Sunday, March 30, 2008

Requiescant In Pace? Too Soon to Bury the Dead?

At the General Elections of 7th February, the people of Belize resoundingly underscored a message they had tried to send to the Musa/Fonseca conspiracy of dictatorship in the municipal and village council elections. But it appeared that these two could not hear us no matter how loudly we clamored for change from their status quo. Having lost on the national, municipal and rural stages, they tried to set the PUP stage for their victory at least at the party level.
So today, their own party, after years of willing entrapment in a gilded cage of their making, rejected them as we have, only not quite so resoundingly. Questions I have:
  • Will the duo in question learn that their sun has really, truly set? Or will their machinations go into even higher gear?
  • How much did their near-but-not-quite-there victory cost them? Though I imagine party funds oiled that machine, as foreign funds intended for us fueled 7th February’s failure at the national polls. That’s the kind of irony we onlookers enjoy.
  • What role will the Leader Emeritus assume now? Instead of going gently into the good night, he allowed himself to be used to endorse Francis, thereby shooting party democracy in its metaphorical foot. So quo vadis, Mr Price?

I think the greatest service rendered by the People’s United Party between 7th February and today is the shattering of their own myth of immortality. But did they punish the Musa/Fonseca combine enough to crush the philosophy of greed forever?

What’s next for the boys (and girls) in blue? Tell me your thoughts and ideas.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wish List

I have a wish list for Belize, and it's this:

  1. Give us back all the millions, not just the 40 we're talking about right now...WE WANT IT ALL BACK!
  2. Put a few people in jail (whoever you can catch, I'm not that choosy) as an example of what not to do to our country. Don't make the cells comfortable either.
  3. Make sure that when those people get out of jail, they and their friends are so poor, they have to beg for a job cleaning streets.
  4. Cut the PuppetMaster's strings -he has some around necks, and some attached to sticky, pudgy fingers. Cut them all clean. Leaders must lead for the benefit of the country, not its would-be owner.
  5. Make political leaders understand that their five-year contract with the voters includes a performance clause with regard to the whole economy, not just their individual cronies and constituents. None are more equal than others in the polling booth.
  6. Bring back hanging in a big take my life, society takes yours. Fair exchange is no robbery, right?
  7. Get the opposition party to wake up to its faults. You blues can't blame anyone but yourselves for your downfall, and we need you to accept that and move on to being a viable, strong, vocal opposition.
  8. Have the media keep up the good work, and let the voters continue to learn the power of words to avert misdeeds.

What are your wishes? Send in your comments.

Friday, March 14, 2008

From Fury to Disgust, A Round Trip

At a weekly rate, new and more horrendous horrors are revealed before our eyes. I'm concerned that as the avalanche of revelatory documents piles up above our heads, we may forget the lesser or earlier details. For instance, do you remember the founding of UHS? Yeah, there's a story there, just ask around.

My outrage though, comes from insult. I, along with the Belizean people, have had my intelligence, not to mention my sense of fair play, thoroughly insulted, beyond the obvious financial injury committed. Remember when the former government, with grande temerity, suggested that they had supported UHS because Belize needs a tertiary care institution? How severe is the amnesia which collectively struck them. Francis, our Presumptive Party Leader, the Man, the Voice of Integrity, jumped into the media fray with that excuse when the guarantee story broke. He honestly forgot, poor lost boy, that there was a tertiary care institution with a much longer and less tarnished history than UHS. Any guesses? If Belize Medical Associates was your guess, then congratulations, you've managed to avoid contracting PUP Amnesia, a deadly disease that can kill political ambitions.

Now, having conveniently forgotten the existence of Belize Medical Associates in their quest for tertiary care salvation, the engineers of this debacle also could not carry out simple mathematical calculations. They couldn't even estimate that simply investing in developing the KHMH could give that tertiary care access they were crowing about. Don't quote me on this, but apparently it might even have cost less than 10 million Belize Dollars!

Making matters 40 million times worse, the Prime Minister of Belize, as he then was, decided that the founders/owners of UHS and their private sector lenders needed a government guarantee and loan terms that would ensure that, should they fail, they wouldn't be the ones to suffer. And, this I am willing to admit, he did a sterling job of it. None of them have yet convinced any of us that they are suffering. Nover forget that it's the safety net that takes the licking when the acrobat falls from the trapeze.

When we found out, we weren't our customary complacent selves. We protested mightily, we protested with all our lung power, all our brawn, all the energy we could muster. We told our leaders, the guys who we'd elected to represent our interests, that the whole idea of having taxpayers take on the oversized debt of a gluttonous private sector institution was distasteful, absolutely unacceptable. We told the lender to take our country to court, and warned him that we wouldn't give in without a fight. When the 'lee breeze' showed signs of reaching hurricane strength, the government backed down, or so we thought.

Calmness restored, the government went about the business of selling UHS. When they announced success, the lies began again, assuming they had ever stopped. On that now-famous radio show, the soon-to-be-ousted Prime Minister was forced to reveal that yes, he had condemned, er, committed, the government to spending $3.6 million per year at UHS, whether or not services of equivalent value were received. If that wasn't an election loser, I've no idea what would qualify for the title.

Fast forward to present revelations. We find that our exorbitant debt is paid in full, against our wishes. We further find that we have bought a hospital we do not own, with money we never had. "Curiouser and curiouser," quoth the current Prime Minister.

What could we have done with $40 million dollars? Money that was a gift to help us out of our artificially imposed poverty and misery? It helped, yes. It helped the undeserving few as they continued on their merry way, robbing the poor to give to the dirty rich. I'm outraged, and so should you be, because the moral of this particular story is that morals are increasingly decayed, decomposed in fact, almost beyond recognition. It is the ultimate in safe guesses that none of the major players in this chapter of our tragedy believes that they've done anything wrong. As citizens and taxpayers, it's our duty to point out at every opportunity that we will never accept such cavalier treatment of our resources ever again, by anyone.

If we don't, then the last lines of Edgar Allan Poe's, 'The Raven' becomes our curse. "And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor/Shall be lifted - nevermore!"

Nevermore, that's the watchword and don't you let them forget it.