In my last column, I spoke extensively about how rapidly the Government’s ship is sinking. And this, I believe, is undeniably true, as the evidence of such a listing ship is very much pronounced. In previous articles, I have divulged much to explain why I believe that this government is quote unquote, “riding a high horse”. The level of haughtiness and disrespect that is perpetrated on a regular basis is disheartening. The way they talk down to people and insult the common man is most egregious. I also recently noted how very terrible the House’s proceedings are, and how much I cringe when listening to them, to a point where I almost made a decision to stop once and for all.
But then I continued, because the business of the day is very important, and we must at all times keep our eyes open and remain focused. And so I tuned in once again for the budget debate, and there was this one speech. You could hear utter silence, coupled with sheer admiration and respect. It was a groundbreaking and sincere presentation. A speech quite unlike any other we’ve heard in the almost five months of this new administration. And this speech was powerful, monumental. The tone signaled the order of the day. Did you hear this speech? Do you know the speech I am referring to? It’s the speech by the Deputy Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Cordel Hyde, and I reckon, it is a speech that could very well make him Prime Minister.
Ever since this new administration took office, the people of Belize have endured an onslaught of disrespect and being talked down to. Then there was the decision to cut teachers’ and public servants’ salaries and the haughtiness was amped up to unprecedented levels because the unions refused to bow to these people. Then there were the smear campaigns and the disdainful ads that portrayed the unions and their membership as heartless individuals. The unions had no choice but to fire back to clear the air and have the public understand where they were coming from.
This level of newfound arrogance brewed seemingly unabated on the government’s side and continued to spew over, week after week. The populace wondered what the hell was going on? Do they not have any sympathy? Empathy? Understanding? Where has all this pompous attitude packed with pride come from so early on? Was it the power? And so the masses are concerned with the happenings and the carrying on of this new government. How they talked to the people and how they have seemingly lost their ability to reason. It was all befuddling, to say the least.
That was all until Friday, April 23, 2021, when the Deputy Prime Minister of Belize, the Honorable Cordel Hyde, rose to deliver his remarks in the House of Representatives as a part of his budget presentation. He recounted that in the wee hours of the morning, a career public servant messaged him. He said that this career public officer was very much concerned about this proposed salary cut and that she explained that after the cut, coupled with all her recurrent expenditures, she would be left with a mere fifty dollars of her salary, without her having even procured food as yet.
Then, in a most humble, subtle and sincere manner, Hyde went on to promulgate that he could have never thought that his first budget presentation would be “this painful, this heartbreaking — this heart-wrenching,” implying that it bothers him to a great degree the decision that they have to make in relation to the salary cut, and thus setting a tone quite unlike any other of his colleagues. Then, referencing the cuts to the salaries of teachers and public servants, Hyde explained “no government should have to consider taking 80 million dollars out of the salaries of the public officers and teachers in this country, not our beloved teachers and public officers”.
But you see, it was more than just the touching anecdote that drew the people into his speech. It was his open and honest, candid sincerity in presentation and delivery that aroused an admiration of the quality of leadership in him. It was his ability to divert in a sense from his party’s general condescending tone and sentiments that teachers and public servants haven’t sacrificed and that their salaries needed to be cut. It was his sheer ability to empathize with the people, to be understanding of the plight that the people are facing, and to make an effort to console, that made this speech one that is highly revered and one to reckon with.
Nobody wants a cut, probably because they simply cannot afford it, as was so carefully outlined in that testimony in his speech. So when it is that you have to make a most “painful and heart-wrenching” move, it is imperative that you reason with the people and build rapport with them so that your message may resonate. This is clearly an area in which the government on a whole has failed miserably, and they have further provoked ire among the teachers and public servants by continuing to run these phony ads, further turning the people away from them.
Deputy Prime Minister Hyde’s budget speech was certainly an eye-opener and a salient message to the other members on his side of the House. It was a lesson for them to learn, and I trust that they were taking notes. Hyde’s speech resonated with the people and offered a sense of comfort and consolation in a time of grave circumstances, even though many don’t want the cut and many others can’t afford it to even begin with. But his speech was one of those “look to the hills” speech — one that is desperately needed in this time and age. But more so, in a time when we are ardently questioning the leadership of this new government, his speech was a metaphorical “aha moment”. It was a speech that shed light on his great potential to heal open wounds and unite a people for a just cause. This speech by Hon. Cordel Hyde is the speech that could very well make him Prime Minister.
Keep your eyes open.
In Boledo, any number can play.
Unchained Reflections Of A Liberal Pragmatist.