74 F
Belize City
Wednesday, December 8, 2021
Home Editorial ?His loyalty is ? to Mr. Ashcroft.?

?His loyalty is ? to Mr. Ashcroft.?

It must be placed on record that in five political administrations since Independence in 1981, no administration has faced public opposition to its policies as many times as the current administration of PM Musa, which began in 2003. It is undeniable that under Mr. Musa, life for Belizeans has become more difficult. As is the case where economies stagnate and the overall quality of life degrades, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

We consider that the strength of any nation lies, roughly speaking, in its middle class ? the professionals and the working population who pay taxes. The evidence so far, for those who study these things, is that the Belizean middle class has become marginalized.

In these times of dwindling financial resources, soaring bills, high prices and a depressed job market, members of the working population begin their slide downwards. Without a job, or with seriously decreased earning power, they join the ranks of the poor.

On Tuesday of this week, BTL employees who refuse to knuckle under to greedy British billionaire Lord Michael Ashcroft?s march to own all of the company, began industrial action; five villages from the north – Corozal and Orange Walk Districts – and their affiliates and sympathizers, will march against their water boards on Friday to protest higher water rates and other grievances, and the nation?s largest union, the Public Service Union, will institute industrial action against GOB beginning next Tuesday. The action is against Government?s decision to freeze public servants? wages, which would have amounted to roughly $9 million. Government then spit on public officers by lending $10 million to Mr. Ashcroft to purchase BTL shares. With the purchase, Ashcroft has returned to control BTL and is now paying shareholders a measly 2.5 cents per share in dividends.

The salient thing about all these manifestations of citizens? discontent is that Mr. Musa is responsible for them all. It is Mr. Musa who has allowed Mr. Ashcroft the power he has to disrespect and punish the PSU, and it is Mr. Musa who has given the BTL shares that the BTL workers want, to Mr. Ashcroft. He also sold the PSU and BNTU?s shares to Prosser without the unions? consent.

His loyalty is unarguably to Mr. Ashcroft ? some feel that he should remove his Prime Ministerial office from Belmopan and move to an office in one of Mr. Ashcroft?s buildings.

It is also Mr. Musa who is responsible for the citizens? confrontation with their water boards. The citizens know this and have said so publicly. The government is broke, and after giving to the rich, Mr. Musa is now trying to balance his budget on the backs of the poor.

We suspect, however, that the Prime Minister is not too worried about all this, or about any charge of corruption in his administration. It may be a case of d?j? vu ? he has passed this way before, many times, and knows that however angry citizens are with his administration, he is protected by our tradition of democracy.

He has, before, expressed his contempt for all these legitimate expressions of discontent thusly: ?It will all blow over like a breeze.?

Mr. Musa is unconcerned, you see, because Belizeans consciously made a decision, from Independence, that we change leaders ?by the ballot, not the bullet.?

We feel that Mr. Musa has taken shelter under this fact, that no matter how disliked and scorned he may have become, he still has the rest of his term ? three years.

In the absence of meaningful checks and balances to bridle mismanagement and corruption, the Prime Minister holds almost absolute power, and we all know that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

When one searches for a solution to the immunity enjoyed by corrupt political administrations, the solutions are not many. Traditionally, a strong Opposition checkmates, most of the time, the tyranny guaranteed by ?democracy,? but the UDP is suspect. We will only say, at this time, that the party is weakened by the perception that a number of its leaders are too ?friendly? with the ruling PUP. The charge has been made publicly, and a denial has yet to be heard.

Some say we need an elected Senate, but to what end? Such a Senate would only be allowed to delay legislation, and not veto it. It may not be simply a ?rubber stamp,? as is currently the case, but the government will have its way.

Perhaps Belizeans need to begin seriously considering a 4-year term of office. The 5- year term enjoyed by many Commonwealth and other nations was to allow politicians a reasonable length of time to implement their plans – four years were considered inadequate.

All that a 5-year term of office has done for Belize politicians, however, is to allow them more time to enrich themselves, their families and their friends, at the cost of the development of the nation.

The United States of America, the world?s greatest superpower, has a 4-year term, and its politicians seem to manage quite nicely. We never hear excuses that ?if they had one more year,? voters would have experienced the benefits of their administration.

This is not to say that a 4-year term guarantees any more honesty from our politicians, but a year less of tyranny, corruption and abuse to a suffering populace is something to be embraced.

There are those, of course, who will dismiss the idea of a 4-year term out of hand. To those, we resurrect the parable of the cat, the mouse and the bell. The cat will not bell itself, and the mouse cannot bell the cat ? our politicians will not enact laws to their detriment, and we, the citizenry, have no power to do so.

Our politicians have grown magnificently wealthy because there are no checks and balances in our political system. Our laws are not made for corrupt politicians. The Prime Minister is all-powerful constitutionally and legally, and no matter how outrageous his actions, our tradition of the ballot envelops him, and Cabinet, protectively.

In a nutshell, the Prime Minister and his Ministers do as they please. All we can do is reduce the time that they can do as they please.

Some call this the growing pains of a young nation, and unavoidable. We prefer to call it institutionalized corruption, and eminently avoidable.

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

GoB appoints Kareem Michael as Central Bank gov

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Dec. 6, 2021-- In what some consider to be an about turn, the PUP selected Kareem Michael, a man some senior...

Minister Habet responds to PSU prez 

BELIZE CITY, Fri. Dec. 3, 2021-- Yesterday, Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, Hon. Orlando Habet, issued a statement through...

From the Publisher

On more than one occasion over the decades, I have told you that there was a period of a few months in 1970, immediately...

Haiti kidnappers release three more missionaries after abduction

Three people who were among a group of US and Canadian missionaries kidnapped by an armed gang in Haiti have been released, according to...