Thursday, June 18, 2009

On Dual Citizenship in the House

This isn't a long one, I just have a few questions that were forwarded to me:
  1. Who will benefit from amending the Constitution to allow dual citizens to sit in the House?
  2. Everyone seems to be thinking about Belizean-Americans, i.e. people who were born in Belize but have acquired citizenship in another country since. Has anyone thought about the other way around? Will people born in, say, Guatemala, qualify also?
  3. Will Economic Citizens qualify under this amendment?
  4. What restrictions can possibly be placed on such a person who may end up negotiating key agreements or treaties on our behalf with their 'other country.'
  5. Obviously, these dual citizens can then qualify for being Prime Minister -again, what happens when a Guatemalan Belizean sits in that position?
  6. Our relations with Taiwan are pretty critical to our financing these days. What happens if a Chinese-Belizean becomes PM and instructs that we vote against Taiwan in the U.N.?
I suspect that Item 6 hits close to home in an opposite kind of way, but any way it all goes, this notion cannot bode well for Belize, for all the above reasons and many more besides. If you have a problem with this amendment, be sure to speak to your area rep, and make sure everybody you know does so too.

We've sold our citizenship, let's not now give away our House!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Government As Business

You know, if my boss runs his business the way the politicians govern, I'd better start looking for a new job, because bankruptcy's right around the corner. Think about this, you have the market cornered on certain items, things that people are paying top dollar for. Then a man comes by, he has a fancy accent with the matching clothes, and he tells you that you aren't smart enough to maximize the use of those assets, so you'd better sell them to him. It turns out he's right, because you're stupid enough to do it! Then, having done it, you punish your regular and loyal customers because they haven't got the money to pay your bills so you can continue your lifestyle without cutting costs.

Our country has squandered so much of her wealth, and flushed so much of her moneymaking talent and potential down the toilet, that now we're economic slaves, reduced to begging at the feet of our global masters. This slavery will continue for at least the next couple of generations, because no one talented or disciplined enough to find a way out of it has yet appeared. Okay, not fair, we have had the talent, but either it's so crooked it can't see straight, or no politician will allow the talent to do what's needed because that'll derail the gravy train. The Solution of the Day for everything is to tax those who can't fight and not to upset those who give a lee trouble to pay.

The last set of idiots sold all our assets for a pittance, and then bought two utilites back, then resold one, then...oh, who can keep up? What I do know is that all these transactions cost us taxpayers in ways we still haven't yet uncovered. These same idiots put serious national revenue-generating opportunities into private hands for a pittance (and no doubt a commission), while they mortgaged our eyeteeth just to finance the government's daily operating costs.

Now the current idiots-in-charge, rather than looking to seriously correct these misdeeds, or to find new revenue-generating opportunities, merely decide to take on the con artist in the fancy threads, publicize the never-ending (and hideously expensive) battle so that we'll be impressed with their diligence, and do absolutely nothing else. Okay, maybe BEL would disagree that they are doing nothing else, but really, what have they done to create new sources of revenue for the country? Sell land? No, not really. I mean, land is being sold, but the revenue isn't going to official coffers, you read me?

Let me put it all another way: Monaco and Las Vegas got rich off gambling; Switzerland and Cayman get their wealth from offshore banking (sorry, Mr Barack), Panama's flag registry has done well for the country's bottom-line, and so on. Where are we? Nope, we've given away all that. Favourable taxes on gaming, offshore and flag registration in private hands...what else can we give away? Oh yeah, the Boledo! Or is that gone already?

According to Channel 7 last night, the government has lowered the gaming tax of 15% because the casinos were only paying 4% anyway, so they doubled the rate to 8%. Whaaaa.....? Guys, that's just schupid! You reward these guys for not paying their full tax by lowering it to half of what it was because then you'll be penalizing them by making them pay double what they were paying because they said that's what they could afford? Nawww man, that can't be it!

I guess I'm not as smart as some, because I'd have thought that the simplest way to do things would've been merely to enforce the law that the previous idiots let the casinos break. After all, looking at the amount of Belizeans who've lost their homes and businesses because of gambling, I wouldn't think casinos are having trouble making ends meet. And if they are having problems, let me hereby advise the government that 'things thin' with me too, so starting with my next paycheck I'm advising GOB that I can only pay 4% of my income tax...of course, if they want to lower my rate to 8%, I'm willing to negotiate.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Something Borrowed, Something Blue

You will agree that some of the actions of the previous government, especially in the latter half of its tenure, were atrocious. They were atrocious enough to incite riots and demonstrations, remember? Hell, the actions of the previous government are directly responsible for the mayor Belize City has today! How can we ever forgive them for just that one deed?

The current government though, that's the one in charge right now, so that's the one we need to focus on. And in less than two years, this mob has managed, using the chorus "the PUP did worse," to actually be worse than (or equivalent to) the notorious PUP in a surprising number of ways. For example:
  • What is this new and improved practice of giving import permits only to the party faithful and excluding the honest small businesses from the opportunity to better their lot? The PUP did it too, but this lot have taken it now to a fine and authoritarian, even monopolistic art. I guess they are better than the PUP, hmmm?
  • What about grants/loans to party faithful who don't need it? Old news, BLUE news.
  • What about contracts signed without authority, contracts with national impact that are forgiven by a casually tossed 'she meant well?' Yes, that seems familiar too.
  • What about ministers out of control, who get more out of control because their boss wants an impossible burden of proof from those who speak up? Deja vu strikes again.
  • What about the truckloads of contraband goods that pass through our ports and borders unchecked while a few villagers lose their two dory loads? Uhhh, check that off the blue list too.
  • So much more, little of it original, much of it refined beyond what the original inventors imagined. Our evolution is no longer from red to blue to red to blue. It's from bad to worse, and so on. Down the slippery slope we go!

Money rules, gang. The new, ultra-modern cardinal rule is: party before country, and money before all. If you wish to run for political office, remember that and everything else will follow automatically. For example, it will go without saying that doing the right thing or the lawful thing is neither essential nor even advisable. A reputation as a good and honest person will work against you in our political world. A conscience? That'll take you to the edge, man -political suicide follows that kind of thinking.

Mr. Barrow, is this what you want those of us in the next generation to learn?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wanted: An Honest Mayor

Remember West Landivar? The residents won their first round against David Gegg, but it's not over, I'm sure. As for King's Park, you can't have forgotten so quickly what happened there. Mr Wagons, a confirmed racist himself, decided to whip out that often-abused word to defeat the residents, and when it didn't work, he got Zenaida on his side...he's pretty blunt and open about how he did that. Now, residents can't park in their driveways and a formerly peaceful, family-type neighbourhood is overrun by traffic and container trucks, and the peace is gone. This one has been a public and nasty battle, and is a classic example of what Zenaida is and does -for herself, with no regard for right and wrong, legal or illegal.

But how many of you know about the quiet battle that Bella Vista has been fighting? The only neighbourhood in the country with zoning legislation in place, a quiet area of hardworking families, Bella Vista is now under siege from David Gegg and other unscrupulous individuals who think laws are for suckers. David Fonseca's City Council developed Bella Vista's legislation at the urging of the residents, and it is a model for the rest of the city's neighbourhoods to follow. Unfortunately, lack of political will (moral weakness, as I think of it) prevented his City Council from following through with enforcement.

Now, this UDP City Council is itself acting in contravention of its own legislation solely on the Mayor's orders. And where is Zenaida? Well, according to the evidence, firmly in the camp of the wrongdoers...Mr Gegg isn't shy about saying how he got her there either, and he has publicly and viciously insulted those residents who are simply asking that he abide by the law. One resident recently wrote a letter to the City Councilors as a last-ditch effort before taking the matter to court, and it is damning in its account of Her Lordship's inaction, obstruction and outright sabotage. The letter is also copied to the Prime Minister, to Doug Singh, and to Lee Mark Chang, but you may be sure that none of them will do anything to thwart the Mayor. Such is her power (and their weakness), and such is her untouchable corruption.

When she's under attack, the Mayor's standard practice is to sit with her questioners and say whatever comes into her mind as an answer people want to hear -usually lies, and often blatantly self-contradictory, not to mention self-congratulatory. Today she'll blame Cabinet for her ineffectiveness, then tomorrow she'll blame her Council. However, in all this the pattern is that she is never effective, and it is never her fault. A little bit of martyrdom, some implied gender bias, the humble mention of God, and the recipe is prepared for her continuing without recrimination from those who could control her.

Meanwhile, laws and morality become less relevant each day her rule continues.