By: Neri Briceño
I extend my congratulations to both Prime Minister Dean Barrow and the UDP for the victory achieved in last week’s General Elections. It was a hard fought fight, but ultimately the party was victorious, which should translate into an overall victory for the party and the people of Belize.
Political campaigning is never an easy, fair, or tasteful task, but the job of governing one’s people – unlike campaigning, must always be a fair and just one. After the brutal political campaign that just took place, it is now a time for political healing, nation building and for the people of this great nation to move on and concentrate on the task of uplifting the lives of ALL Belizeans regardless of one’s political allegiance. The Prime Minister, his party and the government are key catalysts in that movement.
As the nation and the international community look at the composition of key members in the administration, I am pleased to see the inclusion of more women.
Yet I am appaled that there is not a single substantive post held by anyone from the South. The nation hopes that this is not a continuation of the age old political tradition of ostracizing those that do not support any given party. I feel that this is no coincidence, since the voters in the south handsomely rejected the ruling party.
The Prime Minister must now bear in mind that he is the Prime Minister of all Belize, from the Rio Hondo to the Sarstoon and to the citizens of all political persuasions. Whether the opposition or any other organization or individual likes it or not, he is the most powerful man in tiny Belize. But with power comes great responsibility and I advise that it be used with great caution.
It is no secret that the last administration showed signs of greed, corruption, nepotism and vindictiveness, and as we see, some new faces in the current administration, we hope that this will be something of the past. We expect that the wealth, resources and opportunities of this nation will be equally distributed to all citizens of this nation and the pillaging of wealth by high ranking officials and the political elite will stop.
Under the previous watch, ordinary men became millionaires. And whether we chose to admit it or not, we have lost footing to the Guatemalans and continue to appease them.
But we will not reflect on the past because as citizens we are all looking toward a bright future with Mr. Barrow at the helm. His party has won because there is a portion of the population who still have a certain degree of confidence both in him and his party and genuinely believe that he can uplift the lives of all Belizeans and in the process, make the nation better.
As for the critics who are saying that Mr. Barrow leading us into a dictatorship, I am convinced that he is a wise enough leader to not even contemplate such an idea. A third term should bring a better life for all Belizeans. The mistakes his administration made in the past will not be tolerated this time around and we cannot have a case where a portion of the population lives high off tax payer’s public funds while another portion suffers. This will simply not happen and will not be either encouraged or tolerated.
Only the Prime Minister can make the difference in the lives of thousands of Belizeans. We have confidence that he will do the right thing and be the leader for ALL Belizeans so that history will remember him as such and not just a three-term Prime Minister. Churchill once summed up the American ethical approach by saying, ‘you can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.’ Belizeans tend to do the same.
While it is the general belief of this administration that those of us who dissent are against the party, allow me to reaffirm that that is not the case. We respect the leader of the nation but at the same time, we have a right and obligation as responsible citizenry in any democracy, to keep an eye on our government.
It’s all about the people!