2016 Independence Day Musings of Paco Smith
For Belizeans and true friends of Belize, across the globe, 21st September is a significant date. After all, it represents the day on which we obtained our “independence” from Great Britain. Note I placed the word “independence” in quotation marks. The reason being that based on what I have discerned via the socio-economic and political milieu, I have reason to query just how “independent” we truly are. With the advent of geo-political forces and their dictatorial demands which are tearing away at the last remaining sinews of sovereignty, held by Belize, of all things, they dare put into question the validity of the very territorial integrity which accompanied our “independence” on that wonderful day, 35 years ago. By way of the PUDP’s FAILED “4A Policy” of: APPEASEMENT, ACQUIESCENCE, ACCOMMODATION and ADHERENCE, illegal Guatemalan usurpers enjoy more rights than native Belizeans within our sovereign territory, as is the case in the southern Toledo District. Illegal Guatemalan fisherman operate with impunity and use highly destructive gill nets, which subsequently decimate our marine life in the Sarstoon River. To complicate matters, our spineless, elected Representatives fail us by not ensuring appropriate policies are crafted and enforced, so as to protect our patrimony. Instead, Belizeans are marginalised and effectively disenfranchised from reaping the benefit of employing sustainable practises in the use of our natural resources. My stance on this and related issues is clear, as I recognise the Constitution of Belize as the highest man-made law of the land and it clearly outlines where Belize’s border lies, as well as all relevant information as it relates to our nation-state. Therefore, I reiterate my firm position that going to the ICJ, in the hope of settling Guatemala’s unfounded claim, is fool’s gold and without a doubt, is NOT beneficial to Belize. Hence, “NO to the ICJ!” is and shall forever remain my mantra, when it comes to the issues of: Guatemala, the inherent bias of the OAS and the Fifth Columnist PUPD element that persists in trying to have Belizeans slit our own throats, by advocating the asinine view that we must go to the ICJ. In keeping with the theme of those forces which are desperately doing their utmost to try and redefine not only our borders, but also the moral fibre of this nation, I need not go any further than to mention the recent moves by them to impose their foreign ideologies upon us, which are devoid of any moral foundation. Their deviant effort to redefine the family and by extension, the reality of humanity, has been undertaken via a juridical approach. Hence, the laudable concept of human rights has been hijacked and bastardised, so as to accommodate the agenda of a minority that fundamentally seeks to impose its will on others and simultaneously institutionalise bigoted behaviour that will be perpetrated against those who do not share their view.s Of equal concern is the fact that we have a spineless cadre of elected representatives who are fundamentally playing their role of being true neo-colonialists and simply going along with the programme of the former colonial masters. On the issue of the economy, let us be real. We are in a recession. There is absolutely no question that Belize is in its worst shape, in recent memory...at least in the past 35 years of “independence”. Yet again, due to the piss-poor neo-colonial orientation of our elected officials, of both hues, we are fundamentally living in state of extreme debt, with virtually nothing tangible to show for it. Indeed the rich among us tend to get richer and inevitably, the poor continue to become increasingly more disenfranchised. Add to this caustic mix, the unprecedented financial and economic follies of the government and you have rampant: nepotism, cronyism and a gross lack of accountability. In effect, we are living in a society whose governance is nothing to be desired. With increasing levels of corruption being stoked by a diabolical, narcissistic “leadership”, the prospects for any manner of substantive change emanating from this current administration, as well as those who comprise Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, is clearly nil. Hence we continue along this untenable, downward spiral. With corruption being par for the course in this “Land of the Free..For Some (NOT ALL), it stands that the elements of: crime, citizen insecurity and a lack of civility remain on a constant rise. If Belizeans choose to be honest, it would take but a cursory view of the myriad, self-inflicted problems facing this nation, to discern that quite frankly, we are in extremely bad shape. When one ponders the unmitigated failure of our policymakers to provide the security forces the necessary implements to effectively do their job, one answer comes to the fore. Our politicians are too busy hustling and doing whatever they can in a selfish binge to engorge themselves, without concern for those who they were elected to serve. The irony is that by way of even a perfunctory look at those who occupy the so-called “Honourable House”, it is clear that by the expansion of most of their waistlines, they have literally taken the notion of engorging themselves...literally! The list goes on and on, as it relates to the unmitigated, inexcusable and dare I say, criminal practises of those in high office. The recent scandal involving the wholesale, illegal vending of Belizean nationality and travel documents is but one such example. Of note, that area appears to be universally utilised by both sides of the ‘red & blue’ non-divide, for no sooner than the Auditor General’s damning report surfaced, the incumbent Barrow administration was quick to highlight similar transgressions perpetrated by a former Musa administration. Yet when I speak of the PUPD, the party-partisan politicos get offended. I deal with the realities that stare me in the face on a daily basis and the fact is that the degrees of separation between the two, political albatrosses (namely the PUP and the UDP) is miniscule to none. Let me expound on further transgressions of the sitting Barrow administration as it relates to their negligence. The most immediate point of reference involves their failure to honour a commitment to pay the teachers a 3% salary increase, which is long overdue. Instead of the policy-makers seeking innovative ways and means through which to increase the levels of efficiency in their respective areas of responsibility, the choose to follow the leader of the pack, and insist on crying wolf. Hence the cult of personality, otherwise known as the Cabinet, is but an embodiment of the lack-lustre and ineffective “leadership” of the one who heads it. I have always found it odd that by virtue of our system of governance, those who fundamentally win the national popularity contest, are bequeathed with the title, “Honourablle”, yet when one takes a close look at their activities, there is no question that such distinction is a farce, for many of them have far more skeletons in their closets, than you and me...combined! When I engage in the practise of bureaucrat-bashing, I am admittedly an equal opportunity employer. So this brings me to the recent move by PUP parliamentarians to declare their assets. Albeit noteworthy, that undertaking was clearly done for political expediency, under the guise that Belizeans remain asleep at the proverbial wheel. In effect, they remain guilty of half-stepping so to speak, in that the Prevention of Corruption Act (POCA) 2007 calls not only for elected persons to declare their assets, it also includes a fine which accrues on a daily basis for those who fail to file their particulars within a specified period. Specifically these fines include $100 for every day a representative is late in declaring their assets. Additionally, there is a $3,000 and $5,000 fine for first and second offences, respectively. Therefore, the PUP’s attempt at deception was ill-conceived, as they are not accustomed to the heightened level of consciousness that has entered the political arena. Indeed, gone are days when one side of the political non-divide could hurl baseless and trivial insults at one-another, knowing full-well that both are equally complicit and the end result would be a stalemate. Thus, giving credence to reality of the PUDP. In keeping with this realisation, I would be remiss not to mention the level of cognitive dissonance which, unfortunately abounds throughout our nation. I must make mention of this because for those die-hards who blindly support the ‘red & blue’, this is tragic, for staring all of us squarely in the face, is a self-induced recession of unheralded proportions, yet many remain dogged in supporting that which is not deserving of such commitment. In effect, due to the lack of vision and accompanying incompetence of elected officials and their cronies, across the board, Belize’s inept state of governance is a textbook example of the blind, leading the blind. Yet the caveat is that the former group, is well aware of that which they are doing and continue to deceive their followers, to the overall detriment of the nation. I could go on almost indefinitely concerning the maladministration and accompanying ineffectiveness and inefficiencies which characterise our state of governance. But at this point, I believe that I have provided enough fodder for those who are willing to call a spade a spade and recognise that continuing to support either side of the PUDP non-divide is tantamount to throwing in the towel and basically saying that you are satisfied with the state of the nation and the many corrupt practises which go hand-in-hand with the Deceptive, Diabolical and Deviant “3D Leadership” that has dominated this nation over the past 35 years. I pray that Belizeans are fast becoming impatient and increasingly unaccepting of the blatant political subterfuge which has our beloved nation of Belize conspicuously moving ever-so-closer to the brink of becoming a failed state. It is from this backdrop that I implore Belizeans, one and all, in addition to the true friends of Belize, to pause for a moment, amid the revelry of Independence Day and ask the elemental question, “Given the current (dismal) state of affairs in my beloved Belize, what am I truly celebrating?” So, as you wave our glorious flag and partake in the festivities on Independence Day, kindly stop and think of the despots among us, who seek to demonise those who dare stand up, to the Guatemalans who are continuously scheming to take away our patrimony. In addition, think about how your very own government, in cahoots with the Opposition, are actively encouraging you to cede our sovereignty to the jurisdiction of an international court, which seeks equity in its decisions, as opposed to doing the right thing and empowering Belizeans to take active ownership of all 8,867 square miles of The Jewell, by asserting our dominion over it, particularly in the outlying areas in both the southern and westernmost areas of the nation. Also think of the contrived injustices which are being committed against Belizeans, by the system, as many have the proverbial book thrown at them, for the possession of small quantities of marijuana, meanwhile ministers of government and their cronies, prostitute our birthright, our patronage and our Belizean identity for millions in personal gain, yet are never prosecuted. It is this manner of injustice that we should tackle head-on. In closing, I shall simply say, that we as a people must get our priorities straight. There is a time for everything and on a day like 21st September, our Independence Day, it is imperative that young, old, rich, poor and everyone both in between and beyond, remain focused on our current socio-economic and political situation. We must determine, based on the facts, the most prudent course of action. To this end, I remind you that gone are days of being relegated to choosing between the lesser of two evils. You now have a viable choice, beyond the PUDP. I, therefore, invite you to become actively involved in “The New Political Consciousness”, which possesses both the intent and wherewithal to do right by and for the people of Belize. Your Belize Progressive Party - BPP is not cut from the same cloth as that of the neo-colonialists to whom you are accustomed. Do not allow cognitive dissonance to impair your view. Take the necessary leap of faith with the BPP, as we create a productive and progressive environment founded on the supremacy of God and is steeped in fostering the sustainable human development required to move Belize beyond its current challenges and into a bright and vibrant future. With that, I wish you an Independence Day that is not only: Happy, Safe and Blessed, but one that proves equally as Reflective, for the future of our great nation depends on it. 8867 Today 8867 Tomorrow 8867 Forever
Belize Sovereign and Free - NO ICJ!