The last three consecutive general elections have been called very early. If we are to follow this precedence, we must expect Elections no later that 2019. It is rumored that it may even be called on the very day of the April 2019 referendum. Some may say, It would be a mistake of the UDP to do so; In my experience however, Mr. Barrow makes no mistakes. He has been strategic and very calculative in HIS affairs. Mr Barrow has been very successful in the Business of Politics, to the people’s detriment however, his leadership had utterly failed.
Which is why the upcoming General elections is extremely important. This Election is about the future of a great people. People who with no Leadership has lost direction and hope. Belize is a Country rich in natural resources, in timber and other forestry products, oil, gold, Uranium, fertile farmlands, and a rich Caribbean Sea with a living barrier reef. Our People are very few and rich in Culture, talents and with professional and managerial skills of the highest calibre; with the possibilities of great sustainable industries and small businesses, where workers and young students can have equal opportunities to scholarships, low interest loans, grants, contracts and concessions.
Mother Nature’s Best-Kept Secret
Yet today, Aside from the ultimate danger of losing our territory and identity; this country is faced with its most serious problems since independence…What has happened to our jewel? What happened to mother Nature’s best kept secret? Where are the values we used to share, where is the success and prosperity we were promised?
Through the red and blue political formulas, our confidence, self-respect, common sense and even our very humanity and patriotism are at high risk of extinction. Our Country is at the brink of disintegration.
Some of the reasons of these difficulties today are very complex and go back many years. Others are simpler and more recent. We must not lay all the blame on the PUDP that wouldn’t be kind, nor would it be true. The PUDP have however, been in power since Self Government and can not escape the major responsibility of our demise.
They have made our Country worse in three ways.
First, by practicing the politics of greed and by personally destroying every opportunity of creation of wealth within our poor and middle classes, they have set one group against the other in an often-bitter struggle to gain a larger share of an ever-weakening economy.
Second, by creating a mass acceptance of cronyism and nepotism, they have crippled ambition and effort on which developing countries depend on to strengthen its economy. Our Tour guides can no longer freelance, our people can no longer offer affordable room rentals in their homes to our struggling students…this is all because they want a piece of our cake before it’s baked.
Third, by taking for themselves all the privileges of our Nation’s wealth without taking on the responsibility of accountability and transparency to our citizens; by not distributing our wealth and economic opportunities, they have weakened the foundations of our nation!
We can still Save Belize
Belize’s economic decline is not inevitable. If our people can turn away from the PUDP and trust in true servant leaders…. we can reverse it! We are not assuming to have all the answers but we one answer that matters most. We must build the Nation, invest in our people; Help people to help themselves – and others. This is the way to restore that self-reliance and sustainability which are the basis of personal responsibility and national socio-economic success.
In promising to do too much, politicians have failed to do those things that should be done. This has damaged the country and the credibility of government. We must concentrate on what should be the priorities of any government. They are should be clearly set out by any future leaders in a clear plan of action and these leaders must be willing to sign a contract with the people of Belize. If we vote for you under these promises, then you must be legally forced to fulfill them.
Unity is Key
The first step in rebuilding our economy is to unite our people. After which 5 main goals are important
1) To restore and improve our economic and social life, by controlling inflation and creating viable sustainable economic opportunity for the poor and middle class as well as young graduates.
2) to create real incentives so that hard working, patriotic Belizeans’ birth right may be reinstated and encouraged to invest back home.
3) To uphold our constitution and not appease any self interest group.
4) To support family life , by helping people to become home-owners, raising the standards of their children’s education, and creating services to support of the old, the sick, the disabled and those who are in real need.
5) To Strengthen Belize’s defense by enforcing an assertive diplomatic stance as it relates to the Guatemala / Belize dispute and by allocating a salary increase for our forces and Police Officers, discouraging corruption and bribery and holding them to high moral and ethical standards.
Impossible to survive under the PUDP
Under both the PUP and the UDP, prices have risen faster than we can keep up with, and our salaries remain the same in some cases…but for the common labourer it has been lower than ever before. Inflation is now accelerating again. The Belizean dollar today is worth less than half of its value. On present form it would be halved in value yet again within eight years. Inflation on this scale can destroy our political and social stability. The increase of crime, lack of jobs, and lack of educational and economic opportunities are only a few effects of inflation.
To overcome inflation, proper financial discipline is essential, with publicly stated targets for the origin and rate of growth of the money supply. At the same time, an immediate reduction in the size of the Government’s borrowing is vital.
This government’s uncontrollable spending of borrowed monies with no accountability or transparency in place has done little or nothing to prevent inflation, as is proved by the doubling of prices no matter which of the two (red or blue ) come to power, All their budgets have achieved is massive loss of jobs and properties and a reduction in consumer choices. As we are witnessing in the obscene consumption of such unhealthy choices as RAMEN!
Strangling the Poor with Borrowed Money
Government, or better said, elected officials take too much of the nation’s income; its share must be steadily reduced. When they spend and borrow too much, taxes, interest rates, prices and unemployment rise so that in the long run there is less wealth with which to improve our standard of living and our education, our security our health and other necessary services.
Any government which sets out to honestly reduce inflation and taxation will have to make substantial economies, and there should be no doubt about how it will be done. We can not pretend that every saving can be made without change or complaint; but if the government does not economize the sacrifices and suffering of ordinary people will be much greater.
Important savings can be made in several ways. First by reducing the Authority of elected officials and put the power back into the hands of capable civil servants, starting with restoring the position of Permanent Secretaries, we must scrap expensive vehicles, action them and put those money back into the people’s hands; then find suitable vehicles that are feasible for our economic standard and useful for our unique terrain. We must reduce political intervention in industry, judiciary and distribution of lands.
The reductions of waste, bureaucracy, cronyism and nepotism, and reduction in ministerial salaries will also yield substantial savings.
We must cut importation Tax on all tools and farming equipment, this will reward hard work, responsibility and success; encourage creativity, production and technical innovation; we must lower property tax to encourage saving and the wider ownership of property; simplify taxes- like GST ; and reduce tax bureaucracy so its not so tedious and the ordinary man can feel comfortable doing his taxes.
Lower taxes on tools, farming equipment and property will encourage economic growth; But will not be enough to secure it . Opportunities are the foundation of a healthy , living economy. In Belize opportunities are stifled by nepotism and cronyism. Price controls can prevent them from reaching a level adequate for the investment needed. In order to ensure effective competition and a fair pricing policies , we must review the working of monopolies and contracts, as well as he legislation which governs such activities.
Assisting Local Industries & Small Business
Government’s strategies and plans can not produce revival , nor can subsidies. It is in the national interest to assist companies , small business and local industries in difficulties, but such assistance must be temporary. Transparent, and monitored. Job security in Belize depends a great deal on the success of small business and entrepreneurs. They have been especially hard hit under this administration and the past one. Our cuts in taxation , the simplification of GST and our general economic and industrial solutions are key. We must make borrowing restraints less rigid; reduce the number of official forms and make them simpler; provide safeguards against unfair competition. Labour laws must be amended where they damage smaller businesses and larger ones too and actually prevent creation of jobs.
Our Agriculture and food Industry are the real backbone of our Countries economy; they must be treated as such. Agriculture should be making an immense contribution to our economy, it should be providing jobs for more people. We once feed our country without the need of importing all our foods from abroad. Government has seriously undermined our farmers and the impact on profitability they can make. By undermining this industry , Government did not protect consumers against rising food prices which have more than doubled during their terms of office. We must have a minister that not only knows this industry but respects it and is humble enough to listed to the council of more educated / experienced civil servants.
Radical changes in the operation of every ministry of government are urgent and necessary . We can not continue to entertain the importation applications or proposals of those who seek to compete with our local producers. Not in this kind of economic environment…We must protect our people and give them time and incentives.
Our farmers are an important part of our agriculture industry. Those who live and work the soil should enjoy respect of our Government and a reasonable standard of living.
Our Fisher men and women are also suffering the penalties of Government’s failure to negotiate with community and environmental partners in this industry and such failure has left the industry in a state of uncertainty.
Still, the most disturbing threat to our economy, our freedom and our security is the growing disrespect for our laws.
In government as in opposition, both parties ( PUP and UDP ) have undermined it, yet Our constitution is what should govern us . We must restore it, re-establishing the supremacy of the constitution and its preamble and giving the right priority to the rejection of any citizens of counties that oppose our national integrity and independence as well as the fight against crime.
The number of crimes in Belize and the types of gruesome crime in recent times is unbearable for law abiding citizen’s . Our next Government must be able to spend more on the fight against crime while we economize elsewhere.
Belize needs a strong , efficient well paid police force with high morale. The police need more time to detect crime. So we must ease the weight of traffic supervision duties ( check points) which waste police time. We must review traffic laws and licencing, and equip officers with more authority to maned the check points.
Surer detection will mean surer deterrence.
We are in desperate need of better crime prevention measures and less flexible more effective sentencing for violent criminals and thugs really tough sentences are essential. But in other cases long prison terms are not always the best deterrent. So we want to see a wider variety of sentences available to the courts. We need to therefore amend our Criminal Justice Act which limits prison sentences on young adult offenders, and revise the laws on Children and Young Persons to give magistrates the power to make residential and secure care orders on juveniles.
We need more compulsory attendance centers for hooligans at junior and senior levels. In certain detention centers we can experiment with more compassionate alternative therapies for young offenders of petty crimes and mischievous acts; for certain types of offenders, we also support the greater use of community service orders, intermediate treatment and attendance centers. Unpaid fines and compensation orders are ineffective. Fines should be assessed to punish the offender within his means and then backed by effective sanctions for non-payment.
We must stop negotiating with Criminals or look for a cure as if its business or a disease…crime is a sin and we must punish it to the full extent of the Law.
Because our leaders must be our example, the next government we vote in , must be serious about investigating corruption and white collar crimes and we simply must send some of our leaders to jail…Lead by example we say…so lets start. It will also be good economic sense to cease any assets that were not rightfully earned and return them to the coffers of our government to become better used in the service of our people.