( extract from Belize Culture Listserve debating forum )
Speaking of Constitutional changes. Trinidad that had some revolutions of their own a decade or more back, has a President and a Prime Minister. The President is mostly ceremonial. The recent election was a tie. 18 seats for black African immigrants and 18 seats for Coolie East Indian immigrant descendants in Trinidad. Trinidad has oil wealth. Anyway, the President chose the Prime Minister and gave it to the opposition leader to break the tie in parliament.
Constitutional changes are necessary in Belize too, if we are ever serious about building a democratic nation of Belize, that is wealthy and balanced.
I favor elected representatives that have terms of three years instead of the current five years. I also favor that one third of them get elected each and every year.
So we get a constant flow of energy and fresh young people and ideas. Term limits of two terms as an elected legislative representative also. Do away with the gratituity and pensions for elected representatives. Senators on the other hand, I believe should be for four years and electing half of them every two years. All to stagger and break up the corrupt cabals and cliques that form in politics of self interest opportunists. Senators on the other hand could be limited to three terms.
I also believe we should do away with Ministerial Discretion that makes a mockery of the legislative and law making process and creates buckoo problems with public morality and policing.
I believe with an elected Senate and staggered elections and two Senators from each district, half of which run every mid term two years, counter balancing the constantly changing legislature, combined with the outlawing of Ministerial Discretion, we would change the cabinet ministers to managers by law, or they get prosecuted and the legislature and senate into law making bodies. The rule of law and subsequent public participation would improve morality and decency country wide. Electing a bunch of pirates and opportunists to office and giving them the country to rape for five years as we do right now, is obviously never going to do anything for building and developing a wealthy Belize.
The three year attempt by the PUP to bust the $600 million mark government revenue growth, went bust. The PUP forecast for next year 2002 is $372 million Bz. Which my own estimate is $330 million. But even that may be high? Conservatively speaking, I think the PUP are estimating and going to spend more than available? I think they are between $30 and $60 million too high. It would make sense for the 2002 government budget be a low figure of $310 million and then at the end of the year if you underestimated, it would be nice to have the money to stick in Foreign National Reserves. Always better to underestimate the spending budget.
The PUP idealistic dreamland Growth Economics excercise in Tulip Mania bubble economics, has shoved the Foreign National Debt of Belize, I believe over, but if not over; then borderline on the foreign exchange generating capacity of the country to earn. I have the feeling we now have to pay out more foreign exchange obligations than the country can actually earn?
Usually, the big lending banks, the International Development Bank, the World Bank try to adjust loans to keep third world countries like Belize indebted to their maximum ability to pay interest. The idea is that the interest is where they make their money at the International Lending Banks and you farm a third world country like Belize for the interest foreign exchange crop. You don't care if they cannot pay off PRINCIPAL, you want to keep the interest in foreign exchange crop flowing to the banks from the country. The only way I know to break the Sharks hold on the throat of Belize is to stop borrowing foreign loans. It means a few years of austerity, but clear the books! On the other hand, the five year party dictatorship parliamentary system fits right in to the policies of the SHARKS. Cause politicians spend like water the credit of the country in an election year, when a party can win the nation to loot under this system for five whole years. Changing how party politics works, constitutional reform, and some laws limiting the ability of the government to borrow are all things needed to make Belize work as a growing developing successful nation.
I believe a law requiring government borrowing from foreign lenders should be passed dictating that a maximum of 20% of the average of the last five year government revenue flows should be the maximum borrowing ceiling. It works in successful businesses and it should work for government in Belize also.
I would also like to see that District governments get 6 % of the annual government revenue flow to run schools, policing, health, and other standard non-national public services on the local level. For a total of 36 % of the national revenue flow going to local District governments in each district.
Anyway, just some NEW YEAR resolution wishes for the future of Belize and Development.