My hiatus is over. For the past few months I decided to take on an observant and forum participatory role to remain engaged and involved. Belize is truly a vibrant and dynamic democracy with some of the most passionate advocates; however there are quite a few passionate advocates who are passionately ignorant and divisive. They inspire or rather rally up their base from a position of fear, discrimination and hatred. They have no intention of engaging the public with thought provoking dialogue and solution based discussions and yet they have attracted the attention of the most credible people…
The Political Parties
The PUP seems to be heavily focused, also obsessed with Penner but seems to be missing a unique opportunity to redefine their party. They seem to be rousing up people and pointing the mistakes of the UDP that serves only to arm the UDP with unlimited opportunities to counter by pointing out PUP missteps and period of corruptive politics. PUP seems to be unsure of what direction to take the party and less focused on ridding itself of characters that cause their disrepute. (Luke is running to represent PUP..Seriously!!) They are charging down the road of divisiveness; finger pointing; name-calling and solution-less politics and in so doing is not offering Belizeans an alternative choice. PUP is less than impressive and their mouthpieces are boring, uninspiring, angry and divisive.
PUP needs rebranding; they need to start talking solutions; tell the people what they plan to do differently and why they believe they are the party to accomplish it. They need to be vocal and dynamic and inspiring and show leadership and direction…
The UDP has been in power long enough now that they can no longer point fingers to the PUP, save for the dreaded super bond. The UDP won decisively in 2008 with a super majority to make all the necessary changes. They had the unique opportunity to “cut off the head of corruption” by strengthening the laws that would have created a corruption free system; instead UDP does what it does best. They strut around like peacocks, with an air of arrogance; cluelessness and the uncanny ability to alienate their supporters. They may do work on the economy and the aesthetics of the country; however the perception that they work on their personal enrichment of their closest personal friends and family has merit. The very next elections UDP lost a good margin of their massive support. UDP barely won and one candidate Penner won by questionable votes.(maybe the source of PUP’s obsession?)
Barrow is now in the same conundrum as Musa was when he held a slim majority and a cabinet of uncontrollable corrupted ministers. This situation is not ideal for corruption fighting. It leaves the majority party paralyzed from seriously addressing the flaws in the system or risk losing power.
UDP need to start focusing on fixing the system that lends to such corruptive politics. They need to work on a failed embarrassing justice system that is unable to give citizens the justice they seek. They need to become solution minded and seek help from experts.
The third parties seem to be waiting for elections to be called to become vocal and visual. I guess they should resign themselves to a lobby group because they seem to have lost steam in the fight for change. Change takes years, decades and generations sometimes. I really cant say that they have made themselves seen or heard of late especially in light of the ongoing scandals that keep surfacing. Third parties wake up- the campaign season is here…
The Church in Belize is not one entity. However, of late there seems to be an attempt to frame Christianity as one entity for Jesus Christ. I grew up Catholic and was told by many fundamentalists and members of other religions that the Pope is the Anti-Christ; in fact I recall one such evangelist gave me a book that would prove to me that my religion was really the religion of the devil. So what is up with the unholy alliance of the Bishop and the evangelists?
Growing up Catholic, the priest never asked me to judge my neighbor or condemn anyone to hell. During election times, priests stayed away from politics and political issues so as not to divide congregations. Church was a place for sinners looking for redemption; we were reminded of service to the poor and compassion.
The bishop seems to have suddenly discovered some selective morality and is now directing the schools on what organizations the can associate with. Forget for a moment that the Catholic Church is one of the richest organizations in the world and have some of the most exclusive schools for the wealthy while asking a poor country like Belize to sponsor their schools and agenda; the same tax payers they openly discriminate against to attend. Forget that the church position is to act as a moral guide not a sin counter; forget that the Catholic priest job is to emulate Jesus Christ, I simply ask, how can we ignore the inconsistencies and hypocrisies?
Belize has a welcoming open door policy to visitors where just about any riffraff out there can make Belize their home and domain. We have welcomed members of the mafia, KKK, terrorist and a Waco Texan who has singlehandedly changed the face of Christianity. He admittedly had a drug and alcohol problem and maybe in drunken/high stupor decided he was a prophet that needed to save Belize. He probably fled to Belize to escape his personal demons (we seem to be a beacon for that sort) and he found a welcoming gullible country with a soft heart for the American fast talker. He presents the perfect family and says God in every other sentence. Like Columbus who descended upon the Indians, he descends upon Belize and promises salvation; threatens damnation and brings foreign money in; he attempts to talk and live like the natives. He introduces a new type of religion to Belize. A religion born out of the US conservative movement that has a history deep rooted in racism, homophobia and god-fearing, burn in hell type messages. He plants a seed in a generation of young men…The fruits of his seed are blossoming with radio stations, TV and a God inspired politician… suddenly our society that is hungry for healing and change embraces this messenger of hate and divide. He argues that he is fighting a foreign agenda…saving the Belizean people from an American culture…Irony and deception is packed in his message but it still resonates with people too afraid to burn in a fiery pit to question the irony of his message. Belize is now enveloped into a darkness where hate and divide is prevalent. People are attacked verbally, they are shamed and openly condemned and some even killed because the seeds of hate are nourished everyday on social media, radio stations, TV and in churches.
The story continues….
4 thoughts on “The Divisive Political Environment: The Characters”
I also wonder if the UDP may not also need some “re-branding”? My “fantasy” is that the PM will decide to walk away from his party, seek reform-minded allies from across the political spectrum, and call the elections. I think we are at a cross-roads – either we regulate (as in register and demand financial disclosures) or ban political parties.
A very well put together commentary on the issues and dealing affecting Belize.
As for the PUP I told John when he was in leadership of the party that the old fat had to go if they are to be taken seriously. I have also made posts about that as something that affects 3rd parties but it also affects major parties as we are seeing in the current PUP and it will at the polls.
As for the UDP, I have always said this … They are nothing more than an Opposition Party, even when in power all they do is oppose; they even oppose themselves. Instead of creating solutions they keep campaigning and pointing fingers at the PUP’s past. And the PUP keeps adding fuel to their flame..
As for 3rd parties.. They are their. I asked that same question and was told that they will start motion soon. I agree tho, time for action and fight is always not close to or during election time. Those fire torches will not light themselves nor will the pitchforks sharpen themselves and they most certainly will not take action alone.
I agree on the Church issue, you cannot pick and choose your battles, Jesus did not choose a certain group to attack, he addressed all peoples. He also took more action against organized religion as we see from his stories he spent more time out in the open with people than in church buildings. He made people think and grow not just dictate and control them. You have to realize tho, that as I’ve said in the past … the Church we know today is nothing but a political for profit machine which we should not be expecting more from quite honestly. Even Jesus warned about all this.
I would much rather see the Church start to deal with all those child raping priests than worry about who is having sex with who or if they are using birth control.
In a nation with no regard to law, where the people in office care more about how they can line their bank accounts more than the other person things like the Texan or Citizen Kim or all the other criminals that just setup shop in Belize. We need some serious change in the Motherland and quite honestly I don’t think politics nor the people are ready to take that step that will bring that change. There is so much that needs to be done and time is slowly slipping from our grasp.
When I look at things, I think of future generations of Belizeans and wonder if they will even have a place to call home or if they will even be Belizeans.
As someone who’ve tried to participate from within and without the party system I was bemused by “… they have attracted the attention of the most credible people…” The stark reality is that there was no place else to go. The independent media, namely the internet, is a relatively new phenomenon where Belizean activists can find a platform. Then there’s the little matter of the political partisans immediately defining you whenever you disagree with them, or agree with their opponents, on any issue.
The Penner matter is historic and the PUP has been less obsessed with it than other parts of the political spectrum who do not necessarily show up in the media. The entire affair, beginning in the 1986 budget speech in which Hon, Esquivel signaled that the nation would embark on an economic citizenship program, has been a matter of strong concern for Belizeans across the political spectrum.
The public spectacle of Hon. Penner (and other UDP candidates) naturalizing Guatemalans just days before the last General Elections has provoked a strong emotional reaction, especially since the relationship between the two nations was again spotlighted by the proposed ICJ referendum.
The inarguable fact is that those naturalization’s must have played a role in the UDP victory/PUP defeat since they won/lost 2 divisions, Cayo Central and Cayo North-East by 56 and 16 votes respectively. The UDP went from a 25-6 super majority to a narrow 17-14 House majority – flip those 2 results and …
You could also argue that were it not for the abdications of 3-time area reps Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde the PUP would be in Belmopan today.
Incidentally the PUP won re-election in 2003. 22-7 and all the members of the G7 returned to Cabinet after their demands for public fiscal reforms were agreed to. Mark Espat was asked to leave a few months later and he was joined in solidarity by Cordel Hyde. It is because of this solid majority support why the Musa administration survived, in my humble opinion.
Glen thanks for your input. Undoubtedly many of those factors may have influenced the status of political parties but what is the next step?
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