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Up until 1984, Mr. Musa was considered a populist, even revolutionary, political thinker, because of his close relationship with the expressly radical Assad Shoman.

The names Shoman and Musa had been inseparably linked since 1969. But the defeats of 1983 and 1984, it now appears, changed some things. Mr. Musa returned to his law practice after the 1984 general elections, and Mr. Shoman exited electoral politics, dedicating himself to the well-financed, supposedly revolutionary, Society for the Promotion of Education And Research (SPEAR).

It is important to remember that when the UDP won their landslide 21?7 national election victory of 1984, it was generally thought that the PUP was dead. For sure, the PUP was badly divided. Sylvestre, who had defended his Belize Rural South seat, and Fred Hunter, who had lost his Belize Rural North seat, departed together. When he wanted to savor the nostalgia of the glory days, PUP Leader George Price, who had lost his Freetown seat to Derek Aikman in a sensational 1984 upset, had to have his driver take him all the way to Corozal, where Florencio Marin and Valdemar Castillo had won two of the PUP?s seven seats, and there, in the villages of Corozal, Mr. Price was still ?El Primer Ministro.?

At this newspaper we have given a lot of credit for the revival of the PUP, beginning in say 1988, to Glenn Godfrey and Ralph Fonseca.

There were people like Jose Coye who were reportedly also key players in the PUP revival, but we never got the sense that Said Musa?s energy level in 1988 and 1989 was at the level where it had been from 1969 until 1984.

The restructured PUP won a narrow victory over the UDP in September of 1989. The final score was so close, 15?13, that the new administration then changed the number of seats in the House of Representatives, from 28 to 29, to prevent the possibility of election ties in the future. Glenn Godfrey was considered the shining light of that new PUP in 1989. Said Musa was relatively low key, but he must have savored the 1989 victory keenly, even though he was only Minister of Education and Sports.

Ralph Fonseca had brought new energy to the PUP, and he had brought big money. Where that money came from, became the subject of speculation, but in 1989 Said Musa saw for the first time how important the big money could be in Belizean party politics. Big money had raised the PUP dead right before Said?s eyes.

Though the PUP lost in 1993, they won the popular vote, and held 13 strong seats in the new PUP Opposition, including the seats of Said Musa in Fort George, Glenn Godfrey in Belize Rural South, and Ralph Fonseca in the new Belize Rural Central constituency.

Ralph Fonseca engineered the triumph of Said Musa over Florencio Marin in the PUP?s leadership convention of 1996, and he can also be described as the chief architect of the PUP?s smashing general election victories of 1998 and 2003. One assumes that the victories were sweet, actually delicious, for the man who had lost four out of five between 1974 and 1984.

When 7 of his Cabinet Ministers stepped on Prime Minister Said Musa last week Thursday morning and demanded Ralph Fonseca?s ouster as Finance Minister, the searing crisis for Mr. Musa involved the fact that those 7 talented individuals had been the solid core of his support at the 1996 leadership convention in Belmopan. The 7, generally speaking, represented the people, and Fonseca represented the money. (You would, at first blush, exclude Eamon Courtenay from that description of the 7, but in 1996, for instance, Eamon Courtenay was down on the ground and walking the streets of the Collet constituency.) Mr. Musa?s new and magnificent political power had come from the coalition of the people and the money, and so the 7 Cabinet Ministers on Thursday morning must have created the elements of a nightmare for the Prime Minister. The 7 were forcing him to choose between the people and the money.

He bought time, promising changes in three weeks, but by the following day, Friday, Mr. Fonseca went on national television, beginning his counterattack. Alarm bells rang in the ears of the 7 Ministers, because the one thing Mr. Musa had insisted on the Thursday morning, less than 36 hours before, was that the 7 Cabinet Ministers not go to the media.

Over the weekend, it appears, Mr. Musa?s political generals worked feverishly to organize intra-party support for the Prime Minister. From the perspective of the dissident Ministers, it appeared that Mr. Musa and Mr. Fonseca were one, if they had ever been otherwise. One wonders if Mr. Musa reflected on the great irony of the fact that the men who now became his most militant allies on the weekend, Hon. Florencio Marin of Corozal and Hon. Mike Espat of Toledo, had been his most powerful adversaries at the 1996 leadership convention. The press release coming out of Florencio?s group on Monday morning sounded like a call to arms. The language was like that of Cuba?s Committees for the Defence of the Revolution when that island is under attack.

Everything had speeded up. Things were getting out of control inside the ruling party. Did Mr. Musa, politically speaking, choose the money over the people between August 12 and August 16? You will be the judge. If he had chosen the money over the people, you see, then, in a way which was a consequence of his personal political history, he can be said to have been choosing victory over defeat, at least subconsciously.

But it did not work exactly that way in this frightening crisis. The 7 Ministers resigned on Monday afternoon, August 16, and Mr. Musa and Mr. Shoman reportedly led an effort Monday night to form a new Cabinet out of the loyal and ambitious backbenchers. But, for whatever reason(s), it simply did not happen, and Mr. Musa decided to negotiate with the 7 Ministers. That decision was made late Monday night or early Tuesday morning, we presume.

A raging financial crisis had developed in the nation of Belize which had sparked a political crisis within the Cabinet and the ruling party of Belize. The most powerful politician in Belize, trapped between his past and his present, decided to compromise. Had he done otherwise, there would have been violence within the PUP which would no doubt have become a more widespread conflagration in the nation of Belize itself.

From that perspective, it is good that the antagonists within the PUP reached a resolution of their dispute on Wednesday evening, August 18. The peaceful resolution was anticlimactic, similar, as it is said, to kissing your sister. A lot of people were hyped up and feeling ?like bustin? loose,? and that frustrated energy remains in the nation.

Many people, especially those with UDP ties, are saying oh, the resignation was a ruse. No, beloved, this was not a ruse. What it was, was the beginning of a confrontation between the people and the money in Belize. We remain in dangerous times in Belize.

You know, the Chinese have hired an American basketball coach, Del Harris, to take charge of the Chinese national team, led by the NBA?s Yao Ming, in the ongoing Olympic basketball tournament. In an interview aired on NBC this Wednesday evening, Harris said, referring to the Chinese people, ?These people have great regard for authority. They have great regard for age.?

The Chinese civilization is thousands of years old. Belize will be just 23 years old next month. We Belizeans have little regard for authority and little regard for age. Despite that, we seem to know how to dodge bullets. That is what we did this week.

Amandala. All power to the people.

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