The US Presidential Debate
On Tuesday night, September 29, I, just like the rest of the world, tuned in to the presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden. My conclusions on the debate are very simple: it was by far the worst presidential debate I have witnessed in recent years and have read about in the past. It was an atrocious showing between two men who aspire to lead the most powerful country in the world for the next four years.
The debate was (in my humble opinion) reduced to mudslinging and a much distasteful back and forth. Furthermore, the candidates rarely ever responded to the questions and offered very little solutions to inherent problems that the country faces while simultaneously offering very little assurance as to why either of them should be the next leader of the free world. The moderator had very little grip and control over his debate and found himself spending most of his time trying to restore and maintain order. It was terrible to watch.
Should Belizean Politicians Debate?
But as you read, you may wonder why I am delving into the political sphere of another country. Well, the simple reason is, we (much like them) are weeks away from a general election. And as I watched and listened to their debate, I wondered: should aspiring politicians in Belize participate in a debate before the elections are held?
I vehemently believe that indeed aspiring politicians in Belize should debate before the elections. Our political arena in Belize is riddled with many politicians who really lack the substance and ability to contribute constructively to the improvement and progress of this country.
Truth be told, a lot of our politicians — incumbents and aspiring alike —are mostly glitter and very little substance. They contribute very little to the political discussion and offer very little to the Belizean people in terms of tangible overall development.
So indeed, perhaps, aspiring politicians in Belize should be made to partake in an electoral debate. That would offer the Belizean populace a unique opportunity to hear their ideologies and plans for the country, and the people could distinguish fact from fiction. Engaging in a political debate also allows for a sort of a litmus test to gauge the sentiments of our aspiring leaders and for us to get a picture of who it is that we are about to put in office to govern our affairs.
Leaks! Leaks! Leaks!
The past week has been all about leaks! First, it was documents that were dropped like a bombshell. These documents detailed the seemingly usual cronyism and nepotism that we have become so accustomed to. I mean, in other countries, when revelations like these are made, severe punitive measures follow with expediency. However, it’s Belize, and so it’s just another scandal, and even in the face of facts and receipts, the revelations are denied and foul is blatantly called.
But regardless of the denials and the accusations, the fact remains that corruption exists. These leaks portray a very eerie and daunting picture of the fleecing of resources and public funds and properties. Really and truly, it makes one distraught and irate to see the sheer disregard and disrespect towards the populace of this country, who work indefatigably to carry the country on their backs, while a privileged few make merry while the masses suffer in despair!
The Fire Station
Belize is a country that possesses vast wealth untold that comes mostly from its verdant and abundant natural resources. That aside, the assets the country owns are rather few and far between. The majority of our public offices are rented, and as a country, we only own a mere few. Well, now, there is one less asset on that list. News broke a few days ago that our Fire Station has been sold to a private entity. While the details surrounding the transaction are very sketchy, an iconic building, a symbol of our patrimony, will be gone.
Now a lot of things have been made to slide and have been accepted “as it”. However, this one irks me and rattles me to my core! Like I mean, this is our damn fire station! We just don’t do that. It is a symbol. It’s a monument. No new intricate facade or edifice will do. That fire station was centrally located and uniquely positioned in a special location to which we all have felt connected. The sale of our patrimony doesn’t sit well with us, but what can we do now? Water under the bridge!
With just under six weeks to go before the general elections, it’s anyone’s guess who will be the next Prime Minister of Belize and form the next government. But what is more certain than ever is that these are some serious times. These are some days of reckoning. It’s a time that we have never seen before in decades. Political parties are gearing up for their launches, and campaigns are underway. But as a result of COVID-19, house-to-house engagements will be significantly reduced.
Perhaps it is a good thing. Perhaps the politicians ought to thank COVID-19. Because the people are in their homes and they are waiting. They have plenty to say and a lot to discuss. They want to talk about the challenges of the time and the scarcity of the support and the resources. They want to voice their discontent and their disapproval. They want to set their demands and require more of their aspiring leaders. But unfortunately, many won’t get the chance.
Notwithstanding that, both sides are confident in victory. They have their bases assured and are riding on it. But don’t take your eyes off the millennials! There is a large number of millennials who have gotten registered and are more energized than ever. They will have their voices heard and will come out on Election Day and vote. More so, they have a very good chance to decide the outcome of the elections and must not be taken lightly.
Regardless of the outcome, truth is, we have a long way to go. We have a lot of work to do. It’s going to be some challenging days ahead; no doubt. And it would be rather remiss of us to think that any politician or political party can save us. Truth is, at the end of the day, we write our own destiny and ultimately, we’ll become what we do. The ball is in our court. It’s up to us to decide whether we hit or strike; cause after all, given these trying times of reckoning, only we can save ourselves.
God Bless Belize!