“Arguments of convenience lack integrity … “ Donald Rumsfeld
The term flip flopper is an American term. Other terms used are U-turn and back flip. Flip Flop et al is normally used in a negative way to describe a politician, normally in a declining political position, or to ride a new wave of support. The flopper changes his position on a subject he has advocated in the past. It comes short of calling a politician a self interested political animal. Many politicians actually get away with changing political positions because the electorate, for the most part, has a very short memory and many times are willing to forgive the indiscretions of politicians. In Belize’s case, even when those indiscretions amount to major corruption scandals. However, historically, people are less tolerant to flip flopping when it comes to changing a political party.
Politics in Belize encourages an environment of distrust and disrespect. As a survival mechanism, politicians tell supporters to mistrust any type of criticism. Any and all criticism, even when it seems unbiased, must be coming from the opposition’s camp. Political parties encourage unquestionable party loyalty; and discourage dissent by publicly punishing the dissenter. The status quo must be maintained and true faithful political party followers must show love of their party more than their country.
Marcel Cardona exploded on the political scene as a young, dynamic, intelligent and articulate politician. However, prior to his official political life, I shared several classes at St. John’s College Sixth form with Marcel. We graduated from the same program. Even back in the early 90s Marcel was an advocate for justice. Marcel was a true believer in George Price and if memory serves right, he was in Jorge Espat’s political camp in the 90s. As a young adult back then, Marcel knew what he wanted while the rest of students were still trying to figure things out. He was no nonsense individual, always on a mission of change while taking on a tough course load at SJC. Marcel shares some similar traits like me, so I can empathize with his passion. He believes in people and causes and will fight tooth and nail for such and he is always in the position fighting for the underdog. With that said, I will admit, I am disheartened by Marcel’s political move that may end his career.
Marcel was never an official candidate of the PUP, but he was a PUP insider. He has strong political family ties and history with the PUP. When PUP was in power, Marcel distanced himself from the PUP, likely the same reason the electorate did. The corruption was wanton and undeterred and many were voting on a hope for change. He was also in Jorge Espat’s camp, and that may account for his keen sense of integrity. Unfortunately Marcel failed to realize that PUP and UDP do not hate each other (as I have said previously in my writings). They are masters at pitting the electorate against each other; however a casual browse in the genealogy will reveal close familial and business ties.
Marcel was the perfect UDP candidate. He was a PUP insider telling the electorate how corrupted PUP was. However, Marcel didn’t understand his role in the political chess game. Once he jumped ship the first time, UDP was happy to use him for political mileage but in a system of distrust, he was never fully a UDP. How could they trust a person motivated by integrity and emotions in a corruptive environment? Marcel believed he was making a decision to benefit the people. He was courted out of his relationship with the PUP; he spilled PUP dirt and found out that he was being used for political mileage. He was not only used, but trapped in an embarrassing and humiliating position for 4 years. Marcel in his attempt to now “punish” the UDP, has decried foul yet once again, and guided only by his emotions, has returned to PUP. And so he finds himself once again in the exact same position he was just 4 short years ago. He is now once again, airing dirty laundry except now it is the UDP; he has now distanced himself from UDP; he has endorsed PUP and has been prominently featured in the PUP commercials. Again nothing more than a political pawn being used for his integrity. Marcel’s integrity is now wavering and if PUP wins, how could PUP realistically trust a man who has contributed to their worst loss in PUP’s history and especially one motivated by integrity and emotions in a corruptive environment?
I know Marcel is not a flip flopper. His stance has always been integrity, however, how can I follow a man reactive to his emotions and one that has submitted himself twice to the role of political pawn? If Marcel take a step back and realize he is misguided by emotions. He will realize his own potential both parties see in him. Marcel would be far more effective and credible agitating changes as an advocate outside the system. His reward may take many years, but if he is a true believer in change, time will not be an obstacle. Unfortunately, our political party system identifies young talented and respectful people, steal their integrity for political mileage and later hang them out to dry while forever blinding or discrediting same. Take off the political lens Belizeans and Wake up!