As the campaign season intensifies with the date being announced for the next general elections, it’s a good time to reflect as to where we are and where we have come from politically in pursuit of good governance for our beloved country.
After independence, until 1998, the people of Belize would vote a different party into government each time general elections were called. This approach for me was the best way to hold our politicians accountable in this parliamentary democracy that we have inherited.
You could not become complacent and believe that your seat was safe whilst in Belmopan. As servants of the people, you had to deliver on the promises you made, or get booted out of office.
Since then, we have seen the same party been re-elected into office for consecutive terms, and now for three terms.
How has this approach been beneficial to the people? Keeping the same administration in power for more than one term has been to the detriment of all Belizeans. In the last 22 years we have seen corruption, crime, unemployment, poverty and the degradation of sport skyrocket to an unprecedented level.
The longer an administration remains in office, the worse our situation becomes as a nation. We all know that our politicians are only about self-enrichment, without any vision for the country. In a small, developing country like ours, we should constantly be driven to attain the best leaders possible to make Belize a bright and shining star in this region, where there is equality, opportunity, liberty and prosperity.
Does this present administration deserve another term in office? The people will decide. This Barrow administration, after being given two more terms, has failed the people miserably. Most Belizeans had very high expectation for this UDP government since 2008. They came into power with a mantra of zero tolerance for corruption.
Look at where we are today: corruption has become a plague in every government department.
The PUP was kicked out of office because of the same corruption. Are they a viable option? Is there any guarantee that they will do a better job in government? This party has served its time and has paid the price, being out of power for over a decade for mishandling the people’s money. We will decide once again, as they are the only other mass party that could compete with the UDP.
Then there is the third party. Because of the nature of politics, where the mass parties have made paying for votes legal, these third parties struggle mightily to match up with their opponents. The only way these smaller political parties would have a chance in these elections would be if people would vote their conscience, but this is unheard of in this era of politics.
Today, the citizen only votes for whom they could get the most material or financial assistance from, during campaign season. This reveals a high level of political immaturity.
The best approach for the improvement and betterment of the citizens in this Third World country is for the ruling party to institute a small government. There should be no more than 10 Cabinet ministers. It is completely absurd for the government to still be the largest employer in this country. Our government should be an organization that enables and facilitates entrepreneurship, empowers the productive and agricultural sector and creates new industries to ensure that all citizens have the opportunity to work.
This measure, alone, will decrease poverty and crime immediately. Our educational system should be revamped to equip our youths with the skills needed to meet the demands of this new world order of information technology.
We should also implement a robust sports program where we foster and groom our athletes for them to discover their full potential in an effort for them to compete at the highest levels and generate an income for themselves. Only in Belize is sports not an industry; this should change.
There is no better time to change the way we are governed than now. Our population is too small to have such a high percent of poverty. Everything is in our favor; let’s hold our leaders accountable.
If you can’t handle the heat, then get out of the kitchen.