REPORT #143 Nov 1999

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

Belize has many would be elected representatives who would be despots. A despot is a person who is an autocrat, or a would be "ruler" who consolidates power and eventually becomes consumed by the corruption aspects of "absolute power". A despotic government is one in which the ruler, or rulers ( read political party clique in Belize ) practice a government of despotism. This is tyrannical rule, or leadership, and could also be called government by autocratic means, or arbitrary rule.

Belize is not a democracy, nor is the U.K. or India. They are despotic political party dictatorships with variations on the theme.

In the U.K., one of the despotic pillars of their despotic governing structure is now supposedly biting the dust. Tony Blair the Prime Minister is dismantling the House of Lords. This was a governing body that was hereditary. A group of governing legislators that were given the right to govern by birthright. Britain's dukes, marquiese, earls, viscounts and barons are having it easy. During the French revolution, they would have gone to the guillotine to be beheaded. The hereditary House of Lords ran for 800 years. A guaranteed income and class privilege for a small segment of aristocratic society. Britain is a CLASS society. At the top are the Monarchy, below them came these various aristocracy, then the little grey men who were Monarchists, ( in Belize we call them Royalists ) who were given positions of senior power in the bureaucracy and civil service and kept in line through medals, knighthoods and titles to support the aristocracy and those above. The masses were allowed to elect their own aristocracy and these were political party representatives, who also would rule the masses below.

In India, they do not divide the population according to CLASS, but by CASTE. At the top are the Brahmans, at the bottom are the Untouchables, the lowest of the low. About 500 untouchables are being imported into Cyclone hit areas to do the nasty job of burying and burning the dead, because the local residents will not do the dirty work. It is below their CASTE.

Belize has a new aristocracy over the last 35 years, created by the Courtenay Constitution copied from colonialism. These new rulers are a small few who learn to dominate a political party and have themselves elected to the government, which in turn is setup as a despotic type government.

How can you tell a despot from a democrat? A despot will not allow you to elect your local magistrate. A despot will not allow you to elect your local Police Chief. A despot calls himself, or herself a leader, or elected ruler. Never a manager! A despot will not allow the masses, in any geographical area, be it town, village, district or nationally to have a voice in policy making through a petitioned referendum. A despot will not allow the local geographic area to decide public policy, which the elected representative will just manage according to the local decisions.

There is democracy in Belize, you will find it in the Cooperatives. But you will not find it in our government! We have a despotic government, maintained by people who are elected representatives who believe in being despots.

Why are ordinary people who run for political office and become elected representatives in Belize, despots?

It is two factors mainly. Ignorance and tradition. The monarchy in the U.K. have maintained the CLASS divisions of society and therefore their own privileged positions through tradition and the artful skill of "divide and conquer". In Belize, despotic government came about through ignorance and lack of other experience during the years of self government; when a Royalist, "Courtenay" made the Constitution based on the U.K. model and not that of the U.S.A. Belize after all, has had more than two hundred years of colonialism, in which despotism was the norm. Despotic rule is no longer the tradition in most of the nation of Belize, but the center and hotbed of despotic rule is still in the port town and old colonial capital of the port Belize City because of the cultural inheritence tradition. This one town through various failures in the election system dominates the nation in politics and politicians. Thus we still continue despotic government and rule by elected despots. Even elected representatives from rural districts are most often approving of despotic rule, because of ignorance. They have no other experience, nor did their parents, their grand parents, or great grandparents. They think it is normal! It is not democracy though.

Only democracy brings economic success and a rising standard of living curve fitting the majority of people in the nation. Despotic government creates inequalities and social class divisions, and a large impoverished and often disenfranchised class.

The biggest single problem in Belize is solving the misunderstanding of what democracy is. The despotic nature of government under which Belize is run, is not democracy. Democracy means there are checks and balances at the ballot box. It means all the crucial positions in the governing power structure must be elected officials, independent of mass political party elections. It means you elect Police Chiefs, you elect magistrates, it means multi-layered government, to give checks and balances. It means petition capability for the Referendum Act. It means you turn central government into managers instead of ruler/leaders of despotic nature. It means a veto power distributed to each district on national legislation.

Students of today, need to learn what is a despot and despotic government and what a democracy is. They need to know that you sub-divide government into smaller pieces and all critical points of each of these smaller governments and the larger one too, must be independently elected officials, not subject to a party clique control and paternalism. That is a democracy.

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