One of the important things to understand about what is going on in Belize presently is that the relative weakness of the constitutional Opposition, the United Democratic Party, created a socio-political vacuum into which various Belizean institutions and organizations were sucked last week ? the business community, the trade unions, the university students, the lumpenproletariat, and so on.
We understand Prime Minister Said Musa?s urgent need for a huge amount of hard cash after the sobering failure of Montevideo?s economic policies, but we believe that he may have erred somewhat in calculating the strength of opposition to his harsh new budget.
As Belize goes to budget on Friday, January 14, there is a great deal of tension in the society, especially in the old capital which is the media center.
Our sense is that there are individuals in power who seriously believe that they have paid for/bought us, the people, in the general elections held on March 5, 2003, and that therefore they have the right to do with us as they will, until the year 2008.
The Christian Workers Union (CWU), in a statement on Monday, January 3, 2005, declared that it ?strongly opposes? the reappointment of the Social Security Board?s Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Narda Garcia.
The union called on the relevant politicians, Prime Minister, Hon. Said Musa, and Minister responsible for Social Security, to ?intervene? in the matter. The Prime Minister, we were assured today, Thursday, wears both hats.
When the Government of Belize pushed through this gambling casino legislation, they explained, or rather they lied, to the Belizean people that the casino was designed to make our tourism industry more attractive. The reality has been that almost no tourists go to the Princess casino. It is almost all Belizeans who contribute to the millions of dollars in profits which the Princess exports each month. This is a damn shame.
Article 2: Aims and Objects
7. To secure the ownership and control of national resources in Belizean hands and to ensure that they are utilized in such a way as to directly benefit the people.
Article 13: Party Funds
2. All monies and property of the Party shall be vested in the name of trustees for and on behalf of the Party appointed by the Central Party Council.
A. Constituency Branch
4. The Secretary General shall furnish to the Treasurer a monthly statement of the Party?s finances.
- from CONSTITUTION AND REGULATIONS OF THE PEOPLE?S UNITED PARTY (1991)
There are some serious financial and socio-political questions in the air as Belizeans enter the Christmas weekend. The questions are so serious that we are in that most rare of times when neither of the two major political parties are lashing out at the Kremandala institution. Both of them, the PUP and the UDP, have reasons, as usual, to criticize Partridge Street, but the masses of the Belizean people are so focused right now that red herrings are not being tolerated.
Corruption in politics is a problem all over the world. Political power and corruption go together, because, to begin with, there are really no laws which govern, or which can be applied to, political campaigning. Once your political campaigning has been successful, when you have gained political power, then, to a large extent, it is only your conscience which can restrain your behaviour on the domestic front. With political power, you have the power of taxation, which is to say, you can legally force other citizens to give you their money to spend. If they prove recalcitrant in any way, you have the power of the courts to coerce them, and if they become rebellious, then you have the police, the army and other security forces at your disposal to discipline the rebels.
The United Democratic Party has lost three of the last four general elections, the last two by enormous margins, and with all the issues since August a political party would have needed to become a fearsome opposition force, we are not getting the impression that they have converted all the fuel they have been given, into real political energy.
We are three weeks away from 2005, and national municipal elections are due in March of 2006. The UDP must win those elections in fifteen months time by a clear margin, or Belizeans will begin to conclude that they are haunted by the ghost of Philip Goldson.
The ruling faction of the ruling People?s United Party chose this Wednesday, December 1, 2004, as the day to ?leak? to Channel 7 an auditor?s report on a voucher scandal inside the Ministry of Education which was taking place in 2001 and 2002.
The irregularities involved six hundred and sixty six thousand, one hundred ninety two dollars ($666,192) of vouchers made out to more than thirteen hundred (1,337) different people who were supposed to be students. Not all of the recipients were registered students. Simple division shows that the average voucher would have been for about five hundred dollars.