From the mind of Gerald Chavannes Jr.
Very thought provoking article surrounding the impending referendum on whether to submit the Guatemalan territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice.
From the mind of Gerald Chavannes Jr.
Very thought provoking article surrounding the impending referendum on whether to submit the Guatemalan territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice.
In our quest to understand…we must educate ourselves. Having a keen understanding of the Guatemalan claim on Belize will enable us to decide. It should also motivate us to let our leaders know where we stand on this issue.
For several reasons, I vote…
Amidst the hustle and bustle of trying to convince people either way on this issue, some things are being left out that I think are important factors that the people MUST know ahead of any other words that they would be listening to.
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While there have been many great football players in our history [such as Stud Hendricks, Enrique Carballo, Bud August, Cristobal Mayen, Ricky Gongora, Buck Torres, Joe West, etc.], their talents and skills were rarely showcased abroad other than the occasional tour to Mexican or Central American cities in what were mostly exhibition games. And while there were great teams in the 70’s and early 80’s like the mighty Avengers [Cayo] Milpros [Belize City] Sugar Boys [Orange Walk], it was not until in the club team concept took hold in the late 80’s and early 90’s that powerhouse teams like Juventus [OW] Acros [Belize City] Verdes [Benque Viejo] Victoria [Corozal] started making headlines in the region. Who can forget those memorable JUVENTUS victories at the People’s Stadium against big name Honduran and Guatemalan club teams featuring the likes of the Tun brothers [Freddy, Marcelino, Donnie], the Hendricks brothers [Oliver, Christopher, Dean], the Canul brothers [Peter, Kenny] and of course Raul Celiz, the meanest mid-fielder from the village and the national team player with the most caps to date. All homegrown Orange Walk talent I might add…
Having said that however, our national football team of today routinely plays in huge stadiums in front of 25,000+ hostile fans all across Central America, Mexico and the USA, which is more than can be said of our national teams of old. I’ll never forget a 2-0 loss to CONCACAF powerhouse Mexico in front of 55,000+ people inside Reliant Stadium in Houston. We are now playing man-to-man football against Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador without bringing home dozens of goals against and if that weren’t enough; Deon McCauley was among the three  highest scorers in the recent world cup qualifiers leading up to Brazil 2014. If that’s not progress then I don’t know what is. I would even venture to say that the last couple years, beginning with our historic participation in Gold Cup 2013 and culminating with that epic game against Guatemala on Sunday, has seen the best international performance of our national team to date.
Nevertheless, as a football country we have a difficult uphill struggle ahead of us and it will take a collective effort as a nation to move our sport forward. We can no longer sit on our sofa and criticize the FFB or GOB when our national team loses. Our national team should be a source of pride and a reflection of our talent countrywide, featuring the best players available domestically and internationally. The FFB needs to be instrumental in this endeavor, spearheading initiatives in every district at every age level thereby fostering a suitable environment nationwide where our players can excel and our youth can develop their talent. There must be a national football structure where a child can enroll as a 12 year old in any of our district tournaments and if the system functions, that same child can work his way through the U-15, U-17, U-19, U-21 levels and eventually emerge as a member of our Men’s National Football team at the disposal of any sitting national team coach. The basic function of a national football federation is to maintain this continuity across the country with the help of the local associations at the district and school level. There are numerous regional support mechanisms and assistance programs in place which are accessible through CONCACAF and FIFA and which the FFB has at its disposal in order to achieve this goal.
A functioning FFB with a proven track record of results and transparency will have more credibility and trust in the business community and should therefore be able to garner much needed assistance, whether financial or logistical, from both the public and private sectors of the country.
Given the realities of our economy however, it would be unrealistic to expect the FFB to single-handedly transform our status quo. As I understand it; the welfare of the people should be the supreme law in our country and the institution mandated to ensure this is so is the Government of Belize [GOB].
Jerry Jones [owner of the Dallas Cowboys] recently convinced the city of Arlington TX to destroy many buildings, homes, businesses in an area along Collins Ave next to Rangers Ballpark in order to build a huge billion dollar stadium for his team. Nowadays, when the Dallas Cowboys play a home game in Arlington, 85,000 fans converge in the city booking out all hotels, patronizing all the restaurants, keeping the taxi cabs busy, tipping waiters, forcing the Rapid Transit system [buses and trains] into overtime mode, not to mention keeping all the concession stand employees inside the stadium employed while generating millions in revenue for the city in the form of taxes and fees.
Moral of the story: Basic Economics
Is it too far-fetched an idea to visualize something like this in the Jewel? What is the function of the Ministry of Sports if not to concentrate on everything having to do with the development of sports in the country? If the FFB is to someday be successful in its quest to develop a national grid of players, coaches and referees skilled enough to compete and participate in regional competitions; GOB through the Ministry of Sports MUST do its part in providing the necessary infrastructure for these athletes to practice their respective discipline and hone their skills. In this day and age, where a government can magically come up with millions of dollars to fund an election every five  years, it is utterly ridiculous that our country as a whole cannot provide ONE suitable facility that meets regional, let alone international standards. It is a shame on any government [past or present] for not having the vision and wherewithal to make this basic mandate a reality for the benefit of its people. Sadly, it is also a shame on us the citizens of Belize for not demanding that this be done. Like a child that does not cry for milk and does not get fed, if we don’t demand it we will never see it done. It is heartbreaking to see our boys on the field fighting gallantly against better-prepared players whose only advantage is the fact that they come from a better system.
Lest the naysayers and couch critics overlook a very important fact, I will close this commentary with the following statistics:
Belize played 3 games, received 6 goals against [3 of which were unfortunate own goals] and scored 1 goal. Nicaragua played 2 games, received 5 goals against and scored none. Honduras, a country that recently participated in the World Cup no less, played 3 games, received 3 goals against and scored none.
I will never lose hope. WIN, LOSE OR DRAW…I AM BELIZE
‘The Welfare of the People is the Supreme Law”
How many times have we heard the following words, “Police visited the scene of a shooting incident in Belize City where they saw the lifeless body of Jane Doe lying dead with apparent gunshot wounds to the head. Initial investigations reveal…” and of course we all know how this news story ends.
All indications are that our gun-toting youths in the old capital haven’t missed a beat and the shots keep ringing out on city streets, sometimes in broad daylight. And while the city remains the crime capital of the country, recently even quiet rural communities have been seeing their share of gun violence.
By January 7th of Year 2013 no less than 7 people had died in the city, culminating with the gruesome execution scene on George Street where 3 bodies were found in a pool of blood. Relatively speaking, that’s one dead person per day. The sheer brutality of the crimes being committed in our communities is the kind normally seen on the gang-infested streets of South Central Los Angeles. As of this writing in March 2014, blood is still splattering on the streets of the Jewel. When did things get so ugly?
Recently as I flew out of the Phillip Goldson International Airport [PGIA] on a flight to Dallas, I looked down on Belize City and marveled at how small the city really is. To put things in perspective, the entire city could easily fit into one of the larger neighborhoods in any big US city. The city of Arlington is just a suburb of Dallas TX and has over 350,000 inhabitants. The parking lot of the Texas Motor Speedway can hold over 80,000 cars. The state of Texas is inhabited by over 26,000,000 people. It begs the obvious question, “Why is it so difficult to control a few hundred criminal elements in a city of less than 100,000 inhabitants?”
As I watch the hastily arranged press conferences routinely held by the authorities or sometimes by the Prime Minister of Belize himself along with key players in his administration [including the Minister of National Security, the Commissioner of Police and even the Brigadier General]; I am beset by a sense of frustration and helplessness. As a country, we do seem to be held hostage by the criminal elements who rule the streets and alleys where our children used to play and unfortunately, our leaders seem at a loss for ideas on how to stem the violence. Subsequent to the events that unfolded in Belize City in the early days of Year 2013, we learned that our government actually sat down with reputed gang leaders and paid them money in exchange for a truce. Word is we even provided a safe haven for them until the turmoil blew over. Is this the best we can do and doesn’t this approach legitimize the career choice of criminals?
My question is, “Should the dog wag its tail or should the tail wag the dog?”
When it comes to the crime situation in Belize, there are those that will clamor for stiffer punishment…more police…more jails and some even long for the days of the gallows when murderers swung by their necks in an upstairs room of Her Majesty’s Central Prison. Sadly, none of these options may be the answer given the ineptitude of our crime fighting authorities. Our poorly trained police officers cannot collect evidence and most of the time they themselves corrupt a crime scene. Our police officers cannot get a statement or confession unless they beat it out of suspects who according to the law are innocent until proven guilty. Our public prosecutors cannot even build a case that will hold up in court and well-paid attorneys gleefully rip their arguments apart exposing all sorts of inconsistencies. One only has to look at the headlines of some our national newspapers to realize how woefully unprepared we are as a country to start punishing our criminals. Murderers walk away scot-free from what initially seem like open and shut cases while innocent citizens get punished wrongfully, sometimes because they simply can’t afford legal representation. Do we really want to give the state authority to exert capital punishment on our citizens when our police force does not even have the wherewithal to prove that someone is guilty?
For starters, some of our laws are so antiquated we may as well be living in colonial-era British Honduras all over again.
How else would it be possible for a suspect to be remanded 6 months in prison for possessing less than 0.1 grams of marijuana but a drunk driver can take someone’s life with a dangerous weapon [namely his vehicle] and avoid jail by paying what amounts to a pittance of a fine? How else would it be possible for a law-abiding farmer to be imprisoned for possession of a gun he had borrowed from a fellow farmer to kill farm pests but suspects who rob, kill and mutilate someone they were seen socializing with then throwing their victim in a latrine end up walking away free? Compounding an already dire situation is the fact that the Executive, Legislative and Judicial arms of our government are so intricately intertwined they may as well be in bed together. This arrangement results in our laws being applied selectively by those entrusted to enforce our laws since the enforcers are in fact nominated [read handpicked] by those that write our laws. It leads to ministers of government breaking the law and still remaining on the government’s payroll while calling themselves ‘Honorable’ no less. In the business world this situation is called a conflict of interest while in Politics it is called good old-fashioned corruption.
Ghandi once said, “Poverty is the worst form of violence”.
In trying to address the crime and violence that has besieged our country, perhaps our leaders should adopt the ’cause and effect’ approach. Instead of trying to capture and punish criminals, most of whom are our young teenagers, we should look at what causes them to turn to crime in the first place. According to a recent release by the Statistical Institute of Belize [SIB] [Amandala No. 2774], the national unemployment rate stood at 14.5% in 2013. This translates to a significant number of Belizeans being out of a job with no means of survival. When one thinks of the hundreds [if not thousands] of students and young adults that graduate into a jobless environment every year it baffles the mind and gives new meaning to the uniquely Belizean phrase that says “Tings haad out ya“. Can we honestly blame our disenfranchised children who walk the streets with nothing to do and nowhere to go? Gone are the days when children had to be in bed by 9:00 and up by 6:00. Gone are the days when children knew that elders and teachers are to be respected. Children of yesteryear had fathers and grandfathers as heroes…children of today look up to the likes of Vybz Kartel and Lil Wayne. Our children of today are growing up in single parent homes because their fathers are either dead, in jail or in the States. Our society is in moral decay and getting worse with every new generation that comes around. The old saying ‘It takes an entire village to raise a child” still holds true and if we are to right this ship, it will have to be a collective effort as a community. Government will need to fund more grassroots organizations geared at providing activities for the children, especially those without a father figure at home. Sports needs to be seriously looked at as an option for children and youths. We need more parks, sporting facilities, academies and camps where our children can develop their natural skills.
I recently read of a rare bipartisan effort by our parliamentarians as they joined forces in the house to pass legislation in order to avert repercussions from the Caribbean Financial Task Force. [Amandala – Feb. 2013] While the subject of the legislation will have to be addressed in another essay; it was with cynical interest that I read of the Prime Minister thanking the Opposition for their support. Wouldn’t it be nice if our leaders would get their priorities straight and join forces on the issues that really matter to the country? What if they would forget about the next election and jointly address the issue of crime, drugs and poverty? Isn’t it the mandate of government to find ways to improve the lives of the citizens whom they govern? Instead of squabbling on national TV about whose deeds or misdeeds are worse, how about focusing on the job at hand? How about rolling up our sleeves and jointly figuring out what we can do about the GDP, national deficit, unemployment, inflation, illiteracy, crime, drugs, violence, the cartels ? How about our missing children, domestic abuse, child abuse, infrastructure [or the lack thereof], foreign investment, tourism, illegal immigration, ineffective laws, corruption, integrity commission, the Guatemalan territorial dispute and a whole plethora of issues too numerous to mention.
In trying to make sense of the senseless violence gripping our country one inevitably has to consider all the other ills since they go hand in hand. There will always be anti-social people in any community. There will always be those that don’t fit into society for whatever reason. Always have…always will. Hence the reason for a police system, courts and jails. However, jail must always be the last option and if we insist on throwing everyone in jail then all we’re doing is creating criminals. It is only by providing an option other than crime for our youths that we can hope to eventually stem the tide of violence. It is only by fostering a better environment at home for our children that we can hope to catch them before they fall by the wayside. Just as the dog must wag its tail, the cart must not be put in front of the horse…
The truth [may sometimes] be an offense…but never a sin. [Marley] A hard-hitting article like this may make many Belizeans squirm in their seats but the fact remains, this struggle began years ago and the solution while complex, is not impossible…
A lot has been said, fingers have been pointed but does any of it make a difference? Will anything change? No. Why? Because we aren’t really interested in a solution. Many feel that what is happening in the South Side is irrelevant to their lives. The district people get on the bus and go home as soon as they are finished with whatever business dragged them into the city. The city folks jump into their air conditioned cars and drive to their burglar barred homes and wait for the chaos to blow over. An overriding sentiment seems to be ” I wish they would just hurry up and kill each other out.” Horrified yet? Maybe. Maybe not.
The self righteous religious people pray to God and assure themselves that the only reason these gang bangers are dying is because they need Jesus. They just need to pray and everything will…
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During the days leading up to the recent Elections in the Jewel, there was a grand uproar about the nationalization of immigrants by the ruling United Democratic Party. While there were some valid concerns raised; much of the criticism was politically motivated and to some degree hypocritical since in reality, the mad rush to secure votes is an established, albeit corrupt practice by both political parties. Politics and demographics aside however, I feel compelled to express my thoughts on a subject that comes close to home.
In 1990 an American doctor in California who had just delivered my daughter said to me, “Just think, in eighteen (18) years you’ll be able to apply for a US green card.” [I remember thinking to myself…I don’t need no damn green card…in eighteen years I’ll be home in Belize.] As it turns out, here I am in the USA twenty-one years later, just months away from finally getting that elusive card which I hear is not even green anymore. During the finger-printing process at the Immigration office, I faced a uniquely American predicament. When asked why I hadn’t marked off the Hispanic box as my race, I explained to the officer that its because I am not a Hispanic but a Mestizo. He didn’t seem amused so I opted for ‘Race Unknown’. Had he been any nicer, I would’ve pulled out my Destination Belize magazine and given him a lesson in geography…but keep them guessing is what I always say.
The truth be told, of all the labels and categories that are flying around these days, the only one I embrace whole-heartedly is ‘Belizean’. The question is, what does it mean to be a Belizean? And is there such a thing as a true Belizean? Who among us can say with certainty that he/she is a real Belizean? There are some who would argue that our country is a melting pot, somehow suggesting that everyone and everything has merged with one unique result…one unique Belizean face as it were. I tend to disagree with this concept simply because one only has to look around in Belize to see that we are in fact many different people, many different cultures. I do agree that as Belizeans, we share many common traits and customs regardless of what region we come from but by and large we remain a country where different types of people with varied influences co-exist peacefully.
While recently this peaceful co-existence has been shattered by inner city crime brought on by widespread drug activity and gang conflict, Belize still remains a relatively safe ‘haven of democracy’. And those that disagree are urged to ‘check out the real situation’ in our neighboring Central American countries. An author named Regina Brett once wrote,”If we all threw our problems in a pile and we saw everyone else’s problems…we’d gladly grab ours back.” Having said that, it is this very situation in our neighboring countries which adds another dimension to our otherwise ‘peaceful Belizean co-existence’.
Immigration, whether legal or illegal, has existed since the beginning of time and forms part of the fabric of any society. Some countries build fences, some countries stiffen laws while others simply patrol their borders with guns in an effort to keep people out. Judging by the fact that there are over 12,000,000 illegal aliens in the US, it is safe to say that there’s not much that can stop the flow of people across the land. If the historians are to be believed, I am the result of one such mass emigration of refugees of Mayan and Mestizo descent that occurred during the 19th Century Caste War. The town I was born in is in fact the site of an important battle that occurred during this very war when an Icaiche Mayan leader named Marcus Canul invaded what was then British Honduras.
So what does that make me…a Mayan…a Mestizo…a Refugee…an Immigrant…an Alien…a Spanish…a ‘Paisa’…or perhaps a ‘Panya’?
Please…I AM BELIZE!
I am a Belizean, born and bred. I may look like a Mestizo…I may have a Spanish name…I may eat a Mayan dish made of corn wrapped in a plantain leaf but I am as Belizean as the logwood cutter on the Sub Umbra Floreo. I am as Belizean as George Cadle Price. I am as Belizean as Andy Palacio…or Julian Cho…or Phillip Goldson. My grandfather on my dad’s side told us stories of his days working on the railroad system in Gallon Jug. He also worked on the tugboats pulling logs down the New River. As children we went to bed listening to him telling Bra Anancy and Bra Tiger stories. My grandfather on my my mom’s side helped build what is now the BSI factory from the ground up when it was called Tate & Lyle. He told us stories of his days as a free-wheeling marimba player in Benque Viejo del Carmen. He also had many stories to tell about his days spent in the jungle as a chicle cutter. I also have roots out West so my Belizean experience runs the gamut of everything Belizean. My mother was born in Cayo and grew up in Middlesex down in the deep South while my grandfather toiled on the orange groves and yes…Mom can bubble up some serious Sere and Creole Bread on our back-yard ‘Fya Haat’ using nothing but a cut-off drum and a pair of ‘Kiss-Kiss’. So can I safely claim my Belizean birthright?
You better bet your plate of rice n beans that I can…
There’s no one group of people that can claim to be more Belizean than another group of people. Its all a matter of Historical Demographics. The Europeans didn’t discover this new world. They stumbled on a land inhabited by intelligent people living in harmony with the land. These would be the native people, my ancestors. These so-called ‘Conquistadores‘ destroyed the land and its people then went to Africa for more manpower. Need I remind everyone what happened next? We are all descendants in some shape or form of those people that suffered at the hands of the European oppressors. The Kriol language we speak is basically the language of the slaves as they tried to emulate the masters. Ironically, that language has become the single most recognizable characteristic of any Belizean. It is something we should embrace and celebrate…it is what makes us unique and different from any other group of people in the entire world. So don’t question my Belizean-ness please…I am a Jewelizean to da bone with a serious case of Reggae-mylitis…
Ah Vibes Alive seh suh!! Vex if unu wah Vex…me nuh business
“See me and kno me dah two different ting’
Leadership is the ability to guide, energize or direct an organization, movement or country towards the accomplishment of a common goal. Leaders shape the destiny of that organization, movement or country and many times the organization, movement or country is defined by such leadership. Leaders are the force that determines the success of their organizations, movements and countries. The study of leaders and leadership qualities is vast and expands centuries. It covers numerous factors such as religion, politics, socio-economics, etc. It would be difficult to cover all the different types of leadership styles and theories in this piece.
Researchers have agreed that there are certain traits and characteristics that are normally associated with being a successful leader. The physical attributes are height, age, appearance, sex appeal, as well as, character traits such as honesty, integrity, vision, competence, integrity, enthusiasm and persistence. Leaders must be intelligent, progressive, decisive, and inspire confidence…
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Upon hearing news of the recent changes in the FFB Executive, I couldn’t help but feel a little vindicated. Those of us that love the sport of football have always known that our country was stuck in a rut. A rut largely created by the amateurism of our football authorities and their utter disregard of regional and international standards of development. Now that change has finally come, it is my fervent hope that our sport can be elevated to the level it belongs.
Below is an article I submitted to Amandala over a year ago after our boys had returned from Panama. Prior to that I had also submitted a piece during our hapless participation in the World Cup qualifiers in 2004. Both articles called for Chimilio’s removal as head of the FFB and so it is in this light that I re-post them…for reference to those interested in our football.
Posted: 24/01/2011 – 09:06 PM
Author: Omar Ayuso
Subject: Football Federation of Belize
Date: Wednesday, January 19, 2011
People of Belize,
If there ever was a time for a shakedown of the controversial Football Federation of Belize [FFB] it is now. In light of our National ‘A’ Team’s valiant but disappointing performance at the Central American UNCAF tournament in Panama, I demand immediate and decisive action from those in power to ensure that Belize’s humiliation on the international football stage stops.
Dr. Bertie Chimilio: Do the right thing and step down. For too long you have wreaked havoc on the national sport of our country, demonstrating poor judgment and little regard for our pride and patrimony. Your unilateral decision to play a home and away game using Guatemala as a home country remains one of the worst decisions ever made by any high ranking Belizean authority. Your arrogance and maniacal thirst for power coupled with your lack of transparency overshadows anything positive that may have been achieved by the FFB under your tenure. Contrary to popular belief, every proud Belizean is a stakeholder in the sport which you so recklessly mismanage, and as such we all have a right to demand your immediate removal as President of the FFB. Just as stakeholders in a corporation can remove a CEO that has failed to achieve corporate goals, we demand your immediate removal for failing to improve our FIFA standing…straight like that!
Mr. Minister of Sports: The FFB will have you believe that political intervention in their affairs will result in sanctions and possible expulsion from FIFA, and unfortunately, they are right. However, expulsion isn’t the end of the world, and it may actually be a good thing for our football at this stage. Given the horrendous performance of Chimilio and his lackeys, it behooves us as a country to choose the lesser of two evils, so long as it results in the removal of an inefficient group of people whose only crowning achievement has been to drag our national pride in international mud. I can name numerous countries that have had to re-apply for FIFA membership for reasons far worse than political intervention, including Cameroon, Guatemala and even South American powerhouse Chile. So, Mr. Minister of Sports, show some ‘testicular fortitude’ and dissolve the FFB, send Chimilio and his cohorts packing, and conduct fair elections to form a new executive whose first mandate would be a public audit of the federation’s financial realities. Mr. Minister, Bob Marley once sang, “Rise, oh fallen fighter, rise and take your stand again… only he who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day.” In two (2) years we can re-apply to FIFA and come out blazing at the next UNCAF tournament. Simple!
People of Belize: Actions speak louder than words, and there is no better time for action than now. There are names like Enrique ‘Wico’ Carballo, Elvis ‘Cricket’ Crawford, Orvin ‘Stud’ Hendricks, Ricky Gongora, Cristobal Mayen, Juvencio ‘Bud’ August, to name a few, that will forever live in our collective memories because of their heroics on the football pitch. It goes without saying that had these national football heroes lived in any other country, there would be stadiums and streets named after them. I am sick and tired of listening to these foreign media people talking condescendingly about my country and our “poor technical skills and lack of football talent”. Having come of age with players like Norman ‘Tilliman’ Nunez, Charlie Slusher, David ‘Manu’ McCaulay, Christopher and Oliver Hendricks, Freddie, Marcelino and Donnie Tun, Raul Celiz, among others, I daresay there is no lack of talent in our country. What is obviously lacking are true leaders with vision who can steer our football in the right direction, harnessing young talent and fostering the timely development of players through the amateur stages of their careers, leading up to their introduction into the professional arena. Are we going to allow another batch of Belizean players to fade away and languish in obscurity like their predecessors?
It will take a concerted effort between the public and private sectors if our football is to emerge from the throes of pathetic amateurism in which it finds itself today. The international goals scored by our boys in Panama should be a source of pride for every true Belizean, and they should serve as a reminder that with proper training and conditioning, we are capable of greatness. It is time our leaders recognize the importance of sports as a natural resource and not simply as a pastime. And NO…a hastily arranged marathon to further your election bid won’t cut it anymore, Mr. Politician! We need infrastructure, training facilities, technical assistance, FIFA approved venues, marketing and cold, hard cash… yes, Mr. Politician… the same kind that is being dished out to secure votes at the spectacular conventions these days.
Finally… having attended Belize’s World Cup qualifying match against CONCACAF powerhouse Mexico at Reliant Stadium in Houston, I can’t remember seeing any PUP or UDP flags waving… all I saw were Belizean flags… all I heard was Belize! Belize! Belize! For one fleeting moment in 2008, Belizeans the world over were united as one people, united behind a group of young Belizean kids who had become true ambassadors of our little country. When is the last time any political ambassador from Belize achieved such a feat? Food for thought, people!
Sincerely, Omar Ayuso
Proud Citizen of the City of Orange Walk
“The only time a politician is telling the truth is when he’s calling another politician a liar.” [Alfred E. Neuman]
So the dust is finally settling in the Jewel after the victory parades and post-election rallies celebrated across the country. Word reaching us out here ‘da foreign’ is that for a couple days you couldn’t tell which political party had won because both were parading until the wee hours of the morning. Now that reality has sunk in it has become apparent that the Belizean voter has had the last laugh after all. What had been projected as a landslide victory by the party pundits on either side turned out to be a hotly contested race that went right down to the wire. In a result reminiscent of the Bush-Gore elections on this side of the border when Bush inherited the White House even though the majority of US voters had voted for Gore; the United Democratic Party was ushered into a second term of office although almost 50% of the Belizean people voted for the other side.
The history books will abound with reasons for the PUP defeat and the supposed effect that Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde’s political defection had on the election results but at the end of the day; the UDP has won and me thinks its now time for less talk and more action. Tell that to the PUP, however, who are reportedly contemplating legal action against the UDP for purported violations and election fraud. Whether their arguments have legal grounds or whether its just a case of sour grapes remains to be seen. For sure the Jewel remains divided almost exactly in half along the traditional party lines. Deja Vu if you ask me…
My grandfather used to say, “thief thief thief”…
Given the predictability of Belizean culture, is it fair to assume that had the UDP lost by as narrow a margin as the PUP did; it would be them raising hell about corruption and election fraud? And was it right for the UDP to deny the PUP an opportunity to contest the results? Would the PUP have done the same were the tables turned? From where I’m standing, I think the PUP lost their own elections because the blue machinery didn’t do their homework. In the words of one of my brothers, its a classic case of ‘Cuda mi, Shuda mi, Wuda mi‘.
Personally, I rather like the idea of an evenly divided house rather than one where a single party dominates and has free rein to run our laws and our constitution into the ground. Now all the Jewel needs is for our lawmakers to start behaving like adult elected officials on Fridays during cabinet meetings rather than like college fraternity brats in a bar. Nothing riles me up more than watching our so-called leaders engage in a mockery of the House of Representatives while party puppets cheer them on in the galleries upstairs.
Like I always say people…the world is watching.
If a 16 yr old Belizean kid gets d sense…then there’s hope for us all mi seh… May the struggle for independent thinking continue…
Our country is polarized by politics so much so that in the past 30 years of our short independent history, representatives from both political parties have rarely, if ever, united amenably for the betterment of our country as a whole. Instead, they eradicate or undermine policies set in place by the previous administration, essentially starting policy making from scratch. This, I believe, is one of the major reasons why our country has found such difficulty in making large economic, social and cultural strides towards a better Belize. If I were given the opportunity to lead this nation as its prime minister, my first order of business would be to create a master plan for the next 10 years in Belize. It will be a realistic, but challenging and robust blueprint that includes the prospective future for healthcare, industry, immigration, housing, education and other factors.
Among the many things I will…
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