Sunday, February 4, 2024
I was watching a meeting of parliament last week, and the cold reality of how the mighty have fallen was so glaringly obvious that it surprised even me, who thought nothing could surprise me anymore. There they were, 2 members of the opposition, seated across from an array of members of the ruling party. Even if you believe that the people’s decision in the last general elections were just, it was still so sad to see what the results of squandering the goodwill of the country ends up looking like. It seemed as though they were prisoners in the dock, being judged by a very skeptical jury. Shyne, who is still feeling his way as a politician and leader of the opposition, was playing checkers while his opponents were playing chess. I felt sorry for him, for his humbling and humiliation, although I’m sure he wouldn’t see it that way. That’s the thing about power, you fool yourself into thinking you are Churchillian when you are not.
How does one explain away such a dramatic fall from grace of a once, not too long ago, mighty political organization? Sure, corruption was an issue. But where in the world isn’t corruption an issue, no matter the government? Is it that they didn’t fulfill the expectations of the voters? Maybe, but that doesn’t explain the dramatic and drastic devolution of the UDP! Is it that they were in power too long, that maybe it was turning into a monarchy, like Mugabe tried to pull off in Zimbabwe? All these are good reasons for citizens to want change, to vote the bums out, so to speak.
But I believe that the straw that broke the camel’s back was the arrogance, in the way they governed, in the way they treated their constituents, in the way they treated the treasury as their personal purse. The arrogance from the top that trickled down to the lowest office holders in that administration. I give our current PM grief because he exhibits that same arrogance sometimes. In the way he speaks of his countrymen, maybe he doesn’t realize it or maybe sometimes he just speaks his mind, a no-no when you’re dealing with an electorate. You have to be more diplomatic.
This PUP administration is slowly slouching towards that cardinal sin of arrogance; I just made it a cardinal sin. But when you look at what I saw last Friday in the House, that huge disparity in numbers, you can become careless and start believing in your own invincibility.
I will always put country before party; I will never be a zealot. I want this current government to succeed because it is good for the country, not for any one person or party. I want them to make every Belizean feel like they matter, that they feel protected, secure in their country. This current government has to look at recent history and recognize that arrogance has no place in governing, and that it is the easiest way to lose the confidence and support of the citizens!