REPORT #49 Feb 1999

Produced by the Belize Development Trust
In Nigeria an ex-British colony with the same parliamentary political party system ours is. The politicians were getting so rich and ostentatious they had a military coup and military government. Has happened several times. In the name of corruption and democracy. The latest military government by Generals is going democratic ( hic!) and back to civil government.

Kaduna, Nigeria: Retired General Ibrahim Badamisi Babangida 58 yrs, is pouring huge sums of money into the election of Olusegun Obasanjo another former military ruler. There are a bunch of (hic!) newly retired Generals who are running for public office as politicians. At a meeting in the conference room of the offices of Aliju Mohammed who was the director of the Security Forces ( death squads ), this retired general is supporting wholeheartedly General Obasanjo in his political running. Wears a gold cartier watch the reporters said and is worth about Four $billion USA. Nigeria has oil wells. Six other retired generals were in a nearby waiting room. The parking lot was crowded with 1999 Mercedes Benzes driven by private chauffers, solely for the Army lieutenants serving these people. An army lieutenant in Nigeria is a millionaire in US dollars before he reaches 28 years old. In New York City, a mafia family MADE MAN, is a millionaire before 30 years old. Babangidas net worth is estimated at $6 billion USA dollars. He is the spider at the center of the web.

General Abdulsalami Abubakar is the military ruler overseeing the transition from military rule to civilian rule ( hic!) Just co-incidental that all these Generals grew up together, went to school together and are a street gang gone legitimate.

What has this to do with Belize?

Well in Belize and other ex-British colonies with the same parliamentary political party system, corruption and greed and self interest rules. It may be in Belize that only 85% of the elected politicians are greedy. Or they rationalize there perks and advantages with some sort of "I deserve it" sort of thing. No names are necessary, the examples and history around the world of this system is well documented. It is based from England, on the old Roman Empire colonial ruling methods. It is designed to cater to greed and corruption, so long as the state gets it's piece.

Belize of course does not have an oil field and wealth. In countries like Belize over the last 30 years, the historical method has been in poorer countries like Belize, to substitute for oil wells, which we don't have. The alternative to the good life, is to BORROW foreign loans and skim the results. To hell with the country. What is a billion dollars worth of debt for a 220,000 people? Why should anybody care if they are out of office in five years?

There probably was reason for the first 20 years to borrow foreign loans in the name of the country. But with 600 million revenue in 1997 thereabouts, that argument is no longer true. Belize is wealthy on it's own right if frugally managed. But frugal and British parliamentary political party politics are not in the same lexicon. i would not want to blame anybody in either political party. We call this in police jargon, crimes of opportunity. Greed! Selfish self interest. The system is built to enhance it. You can hardly blame individuals for succumbing to temptation. Unfortunately, you cannot confess on Sunday and make everything alright.

Many individuals do not even feel they are doing wrong when they take advantage or go on a shopping trip, or tourist trip to Geneva, Switzerland for a child conference. ( Nowadays, the e-mail and web pages is far faster, more comprehensive and efficient ). Or a library conference to ACCURAL, supposedly a professionals organization at which you pay your own membership and way. But in everybody's case in all countries including the USA are actually paid by the taxpayer. They are labelled volunteer, but still get free tourist trips around the world for professional conferences, which are of questionable value. Volunteer while their salary still runs- sheeesh!

So, if you cannot blame individuals who rationalize misdeeds of taxpayers money, or are aided and abbetted by politicians as grease, so they don't complain when politicians head for the wild blue yonder on world tours at your increasing national debt. How do you rein in this spendthrift collusion? You have to change the system! This system doesn't work in Nigeria and it does not work in poorer countries like Belize. Individuals and political cliques within party politics have too much individual power. You need to adopt political reform to find consensus. Referendums, with petition capability! Staggered elected cycles of more limited terms, as in Belize cooperative management politics. This has been shown to work. Will those guilty of borrowing foreign loans to skim off for their own greed and lifestyle willingly vote for such changes? Unlikely! So, where do you start and how?

Susan Guberman-Garcia wrote:
Ray, I agree with most of your criticisms of government in Belize and the need for reform. But its important nevertheless to not over-exaggerate and I think your comparison of Belize and Nigeria is a bit much.

Belize does not have a history of rule by generals and death squad politics as does Nigeria. Political dissidents are not arrested by military courts and shot the next day in Belize. From my perspective (which is certainly somewhat limited since I am not a Belizean and do not live in Belize, and certainly others may disagree), the lack of reform in Belize is more the product of lack of interest on the part of the majority of its people (just like in the USA) than of government terrorism.

I don't think the Belize government would be able to exert military control of its population even if it wanted to, which I don't think it does want to do. I have trouble imagining the BDF shooting down its own people in the street, the way the Nigerian army (and the oil company-paid private militias) is able to do, and as the Guatemalan military and para-military death suads (for example) do every day with impunity.

Perhaps its lucky that Belize doesn't have oil, and that the natural resources it does possess are less fungible than oil. You need to distinguish between governments that are violent and terrorist and those that are simply more corrupt and less democratic than we would like them to be.

-answers to comments by Susan-
Your comments are quite right, but the wrong things I was trying to emphasize.
a) We have the same political system.
b) This system is built to enhance corruption.
c) That the system and political parties under the rules of this system caters to greed and selfish self interest, and does to the detriment of society because the organization of the structure is designed that way.
d) Therefore you cannot blame individuals who take advantage of the system for their own selfish self interest. Temptation and opportunity would ruin the morals of a saint.
e) That the system allows and encourages the ripoff, skimming of monies and indeed from Roman History and British History was meant to do so.
f) That when a country using this system has rich natural resources, the operators of the system ( British style political organized parties ) will establish a lock on the controls of government and subsequently get rich.
g) That for countries who are essentially bare bones poor and have no rich natural resources, the alternatives are borrowing foreign loans for (hic!) infra structure and running government, to the detriment of the country and future prospects. They essentially borrow the credit of the country and run it into the ground, ostensibly and for self rationalization purposes for the "national good", but which monies are therefore used to live the good life, while in power with autocratic controls over everything. ( see Jamaica!)
The next step, which is death squads ( Julian Cho?) and we had plenty of brutality and persecution during the Price Self Government years, comes with growth of population and GNP.

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