REPORT #547 October 2002

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

A few months ago, people in South Florida had a ballot at the local polling places, on which they voted on 19 different items. The official voting day is again on Wednesday, but early balloting started last Thursday and will run through next Wednesday. This ballot at the polling place has 39 items on the ballot. Now just compare this to voting and running your government in Belize? Two local ballots in less than six months, in one single year in nearby South Florida.

This ballot, even has a new piece of legislation, stating the size of cages to be used for pig farms. The television has all these news videos of poor pigs in tiny cages being force fed for the bacon and ham market. A lot of people will vote against those cages, as pigs are smarter than dogs and as smart as horses, which makes them as smart as most of the PUP Cabinet in Belize, wouldn't you agree? ( chuckle! ) The vote is about being humane and animal cruelty.

We shouldn't confuse political conniving and street smarts with being smart, in Belize. To be politically cunning and be smart are too very different things.

In South Florida there is going to be a vote for a new Governor of the State. There is going to be a vote for an increase in the local County Sales Tax, to supposedly finance mass transportation; but which the newspaper articles have been printing the small print that says; only about 20% has to go to mass transit. There are numerous state and local County and City election contests. Some judicial retentions, they vote for judges in Florida and Prosecutors at County and State level. There are some Constitutional Amendments. Several national Federal Congress seats. The State Lieutenant Governor, the State Commissioner of Agriculture post ( a Cabinet post, Cabinet Ministers are elected ), State Senator seats at the Federal level. Some State Elected Representatives. A Justice of the Supreme Court contest. And a bunch of Judges around the State of Florida for different courts, and Appeals court processes. All requiring the man in the street to elect their choice. Even a Member of the local School Board in one place.

Anyway, compare this participatory, consensual approach to democracy with what there is in Belize? In Belize, you get to vote for a village, or town council. And you get to vote for a political party local representative every fifth year. After that you do not vote in Belize at all, for anything? You have no voice in government. You cannot vote for laws governing pig cage sizes, or the size of the sales tax, or for a judge, or your local prosecutor, or your police chief. You cannot choose any policy at all. You are not allowed to do request a referendum through voters petitions. You are dictated too, in a Robber Baron ripoff, one party dictatorship system. You can only vote in Belize for the crooked party that has the right to clean out the treasury, run the country into debt and suffer under the one sided political persecution of a political police force and judicial system subject to the winning political party politicians, not to any laws.

Food for thought hey? You call that Democracy in Belize? Paaaaah! Belizeans have no idea what a working democracy is! The political elite do though, and they damned well do not want it for Belizeans.

Belize is about 15 to 20 years behind Jamaica in political evolution. And look at the mess Jamaica is in? Imperialism lasted for two hundred years for colonial peoples, while industrialized countries exploited them for resources and markets for their goods.

It took about 20 years since 1949 to get out of colonialism. In Belize it took a lot longer. But even so, leaders in Belize follow the pattern of Africa and most of the Caribbean, were their party leaders in a one party governing dictatorship were primarily interested in personal aggrandizement and wealth rather than in the long, hard toil needed to build a viable nation. Belize is still suffering like most of the Caribbean and Latin countries. The new indigenous Robber Barons in single political party run states, like Belize; are not eager to see democratic mechanisms be put into the Constitutions to bring the rewards of life under participatory and consensual democratic institutional restructuring. One would call Belize diseased, I suppose? But how do you cure the disease? In South America it has been mostly by revolution, but that has not always worked out either. What is the solution to cure the diseased situation of governing in Belize?

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