I, much like the rest of the country, was flabbergasted as the results poured in from one constituency after the other. While the odds did tip in the PUP’s favor, for the most part we believed that this election would have been a close election.
However, as the various constituencies were called, early on, we could have seen that it was going to be a historic landslide victory, as the wave rolled in.
As a consequence, the country will welcome a new, and only its 5th ever, Prime Minister in its young existence. Hon. John Briceño will be sworn in today as the Prime Minister of Belize, making history as the first Prime Minister to reside outside of the Old Capital.
Having served as the Leader of the Opposition, Deputy Prime Minister and the incumbent area representative for Orange Walk Central, Briceño now assumes the highest office in the land, propelled by the will of the people.
The House of Representatives will have a 26-member government in the face of a 5-member Opposition. Now that the people have spoken, the time has come to chart the way forward for the betterment of the people, regardless of race, color or creed.
Shattered Brick Walls
One of the greatest joys of the PUP today and a source of deep disappointment for the UDP is the shattering and dismantling of brick walls. In any election, among any major parties, there are brick walls. These are constituencies or area representatives that are basically untouchable. They are deemed brick walls because they are basically unbeatable.
Well, as the results were called last night, the masses were taken aback, as it was announced that various “brick walls” had been shattered, and the fall of these brick walls was astounding, to say the least. And while it boggles the mind, all that one can say is that the people have spoken.
The Real Winners
Partisan politics aside, the real winners in this election were the likes of Dr. Candice Pitts, Allan Pollard, Evan Thompson and Ana Banner Guy! Dr. Pitts launched a well-mounted campaign and led a fervent effort to transform the Mesopotamia Division. She is a young, educated woman of the soul with a broad vision. And while she fell short, she made a bold statement that will leave a lasting impact on our minds for some time to come.
Allan Pollard fell short by a few hundred votes of dismantling the decades-old institution in Queen’s Square. A young brother with fervent aspirations made arguably the most remarkable showing in just under four months.Kudos, keep the faith!
Evan, much like Allan, did the unthinkable for young brothers who were not born in such a position. And thus, Evan, too, must be saluted for his fervent efforts and salient shot at wanting to make a change.
Finally, Ana Banner Guy did remarkably well for an independent candidate. A visionary woman, she definitely made her mark in the election and has a promising future ahead.
The Task Ahead
Despite the blue skies that prevail overhead, the days that lie before us will be challenging. For Johnny and the PUP, the climb will be steep and daunting, and the course, well, rough and rugged. There will be no time for a victory dance and little cause for a celebration amid scarce resources. The work that lies ahead begins today!
Arguably, it must start with much relief to all those affected by the flood. It must come with a sharp and direct focus on combating the COVID-19 crisis that has been spiking to ever higher levels in recent weeks, and is set to spread even more after the little to no adherence to protocols during election day.
The effort also must come with a sharp focus on rebuilding and strengthening the economy, putting people back to work, lowering the unemployment rate, boosting people out of poverty (for real, this time) and turning things around for the good of the people.
Holding Them Accountable
It has been said on more than one occasion that Belize must be united, opportunities must be created and corruption must be rooted out, and we will hold the government accountable. For far too long our young democracy has been tarnished by the ills of corruption and nepotism and the havoc it wreaks on a young nation.
The overwhelming confidence that the people have entrusted in you is a mandate for you to do better. End the finger pointing and the name calling. The ball is in your court now. The people want to see you dribble; show them how you can handle the ball.
You have home court advantage, don’t be arrogant and pushy with it; use it as a platform to take care of the fans and make the bleachers comfortable and accommodating to all.
A silent (decisive) protest
In conclusion, the results of this election have spoken volumes about a people who are weary of the corruption of the old regime that has ruled for the past dozen or so years.
Too often politicians believe that the people will always just sit back and take whatever is thrown at them. In the absence of massive marches and protests, the people decided to protest with pencils and ballot papers amid sanitized hands and say definitively that they want a better, brighter and more secure tomorrow.
One thing is for certain: if we want to succeed as a country, we have got to come together; and UNITE! The problems we face are non-partisan and to solve them will require a bi-partisan and a conscious, collective approach.
It’s time to put the old ways of the past behind us and bind up our nation’s wounds for the betterment of ALL Belizeans.
God Bless Belize.