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Wednesday, April 14, 2021
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UNCAC sí, UNCAC no

I yer, I have heard, that my area rep, Julius Espat, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Housing, isn’t eager to see the implementation of UNCAC …. Whoa, as I’m putting down my opening notes for this piece I hear Ms. Aria on the WuB, telling Brother Nuri that Julius said that if we persevere with the UNCAC deal we will be giving up our sovereignty. I say, in a way I am not with UNCAC either, but if the PUP is not totally different from the UDP, they had better get on with the implementation of the cat-beller now.

One of the reasons why many Belizeans wanted the UDP to get swept out of office is because of their emasculation of every check and balance we had. The UDP undermined the committees and offices that examine government spending, and they overwhelmed the press conferences with a cheering section to massage their egos, and to intimidate journalists whom they didn’t favor.

The UDP forced us into the situation where you had to be ignorant or uncaring not to fully support the signing of the UN convention against corruption (UNCAC) and its implementation immediately.

Julius will have to explain himself, but my reservation is that I don’t want the world to see all our dirty linen. I’d like the PUP to fix the system so that we clean up as much of the mess as we can, before we get our own CICIG (Comisión Internacional contra la Impunidad en Guatemala).

The CICIG came out of lobbying by third forces (like our third parties, trade unions) in Guatemala who had deep concerns over criminal networks in the country reaching their tentacles into important institutions. This pressure led a government in that country to reach out to the UN, under the UNCAC, for assistance to investigate and prosecute their criminal and corrupt elements.

Winning the election massively didn’t give the PUP the right to delay on their manifesto promise to “fast track the implementation of UNCAC”. If they want a delay they must go to the people and organizations who won the signing of the convention.

First, the PUP will have to talk to the BNTU. The BNTU took industrial action to force our signing on to UNCAC, in 2016. The teachers included a number of national concerns of the people when they took action over a salaries issue with the government.

When the BNTU had previously had problems with the government over their salaries, they marched through the streets wearing bright green t-shirts that had bold lettering proclaiming that dehn “gat wi bak”, and Citizen Jerry Enriquez had challenged them to prove how serious they were about us. And they proved their genuineness by pinning Barrow against a wall at the Biltmore, pushing a pen in Faber’s hand, and forcing a signature for good governance.

The stubborn UDP later gave us the 13th senator, finally, and they signed UNCAC, the UN convention against rotten corruption, but that one was a promise those bohgaz really didn’t mean to keep. Recognizing that within them they couldn’t find the integrity and the energy to run a true democracy, they put lead in their shoes and dragged out the process, and the PUP capitalized on their failure with a manifesto promise to quickly complete the implementation process, so we kud jail who fu goh da jail, and tek back everything that they teef from us.

When the general election came, the people were swift with the boot for those who had betrayed them; the results were so lopsided that before teatime everyone knew that the red shirts had been cleared out of the Assembly building.

They will have to talk to the NTUCB. In February 2020, just before the pandemic was declared, the NTUCB marched through the streets of Belize City with a six-point agenda, one of them the implementation of UNCAC.

They will have to talk to the Belize Peace Movement (BPM), the new arm of the VIP. From way back when, when the VIP’s Paul, Hubert, and Bobby produced the best manifesto Belize had ever seen, the party called for us to enforce the UN and OAS anti-corruption laws. BPM leader, Bobby Lopez, only took time out from his unrelenting call for UNCAC implementation, to push the important redistricting agenda.

They will have to talk to the coordinator of CSSPAR, Mr. David Gibson. He has been a major force, a steering hand behind the education of the people about this powerful tool that could be so effective against corrupt politicians and their plunder of resources in our country.

All the aforementioned forces would have to unite to form a committee to preside over any initiative to ferret out the rot and any subsequent asset recovery. It can’t be that any PUP Mr. Marshalleck can chair such a body. The former PM was so unafraid of the Marshalleck commission that he spent the night before the inquiry sipping expensive whiskey and searching through his Thesaurus, instead of getting on his knees and reading his Bible.

There is this lee sour taste in my mouth, because we’ve given up so much sovereignty already. I absolutely resent those Europeans dictating to us, using their buying power to force us to do un-Biblical things like outlawing paddling of unruly children in schools. We take away people’s freedom, put people in jail, the worst punishment for any creation of God, to please Europeans who have declared that whipping is inhumane.

I am so disappointed in the British. We all know that when they were in their building phase they were the most child un-friendly nation in the world. Children in poor Belize never had it as bad as the children of the masses in Britain did. They had to change, they needed to change, and they did a complete 180, to where their children got as much rights as the unruly children in their former colony, the USA. Well, that’s their reparation. The big sin is forcing us to copy their penance, when we didn’t have their sin.

Of course we had room to improve, but we were never like they were, when they were horrible. We should resist being like them, now that they have become inane about child rights.

Congrats, Luke!

I had this congrats to give last week, but my column was running too long, so I had to hold off. I wish I had run my congrats before Luke braced the former PM, not because I worry about being considered prescient, but I really don’t want to say anything bad anymore about Dean. How much he looked like the man who said he didn’t think his CEOs were well-paid when he appeared at the Commission of Inquiry into his government’s mishandling of sales of vehicles, livestock, and other assets!

Congratulations to my village brother, Luke Martinez, on taking up the post of head of the NTUCB. They have put a warrior at their head.

Luke is a son of Mr. Cutty, a man who was well-liked and respected in our community. I don’t know Luke’s mom beyond a hello, but she must be resilient, and patient, because she lived with the late Mr. Cutty a long time, and Mr. Cutty, wherever he was he always had to be the star. And he was.

Luke, you have the toughness to get the job done, and you had a good church upbringing, so you know the road to glory. You have picked up that job at a very difficult time, a time when there isn’t much in the till for workers, but you can help make amends, and set the tone for how things will be henceforth. If you ever need counsel of any kind, I want all my counselors to know that they shouldn’t hold back any advice to you, because you are the real deal.

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