Editorial — 08 December 2004

Whereas the PUP is still feeding off the aura and image of their Leader Emeritus and national hero, Rt. Hon. George Cadle Price, the UDP is uncomfortable trying to integrate the legacy of Philip Goldson, their national hero, into the party?s historical continuity. This discomfort with Banquo?s ghost may account for a UDP political anemia which would become chronic only to the severe detriment of the Belizean nation state. (While the Opposition will consider ?anemia? to be hyperbolic, ll out of 58 in 98 and 03 will simply not cut it. This game is about arithmetic, not camera angles.)

There was a time in the 1960?s, our middle-aged citizens will remember, after the PUP won 18 out of 18 seats in 1961 and 16 out of 18 in 1965, that the PUP began to float the trial balloon of a one-party state.

It is important to remember that Mr. Goldson did not run in the 1961 general elections. The Opposition National Independence Party (NIP) was led by Herbert Fuller in 1961. Mr. Fuller had been the Leader of the pro-British colonial party, the National Party, before he led the NP into a coalition with Mr. Goldson?s young Honduran Independence Party (HIP) sometime between 1957 and 1958. Whereas the National Party had existed from the 1940?s, Mr. Goldson only formed his HIP after he lost a power struggle inside the anti-colonial PUP in 1956, so he entered the original NIP coalition as a leader junior to Mr. Fuller.

It was not long after the NIP election debacle of 1961 that Mr. Fuller died, and Mr. Goldson became the NIP Leader. The NIP won two seats in 1965 (Goldson in Albert and Edwin Morey in Toledo North), and then Goldson became a national hero in 1966 when he risked jail to expose the Thirteen Proposals. His status as a national hero was confirmed in 1968 when the American lawyer/mediator, Bethuel Webster, released the Seventeen Proposals, which were substantially the same as the Thirteen Proposals. Thirteen or Seventeen, Belize was being sold out to Guatemala, and Goldson led the resistance.

What was his reward for this? One year later, Goldson was challenged for leadership of the Opposition NIP, in May of 1969. When the challenger lost, he left the NIP and formed his own party. Our point is that Philip Goldson only led a united Opposition in one general election campaign ? that of 1965.

It is not a matter of our trying to beatify Goldson, but the UDP simply must come clean with their own history, because none of their four leaders since 1973 ever attained the legendary status of the humble man the PUP called ?Phumbles.?

The PUP, on the other hand, raised Mr. Price to such an iconic status that they are still living off his squeaky clean reputation. In the face of a mountain of evidence that misuse and misappropriation of public funds have been taking place within the present PUP administration, all the PUP leaders do, to soothe the psyches of their faithful, is trot out the retired Mr. Price for some occasion and on some tour, and all their present sins are forgiven in the name of a sacred past.

The political fact of the matter, then, is that the PUP have not been weakened as much as they should have been by their recent misdeeds and felonies, while the UDP have not grown as strong as they should have during the same period. The PUP are feeding off their past, while the UDP can not benefit from Mr. Goldson?s national hero status, because they refuse to face the truth of their past. This is what is called denial, Macbeth.

It is the nation state of Belize which is the victim when the PUP is allowed to get away with so much, while the UDP is unable to turn the screws on them. The PUP have not gone into any shell where their various bogus deals are concerned. The Barrier Reef scheme proves that in a way that ?even the blind can see.? The PUP are so contemptuous of the 2004 UDP that they continue to quarrel and fight amongst themselves. If the UDP were a real threat, then the PUP would cling to each other for protection.

The PUP penetration inside the UDP, a thrust we have been remarking on in this newspaper for over a year, is so successful that the ruling faction of the PUP influences the debate within the UDP and their media organs in such a way that the UDP functionaries attack the G-7 more than they attack the ruling faction. Because of this, within the PUP, their ruling faction have grown more powerful since August. If this is what BelChina wants, so far so good. But this, we submit, can only be good for the UDP if it leads to national municipal election victory in March of 2006.

That is why we say that there is a burden of proof which lies on the UDP. There were enough issues in March of 2003 for the UDP to have made a better showing than they did. They have made a lot of excuses since then.

In off election years, what hurts the Opposition hurts Belize, because their job is to keep the Government in check. You can?t say the UDP did their job, because GOB ran wild and reckless. Now we are going into what amounts to an election year. The burden of election proof, therefore, lies on the UDP.

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