Since past behavior is a good gauge of what one will do in the future, it is a near given that when the United Democratic Party (UDP) is booted from office, which will happen at some time, late into election night they will be hollering about how dishonest, corrupt the People’s United Party (PUP) is. The UDP came to power in 2008 hollering about the dishonesty of the PUP, and they have never stopped.
The UDP screams about dishonesty but is itself very dishonest, and the members know it. Most members of the UDP openly acknowledge that there are crooks in Cabinet. The UDP once said of itself that it was above corruption, but now it says that corruption will always be with us, and that they are corrupt because we, the humble people, are corrupt.
Belizeans aren’t happy with the UDP. We see our tranquil haven falling apart, our country now ranking amongst the most murderous nations on the earth. Our murder rate is worse than that of four other countries in 7-nation Central America!
Belizeans see their government muting all the check and balance systems that are essential to honest governance, they see our poverty rate increasing yearly, and oh, they see their political leaders and their families/friends traveling about in spanking new late-model vehicles, and they see their leaders and their families/friends living in houses that rival those in super-rich countries.
The UDP government is good at hollering that they are not as corrupt as the PUP government the people removed because the PUP had become corrupt. The truth is that the corrupt PUP government they refer to came to power in 1998 on a promise that they would “grow the economy,” and they, the UDP, came to power on a promise to restore honesty in government.
Sure, the people expected the 1998-2008 PUP governments to be honest in their handling of the country’s finances and assets, and when they perceived that the PUP had become weak in the knees, they hired the present UDP crowd, who swore that at their core they had the fiber to resist dishonesty. The UDP told us that if we allowed them to take care of our field, we could rest assured that if any criminal gormandizer limbs sprung up, they would immediately be pruned with a special, razor-sharp double-edged machete that their leader stood ready to use.
Whenever the people ask the UDP to address their dishonesty, we get a dose of what the PUP did when they were in government. A top UDP leader was recently accused of accepting bribes from a man who is presently on trial in Utah on a charge of defrauding the US government, and what is the UDP’s response? They tell us that Mr. Ralph Fonseca, a minister in a PUP government we booted out three elections ago, also has an association with the accused. We are supposed to be shocked about such a relationship. No, we would have been shocked if such an association didn’t exist! We booted the PUP from office in 2008, remember?
If one doesn’t have the fortitude to change, one’s past will predict what one will do in the future. It is not impossible that the UDP victories at the polls in three consecutive general elections can be chalked up to the genius of regurgitating these stories of PUP corruption for the purpose of reminding us that they are not a credible alternative.
We can imagine another possibility for their consecutive victories, however, and that is that our people are flat-out frustrated and don’t know what to do next to get the kind of leadership they deserve, the kind of leadership that will make the country better.
A tranquil country inhabited by a prosperous people is a pipe dream where there is no transparency and accountability, where leaders conduct the affairs of government in the dark. Political leaders who don’t like democracy are up to no good. These types pamper their circle, their 570, and pound the hell out of the people.
People’s frustration might more likely be the reason for the UDP’s recent electoral victories than the brilliance they (the UDP) claim, or their lucking into the Petro Caribe and BNE oil.
The Belizean people, hoping that our leaders would get it right, changed governments in four consecutive elections after independence, and then they said, we have switched from pig to man and from man to pig, and we are getting nowhere, so they gave the PUP back-to-back victories.
Two terms for the PUP didn’t work out, and, exhausted with politicians who see leadership as lordship, not servanthood, the people gave the UDP back-to-back-to back victories at the polls. The painful truth is that we really don’t know what to do with those who lead us.
It is incredible that a corrupt political party in government claims fame on the grounds that they are not as corrupt as the party that got removed from office over a decade ago because they weren’t honest in their stewardship of the people’s resources.
We can and do say that the PUP wasn’t honest in their handling of our assets and finances when they were in government, and we call their failure a betrayal, but nowhere on the scale of what the UDP has perpetrated on us. The UDP promised to do something about corruption, and they let us down, badly.
The Prime Minister’s neutrality
As we stitch together this editorial, we don’t know who will be elected as leader of the UDP on Sunday, but if the Prime Minister’s stated neutrality has any say in the matter, then today, Tuesday, Hon. John Saldivar and his fans are still recovering from the afterparty.
We are not about speculating on the reason for the Prime Minister’s choice, not at this time, but we need to call him out for what we believe was a false declaration. Two newcomer candidates, the Prime Minister’s sister, Ms. Denise Barrow, and the Prime Minister’s son, Mr. Jamal “Shyne” Barrow, who is also Hon. Michael Finnegan’s nephew, both walked into uncontested divisions, Denise in Queen’s Square and Jamal in Mesopotamia. Denise showed quiet support for Saldivar by showing up at his convention, and not being present at Faber’s convention, and Jamal showed no “remorse” in doing much mud work for Saldivar’s camp.
P.S. On Sunday afternoon, Hon. John Saldivar was elected leader of the ruling UDP.