by Khaila Gentle
BELIZE CITY, Tues. July 26, 2022 Political clientelism—or the act of exchanging political support for resources or favors—is the topic of discussion in former ambassador Dr. Dylan Vernon’s new book, titled Political Clientelism and Democracy in Belize: From My Hand to Yours. The book, which was published by the University of the West Indies Press (UWI Press), tackles an issue that is quite prevalent in Belize.
According to UWI Press, Dr. Vernon revisits the nation’s modern political history, starting from 1954 through to 2013, and presents it as “an illustrative and critical case of rampant and damaging political clientelism” that persists throughout the Commonwealth Caribbean.
According to activist and historian Assad Shoman, the book is the first comprehensive study in decades on the negative effects of political clientelism on politics and the damage it does to the social democratic goals of freedom, justice and equality. The book also looks at how political clientelism can be controlled both in Belize and similar Caribbean states.
“Many politicians use public and private resources to meet some need of enough voters that they will vote for them and put them in power, put the party in power. The political game is that if you can do this with just enough voters to win power, that’s all that matters,” explained Dr. Harold Young, who reviewed Dr. Vernon’s book at the launch ceremony and panel
discussion held on Tuesday at the UWI Open Campus on Princess Margaret Drive.
Former senator Osmany Salas, who also gave a review of the book during its launch ceremony, has described it as “a riveting read” and one that is essential for the political science student, aspiring and current politicians, and anyone who wants to see a significant improvement in the way Belize is governed.
Political Clientelism and Democracy in Belize: From My Hand to Yours is currently on sale at a discounted price of $70 from now until August. It can be purchased online at Amazon.com as well as at the UWI Open Campus.