REPORT #162 Jan 2000
HAVE THE PUP FAILED BELIZE? DOES THE LEADER SYSTEM WORK?


Produced by the Belize Development Trust

After 40 years thereabouts, none of the existing political parties, have succeeded in turning Belize into a self-sufficient nation, living within the revenue it produces.

What went wrong with the dreams of Independence? Our adopted system of colonial government, using centralized elected leaders has failed to provide the security we all crave.

Can we blame the existing political framework in which the country is governed? Can we blame a system that elects leaders? Can we blame carte blanche control of the nation given to one only political party?

Where exactly has the system failed us?

The PUP after a little over a year in office under new leadership, have obviously compounded Belize's national debts to foreign countries and institutions. They are practicing CLASSIC PUP party policies they have done for the past 40 years. All the way through those "self government" years and after independence.

Is it right that we be a debtor nation, forever tottering on the brink of suicide, or bankruptcy? Is this the way for a small country and it's citizens to live?

Is the dream of being a self sufficient nation just impossible? Is it possible to govern Belize within the annual revenue of government and have a balanced budget? Are these things too much to ask?

If you ask either of the dominant two political parties, their actions speak for them. The dream of a self sufficient wealthy Belize is impossible to achieve? They have failed to deliver after decades. How much time would the UDP need, or the PUP to achieve the dream? 300 years maybe, or a 1000 years? What would it take to achieve a self sufficient Belize?

The new aspiring Belize Reform Party has tried to answer some of these questions on their Rough Draft Manifesto. Do you agree that the changes they propose have merit? Take a look at: http://ambergriscaye.com/BzLibrary/developmentissues

Some things seem obvious to anyone that thinks! Big centralized government, political party control fails to bring results. We see this not only in our own Belizean experience, but also from European history and examples around the world. There are probably many reasons why well-intentioned people elected to office under a one party controlled nation fail at achieving self-sufficiency. Can you think of some of the dynamics involved that guarantee failure instead of success?

If you wanted Belize to be a strong nation, self sufficient, capable of standing with it's head high without foreign debt to anybody, what would you do to change things?

The current system has many flaws! It caters to greed and ego's. It gives absolute power without checks and balances. It allows long term debt, versus short term debt. It cannot work within a balanced budget. Like those many governments similar through history operating this way, it defaults to large government bureaucracies in a small nation that cannot afford it. Yet centralization of power and policy making creates such a default. This is from ordinary psychology. Everybody in a such a situation insists their relatives in government get them the security of a salaried job. Especially the academic style trained concentrated townies. In our country, this is the old colonial capital port crowd. But this human nature phenomena has been repeated throughout 200 years of Central European parliamentary history. Followed usually by bankruptcy and war. Concentrated centralized political party power also creates class divisions, of haves and have nots. Population based voting coupled with one party controls the nation, also defaults to the creation of one huge megapolis, usually built as in African countries on old colonial capitals.

If you are going to truly build a self sufficient nation of Belize, then the 11 communities that currently are big enough to be called towns and the 6 districts and 500 villages have to become EQUAL in power sharing in politics, and policy making on the national scene. In order to balance the budget, and give local responsibility through local government, it is obvious that the current system gives a disproportionate amount of centralized political power to only one of the 11 towns and one district. If other evidence is to be believed from both history, but also around the world, this automatically guarantees a growing one town megapolis on the coast, ruling and treating the rest of the nation as serfs, to provide the megapolis. This is colonialism politics at it's worst and the results are pre-ordained. Indeed we have the results now, after 40 years and there is no indication that anyone, no matter how well intentioned can change the results within the current political system structure. Certainly, the PUP are failing again. While the UDP don't have a glimmer of any alternative innovative imaginative solutions and admit it.

If you are going to build a self-sufficient nation, no matter the census statistics, the districts have to have an equal share both in political power, policy making and revenue sharing. The latter to create a situation in which population will spread to other districts for development, because of financial differences. This calls for District BLOCK grant systems to Districts from National revenues instead of allocations by political party cabinet fiat. It calls for a system of matching GRANTS from national revenues to different districts for projects that need catering to within the means of that district to handle them. It calls for budget allocations by district agreed upon at the national legislature to be applied equally to each district for specific purposes. There are many other ways of distributing the available revenues and allowing local governments to match resources through other means, such as volunteerism, or different pay scales for bureaucratic work.

This obviously calls for District governments, unless the current rule by townies of the old colonial capital wish to retain a country that serves the merchant and academic intelligentsia bosses of the port town in the current old feudal farm system of exploitation. But if you intend to build a nation that is wide spread self sufficient, then you are going to have to spread consensual rule to the other districts, towns and villages.

It also means changing the role of elected representatives from that of LEADERS, where policy made by less than a handful of individuals in a political party, is found instead through consensus and bartering, thus turning the elected representatives into MANAGERS of policy approved by all segments of the nation, each with an EQUAL voice.

Where these situations exist, there is a more than equal chance that self sufficiency can be achieved, along with social welfare and family wealth production. So the political studies show by scholars! The same political studies show Belize is currently on a guaranteed failed track and that independence, social justice, elimination of poverty, creation of wealth will not be achieved as we presently practise our government.

What would you do to change Belize to a self-sufficient wealthy nation? Form new political parties to contest the failed ones?

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