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In solidarity for good governance

Dear Editor,
The following political historical facts can no longer be ignored. Support the unions in their fight for justice, freedom, and good governance. We must stand together to succeed. Solo el pueblo salva al pueblo!

In the early 1970’s the PUP mass party began to become corrupt in government and the new UDP built false rumors to gain popular support, claiming that the PUP would become communist after achieving independence, following Castro’s communist Cuba.

In the 1984 general elections, the UDP presented massive propaganda full of promises to end corruption and the threat of communism and defeated the PUP. In the UDP’s first term of 1984-1989, the UDP also became corrupt and incompetent. In the general elections of 1989-1993, the UDP was defeated by the PUP, who had pledged to end corruption and incompetence and failed. In the general elections of 1993-1998, the UDP made the same commitment to stop corruption and greed. The UDP failed again. In the general elections of 1998-2003, the PUP declared itself the new PUP to reform and stop political corruption by legislating new laws to prevent PUP ministers from bending or breaking any law and ensuring that those who did so faced the consequences in a court of law.

The PUP lied again and corruption skyrocketed instead. In the general elections of 2008-2013, the UDP reinvented its pledge to regain popular support and conveyed its serious commitment to introducing sweeping anti-corruption laws and true democracy, which were to be enforced by the Prime Minister, holding in hand day and night a “double-edged machete to slash the throat of any UDP minister at the first rearing of its ugly head of corruption.” The PM lost this machete to deal with corruption. His number 2 pledge for democracy was also a grand lie. He promised to ensure democracy and good behavior of his UDP ministers, who, if they erred, would be punished and kicked out of government before the end of the 5-year term, and passed into law a fake, unworkable recall mechanism. It never worked. Political corruption skyrocketed under these fake anti-corruption laws.

Since 1984 both the UDP and PUP have each had two straight five-year terms. The PUP became the first to have these two terms and lastly, the UDP had three terms of thirteen years to fulfill their pledges, and neither party ever did. The final results between these alternations for so long between the PUP and the UDP, have been massive foreign debt, increased massive poverty, increased massive unemployment, massive increase in crime, massive suffering, and the massive takeover of our national resources by foreign investors with duty-free tax exemptions and many politicians on both sides becoming super new millionaires. Too sad but real.

Then, in 2016 steps were taken by the valiant and bold first non-political party, the BNTU, the first independent teachers union, that organized and demanded good governance to uproot political corruption and forced the UDP government to accede to some of their demands that yet need to be implemented.

In the 2020 general elections, the PUP won a landslide election with a wide platform to eradicate chronic political corruption with the implementation of UNCAC. It seems that the PUP’s commitment against corruption remains unattainable. Corruption has reared its ugly head under this PUP government. Both PUP and UDP parties have been named criminal organizations in government. All PUDP anti-corruption laws to combat entrenched corruption are ineffective, and are fake laws that were never meant to uproot political corruption as a way of political life in Belize. The current fake UDP recall law needs to be rewritten in a well-defined language to become effective. The only credible organizations that are trustworthy and able to demand good governance and succeed are the trade unions. They are the BNTU, PSU, and APSSM. These organizations, along with the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, are the true patriotic freedom fighters that we must support to rebuild and free Belize from corruption and greed and to form good governance and democracy.

There are two models to choose from — in my view, it is preferable now to forego the strengthening of the UDP unworkable recall system and concentrate on and adopt the least expensive and better effective solution for the two five-year terms. It is a fact that the five-year-long term is a blessing and royal comfort for elected politicians and a too-long hell suffering for the people. It must now come to an end. A new, fair democratic model is the solution.

It is a glaring and irrefutable fact that their corrupt behavior during their past five-year term in office and their ten-year straight terms of both PUP and UDP parties have relentlessly continued the abuse of power and corruption in government. How can they now justify their five-year term again? It is a fact that nothing lasts forever. We now demand a constitutional amendment to the People’s Representation Act, and a repeal of the five-year term so that members in the House of Representatives have a three-year term after the last 2020 general elections that would conclude in 2023, as well as an amalgamation of the three-year term for all elected village council members, town council members, and city council members, to be elected jointly with House members on a date set for the new general elections for 2023 and onwards.

This democratic model shall enforce the good behavior of all elected House members who really want to work for the interest of the people and will ensure a quick return in the next three-year general elections. This model will immensely reduce financial spending by cutting huge expenses on having separate village/town/city elections. It will renew democracy and good governance. Support meaningful change now.

Trade unions are renewing the demands for full implementation of UNCAC and a New Democratic, mandatory recall, to be in place permanently so that elections can be held in which voters can support or reject the government every 30 months or two and a half years (midterm), as well as public consultations via a national referendum with a yes or no vote for government ministers to continue in office or be kicked out and new general elections be held one month later. There is no turning back. Adelante! With these demands.

Sonia Cawich
San Victor

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