“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and prescribing the wrong remedy.” Ernest Benn
On 11/1, in the most event-filled year that we have had in a long time, 2020, we went to the polls. It resulted in what many are calling a landslide victory for the People’s United Party, and based on the maps being produced by those who covered our general elections from at home and abroad, it’s an assertion I agree with. Juan Antonio Briceno will now be leading a Lower House majority of 26 as opposed to what has been coined the ‘Faber 5.’ A win that large, which occurred with a voter turnout of just over 80 percent, deserves a firm handshake of congratulations, and so I offer that to the newly formed Government of Belize. A government that has to now cease the motorcade celebrations and hit the ground running, guided by its policy directions and a manifesto. A government that must hustle to redeem itself from its old dusty blue Pataki of ‘The Old PUP.’
The #planBelize manifesto is one that offers radical paradigms, one that is progressive in its outlay, and multidimensional in its approach to the issues that have plagued a post-independent Belize. It sets forth a covenant of respect for the intrinsic value of land resources, and expresses an understanding of the pivotal importance of youth mainstreaming and development as an investment. It also proposes an increase in the minimum wage to $5 an hour. I encourage every Belizean to visit the website and have a read of the document — if not the whole document, look at the thematic areas that most interest you.
While this win presents itself to be most refreshing, and is a signal to the former incumbent party to work on internal healing, or maybe a vote of confidence in the collective of the PUP, it is not one that ended when polls closed. We have to keep our Sankey of good governance roaring, keep our urge for accountability afire, and keep our intolerance for mismanagement and financial fleecing on the top of our list of deal-breakers. Some say we are no longer Under Di Presha (UDP) of trenches and tranches, but are committed to civic participation to ensure that in the next ten years when an unfortunate shock hits us we are not as vulnerable as we were when this invisible enemy stormed our shores. While our recovery may be rife with difficult decisions and unimaginable sacrifice, we the Belizean people, must not abstain from that responsibility and ever- waiting date with destiny.
I’ll end on a tangent line, stating that there is a deeper conversation to be had in the Belizean context about Garrison constituencies, about the role of race and ethnicity in electoral politics, about women in political office and the dark side of corporate philanthropy. Our unwillingness to collectively reconcile with these undercurrents that have shaped our nation will not serve us well. Dystopia, poetic balkanization and dissonance cannot be the Belizean way.