REPORT #222 April 2000

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

Give the PUP administration some credit. They are indeed trying to de-centralize some things, but in a manner that leaves Belmopan in power. Town Boards are now getting workshops on how to assume more active roles in their functions, particularly in taxation and financing of their citizens within the town boundaries.

On the other hand, for debate, what the PUP are doing is diabolical!

The Village Councils Act seems to have been a hasty democratic piece of legislation that was so good, that it must have been done in error? On reflection, they decided to water that dissemination of power down, in the Town Board Act and it is a much milder piece of legislation. What it does, is reconfirm the supreme power of Belmopan and through Belmopan, the parasitic intellectuals of the old capital port town people who take turns running Belmopan. There is certainly no indication in the Town Board Act of power sharing. The ultimate power still resides in Belmopan, through a pyramidal architecture of links and controls.

What that is setting the country up for; is a country that is run by Belmopan as a plantation. A mistake was apparently made with the Village Councils Act and it looks like small villages will be relatively exempt to a certain point ( money? )in the power structure. But the Town Board Act is a showpiece of divestment of financial responsibility by Belmopan, while keeping the policy making political power controls of the district towns in the hands of those in Belmopan and ultimately those intellectual parasites from the old colonial capital in Belize City.

Belize the nation is being setup to give a showcase thin veneer of geographical representation, through the Town Board Act. Town Boards will presumable look after the financial responsibilities and services of their towns, villages will look after villages subject to financial controls from Belmopan and the old colonial port town crowd and Belmopan will pull the strings through control of the treasury and national taxation collections and dissemination. Belmopan will thus control the country and districts, but divest itself when politically angry with a town, whenever that town board represents an opposition political party. Villages will more or less be left on their own. The biggest set of democratic freedoms in the country of Belize are going to be in the villages. The towns will be controlled through money. "He who pays the piper calls the tune!"

The system is not democracy, it is just another way of maintaining the status quo. Nor is it going to be geographical representation as in Report #87. Nor is there going to be district and nationwide debate and voting rights on the way the national revenue is divided up among the districts. Towns will get the lion's share of any revenue in any district. The villages and rural farms and plantations will get the least, or none. This is perpetuation of rule by townies, except the nation is going to have a lot more townies in other towns trying to tell the producers what to do, all subject to the old colonial capital intellectuals of the port Belize City.

How do you intrepret these events and the function of the Town Board Act in relation to what might, or will happen from Belmopan? Certainly, towns will not be able to tell Belmopan how much money to give their districts. The decisions are not going to be made by district people about districts, they will still be ruled from Belmopan. Nor are districts going to be able to rule the national government in Belmopan and decide national policy or division of national revenues. It is still all going to be in the hands of a half dozen intellectuals from the old port Belize City. Diabolical I say! What do you say?

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