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Paul of Belize says: Time for Reform

January 1, 2020– Belize it is time for REFORM. Whether the Blue or the Red bring it to realization is inconsequential to me. It must come to pass, if we are to become the real jewel that we can be. It will begin with truth and honesty – not deceit and trickery.

On 10th November, 2019, an aspiring prime minister declared in a REPORTER article that there is “plenty corruption.” Was he being naïve, disingenuous or both? Was this his opening salvo to commence a campaign of demonization that will end with the damnable conclusion that he represents the lesser of the evils? No! No! No! There is not where Belize must go. Let us go to where our constitution in its Preamble would take us to. By the way, Minister, be careful of who takes your photos and when and where. I give this free advice also to your rival.

Let us come together to sincerely consider where we are and who we are. Are we really a people, a nation, or are we just a conglomeration of different peoples existing in the same geographical area called Belize?

Why do our leaders not live in the constituency that they represent? The Father of the Nation never changed his address at Pickstock Street. He suffered an untimely death from injuries sustained from a fall on the street as he was making his way to mass early in the morning. But he also fell in his own bathtub at home.

What a blessing it would be if our leaders would regain that spirit of feeling safe anywhere in Belize. After the last election our present Prime Minister informed us that he had won without setting foot anywhere in his voter plantation.

Do any of them ever invite their Driver to have breakfast at his table in his home in his division? Let us return to the spirit of that time when campaigners were treated as real friends who had free access to the leaders and were not greeted by a guard at the gate instructing them to see him at his office.

We are aware that these are reportedly different times: our murder rate is one of the highest in the world. Our poverty is fifty (50) percent. Our national debt is over four (4) billion. Our children are not being nurtured in stable two parent homes committed to family and civilizational values. F…..g is our most popular national adjective – even for primary school children! There is plenty anger. Too much hate! Envy is a favourite pastime.

Reform! Reform! Reform is needed – not just any change. To accomplish reform, we must reject the spirit of partisanship, for it must be sought by every shade of political opinion. Let us not hear anywhere throughout Belize “all the way” or “down the line.” Instead, let us start to hear “one for all, and all for one.” Is it possible for us to take this truly gigantic step from self-absorption to embrace the concept and reality of “the COMMON GOOD”? Or, are we going to continue to support leaders who declare “winning is the only thing.” NO!!! In the best democracy the COMMON GOOD includes everybody’s interest and is the true meaning of democracy.

How do we bring about this transformation?

It starts at home. I am no expert, and so I suggest that home training must include simple practices showing manners and respect. And, let me move on.

For those who wish to pursue a career in public leadership it must include a tertiary level course in the Preamble to the Belize Constitution. And this should be a requirement for seeking membership in the House of Representatives. These principles of the Preamble are the seedbed from which the highest and best democratic ideas have sprung. They are the real source of human rights; respect for social justice and the common good; the will of the people expressed in voting as the basis for government; respect for moral and spiritual values as the foundation of freedom; and policies of state which are concrete expressions of the principles enunciated by the Preamble.

No one should be allowed to run for the House who has not studied the Preamble. From serious reflection upon the Preamble it should become obvious to all that political life should be about serving the people and not about personal enrichment. Would it be wise to limit the number of terms a citizen may serve??? Three terms may last twelve or fifteen years, and a person may be in his early forties, or younger, then what shall become of him, since corruption shall have been ruled out of his behaviour. On the other hand, a person with the experience of service at the highest levels may move into private affairs with significant ease. At the same time it must be reasonable that one who has respected the principles of the common good is entitled to be provided for by those same rules.

Returning to the topic of CORRUPTION, may we return to a serious consideration of what to do about it? We must re-arrange our constitution to make it very difficult to be corrupt. But we will start by making the new rules palatable if we do something like this. Let there be a proclamation from the highest levels of power that any corruption taking place before a certain date be hereby fully pardoned. Thereafter an elected Senate fully empowered by new constitutional arrangements will provide the antidotes to corrupt behaviour. Of course, our naiveté does not include the expectation that any or all provisions devised by man can be fool proof. To the end of time man’s imagination will seek out and find the nooks and crannies where greed may assert itself and pull off a fast one. Obviously, there is no perfection in this life. But what we are obliged to do is to exert our best effort.

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