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Broom stick and the two-party system

Those who say the electorate should decide whom they want without the Constitution setting any standards for those who run for office couldn’t have given thought to the two-party, first-past-the-post system in Belize. Really, this animal being in existence for as long as most of us know ourselves, we shouldn’t need to go to the archives to find out why we keep churning out leaders who always put party first.

I’m not so negative about the exercise in municipal elections. It’s not impossible that we will have other than the red or blue take charge in a town or city again, but in our present system it won’t ever be a trend. I don’t remember the year, but sometime in the early 1970s, the Corozal United Front (CUF) won in Corozal, but, but that local political party was endorsed by master politician Dean Lindo of the then new UDP. In that election it was no UDP, just PUP vs CUF, and CUF won. When the big election took place in 1974, it was a CUF candidate who represented the UDP in Corozal.

A year after the PUP collapsed at the polls in the 2008 generals, the VIP surpassed them in the municipal elections in Belmopan, but came in a distant second to the UDP. It can happen in a municipal election. There is no never in this world outside of the physical laws, but a hungry haligayta will play kech the bone with a dog before there is anything other than red or blue in the House.

Sirs, madams, it is the PUDP that decides whom we will vote for. We only have two choices, and the color beside their names is red or blue. We know the process. The PUP has an ODS and the UDP has some select group to vet aspirants. They are always card-carrying members of the party, and their philosophy is always, I don’t have to tell you, party first.

There are factions in the two camps, and before the aspirant swears to the party-first creed, they have to be endorsed by one of the camps within the camp. Sometimes there is a little squabble, even a run-off, but that has nothing to do with us. That is about affiliation within the party. Brothers and sisters, we have absolutely no say in who runs for these big parties in the general elections.

In the rivalry within the camps, aspirants come to the fore just for their allegiance – to a camp in the party. Obviously, the most popular dog in the party gets to stamp the most candidates with their brand.

This politics, it is very often not a short-term game. These people sit and plot, and they sleep and plot, and when they wake up, they plot, and the way they choose their candidates is never about us.

No, winning in the immediate is not always the primary concern. The primary concern is control, and then comes the concern about winning. I’ve told you about the 1989 election, when my eyes were opened, when I realized that those bohgaz really think they are gods, and we da lee people.

But let’s jump that election that left a sour taste in my mouth and let me tell you about the time when George Price was in his heyday. Years ago, when the PUP was unbeatable at the polls, the people said that if George Price put a broomstick fu run, it would get elected. If the PUP accepted you, the seat was signed, sealed, and delivered. Would that explain why a number of NIPeez jumped over to Jorge? Ah, Rogers, the Courtenays, the Musas, the Briceños were once all happily red.

That’s the system for you, and in the old days it was really only one horse in the race. Now there are two caballos, it is a two-party system, and if you want to get in the House, it’s going to be by riding under the colors of one or the other.

Paul Morgan, Patrick Rogers, and all the great candidates who have run as third party or independent candidates, have huffed and puffed until their lungs hurt, but none of them have come within a sniff of being elected. But if a broomstick puts on clothes and finds favor with one of the two big camps, they are viable. In a bad swing they are guaranteed 30% of the vote, and in a good swing that broomstick will get upward of 40%, guaranteed.

It’s a bogus scene, the big parties having already done our choosing for us when we go to the polls. Now, considering that, I don’t think we should reject a proposition like the 11th amendment which seeks to ensure that the two candidates we have to choose between have some good standards.

I think the 11th must revisit the bankruptcy situation. What we need to do is set some good laws in that area. A candidate shouldn’t be excluded because they failed at a business venture. Didn’t that Trump go bankrupt a number of times?

Whoa, did someone say that the 11th is about excluding black brothers? Please, tell me no one said that.

Oh my, many UDP suspects must be sweating big time over the 11th. Those suspects are very worried because the Commission of Inquiry that Mr. Martinez broke up is likely to reveal some serious wrongdoing by some of their members when it reconvenes. Ah, legal guilt is so hard to find, Mr. Dean Barrow told us so, but the improved section mightn’t call for a conviction to bar them from running again.

Ouch, if you open your eyes you’d see how awkward it was for Junior Barrow to comment on that tragic incident in Placencia. To be consistent, his message shouldn’t have been about punishment for the shooter, it should have been to tell him to hold his head up because he can rise from this. But let’s leave that at that, fu now.

I’ll have only a small complaint if the 11th blanket says no deported person can be in the House, for the simple reason that the material we are seeking for the House are Belizean-Americans/British who have excelled in finance, medicine, engineering, mathematics, governance, people with the skill sets that build great nations, the kind of people the US and UK roll out red carpet for.

Social partner heroes out to dilly dally

I noh agree wid the suggestion from the social partners in the Senate that there be a constitutional assembly instead of the government introducing the amendments in a way it describes as “piecemeal”. The last time we had one of these massive think tanks, the people got the law against crossing the floor, without any public discussion. Roll them out one by one, so we can kick them about.

Laddie lived with a family who loves children

I hear the grief of Laddie Gillette’s biological family, and I want to tell them, for what it’s worth, that the youth was with a family that loves children. I didn’t know him, but his guardian, Sister Fel Orellano Pommels, was a woman with a big, loving heart.

Both Sister Fel and her sister, Mrs. Nan Orellano Casey, my daughter’s godmother, were my close neighbors. Both women had large families. Miss Nan raised her two children, the seven children of a sister who died in childbirth, and she also had an adopted child. Ditto for Sister Fel. In her yard were four of her children, a goodly number of her grandchildren, and she had an adopted daughter, before Laddie. I can tell you that there wasn’t a boring moment in those yards, and football and softball dominated in the evenings. It is no surprise that Laddie was big into his sports too.

When Sister Fel died, the youth went to live with one of her sons. He is cut from the same cloth.

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