second term, and I felt the PUP didn’t deserve another. Die-hard PUPeez should get hold of Said Musa’s victory speech after the 2003 election. He knew that there were people in his party who were running amok. And he knew his gamble had lost. Check out his speech.

UDP (08-19) has gone past its time. PM Barrow deserves respect for revamping his Cabinet with appointees in 2012. Lo, the one whom Barrow’s loose mouthpieces at Wave had maligned became his cornerstone! I was so proud of Corner Stone Godwin, well, for the parts of the Senate hearing I was able to catch. But I thought he begged for that uppercut Senator Lizarraga landed on his chin. That was no jab, folk. Then I was reminded by my brother, Chilor, that Godwin sits in the Cabinet as an unelected. So, maybe Markhelm shouldn’t have hit him so hard.

Yes, he should have resigned a while back. But yes, maybe it is that he must continue to serve a government that allowed him the opportunity to try and implement some of the ideas he has touted for so long. Bah, that man is too smart to get elected.

It’s hard for people like me to understand how people who have had ten long years in government, how they can get so angry, even downright nasty, when they are told it’s time to go. You expect greedy people to resist the idea of an end to the engorgement. But they should be classy about it.

There’s a lot of reasons why the UDP has to go. They really have become the enemy they so despised. They absolutely compounded the PUPeez felonies. The biggest reason is that this UDP has fallen too deeply in love with power. That’s all I’ll say on that.

For the UDP to be shown the door, the PUP has to step up. My, when these political parties are out of power, they are so pathetically weak. There’s still too much drag with the PUP right now. There seems to be a beef between the hard capitalists in the PUP and their present leader. I could speculate. I won’t. I’ll just say it’s a wonder how much difficulty some adults have with letting go of spilt milk. The real is, whatever the problem, the boat has sailed. For love of country, some people have to get over their personals. Belize first; Belize second; Belize third.

The UDP has some things to do for us before they hand over the ship. Over the rest of their term they must work double time to strengthen the system so that a new government isn’t tempted to do wrong things. Belize absolutely must put an end to this “our turn” game. The next thing they have to do is try to curb their lust to victimize. That vice leads to hatred. For once, we want a party to go into the night without the people despising them to their very core.

Johnny’ll have to do
I remember telling UDP friends in Belmopan about this worry I had about Dean Barrow as leader (2008), re-him being Ashcroft’s lawyer. I don’t have any problem with the pure capitalist, Ashcroft. Belize Bank does what it wants. I give him one hundred per cent support for any legitimate, wholesome business he sets up in Belize. He shouldn’t have been allowed majority control of BTL.

My UDP friends told me that Barrow’s business relationship with Ashcroft would not stop him from doing the right thing in respect to BTL. They said that the money he made working for Ashcroft was being used to help fund the UDP campaign. I didn’t buy that. There’s people who say that all’s fair in love and war. I don’t roll that way.

Anyway, until we introduce the Alternative Vote (AV) (which is somewhere between First Past the Post (FPTP) and Proportional Representation (PR)), or Proportional Representation, there’s really only two parties in town. I remember thinking, Dean’ll have to do, bikaaz dis ya PUP haffu goh.

The sense I get of this John Briceño, is that he’s got some pure capitalist in his veins. It’s pretty clear he isn’t capitalist enough for some members of his party. There are some people who believe heart and soul in the PUP 1998-2008 philosophy. I listen to Troy Gabb and Darrell Carter on Love FM Monday, sometimes. These guys come over that way. They are not alone in that party.

Said was tried in the public court and found not to be fully on the up and up. Okay, Fort George has stood by him. For me, I found him guilty of bad luck, pure capitalism – and keeping company with people who felt they were smart, and because they were smart they were “entitled.”

On this up-and-up part, there’s one person who l’d like to ask about that. That’s Said’s buddy, Assad. But he won’t talk. He told us as much when he shared the story about the young man whose father was hiding in the attic when the bad man at the door asked him where his father was. When you look at that test, you realize that’s no fair measure ataal. What kind of boy would hand over his father to a bad man who’s playing judge and jury? If you want to test honesty the practical question is: The rent collector is at the door, and dad is hiding in the attic. If Sandra Coye was posing this question she might add that father in the attic was also drunk, after squandering his pay check at the neighbourhood bar.

(Uh-uh, heard the news about the CCJ ruling on the UHS on the 10:00 o’clock news last night (Wednesday). It is not good. Keeping it in the political vein, it would have been better for Mr. Musa to keep quiet about the verdict. Sometimes it is best to leave bad enough alone. I absolutely agree with him that the Barrow government should have settled with Ashcroft and the Belize Bank a long time ago. I totally disagree with him that this verdict gives him some sort of vindication. From the outside looking in, this UHS deal began with insider trading (information), and ended with a nation being used to settle a private debt.)

Anyway, Johnny Briceño gives me the same vibes that Dean Barrow did. But in this two-party town, he’ll have to do. Yep, he’ll have to do because this UDP is spiralling toward a place we don’t want to be.

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