The PM has finally done the inevitable and called the next General Elections. This is not the first time that early general elections have been called in the nation’s young history, but it is the first time it has been called this early.
They did it for one basic reason, the PM is confident and believes that both he and his ruling party (UDP) can win once again. By most accounts, the opposition (PUP) seems to be ready for the elections, but the bigger question is whether they are prepared? The only party that seems to have been caught totally off the pot, is the newly formed third party, which was in the process of getting its house in order and had not officially chosen a name for itself when the announcement was made. But regardless of all these factors, what is certain is that come November 5th, 2015 the faces in the House of Representatives will look different from the way it did before it was dissolved. Whether they are wearing blue, red or green (colour of the new third party) is something only the electorate can determine.
The PM is one of the most strategic politicians we have seen in recent Belizean history and his current track record for winning elections has proved that. The fact that the national treasury was bursting at the seams with borrowed monies at his disposal has also helped him tremendously. With scandal after scandal plaguing his administration virtually every week, the PM made the most strategic move he could and that was to purge the pool of potential area representatives who would contest the next General Elections. In the process, he added more women to give the party an appearance of inclusion and some of the rogue and obviously scandal-ridden representatives were removed. What the PM has presented is a new slate but what he really has, is a few, yet untested political new comers.
If elected again, nothing will change about the way the UDP manages the economy, addresses social issues, combats crime and corruption or charts the future of this nation.
What will happen, is that this group will become emboldened and if we believe that things are really bad now, just wait to see what happens if we give them another term.
The UDP has skillfully studied and copied all that was negative about the PUP while they were in power. Nepotism is rampant in the party and it’s almost as if we have replaced one set with another.
However, the one area of hope is that there are indeed people in that organization like in the PUP and in the alphabet soup of third parties who truly love this country and are worthy of both the people’s vote and support. Hopefully these individuals will be the catalysts that will create change for a new Belize.
The PUP on the other hand, after suffering massive losses at the poll, originating from the vile acts of Ralph and Said, never fully recovered from that nightmare. The PUPs are no saints, but unlike the UDP which has pretty much rebranded itself, it chose to repackage and in the process created outright chaos.
The result was an internal clash of egos, personalities, ideas and personal differences which left the party bleeding at a crucial time – when it was supposed to be building muscle, strength and stamina. Instead the party wasted precious time trying to purge an old guard whose roots were so ingrained in the party, that their political structure suffered.
The changing of three short-lived leaders did not help the party; instead it just created more chaos. It would have been more beneficial to the party if it had undertaken a complete purge from the onset, but that did not and still has not happened. Yet the PUP has managed to present a much needed united front in time for the election. Whether the new faces within the party will convince the electorate that positive change is indeed coming, only November 5th, the day after the election, will reveal the answer.
The third party, the Belize Progressive Party (BPP) is in a unique situation, that can only see their stock soar. While they have been the ones caught off guard by the PM’s announcement, they have the most to gain. With quick organizing, strategic planning and fast execution, they still stand a chance of getting at least one candidate elected to the House.
What they mostly need to do is to promote their greatest strength – the fact that the main parties have been given a chance at government and their party also deserves a try. A staunch opposition to the unfounded Guatemala/Belize claim, should be a building block that they can stand on. No party in recent Belizean history has backed up their words with deeds more than the collective third party (VIP, PNP, BUA, etc.) They are the only party which has published their campaign finances, and that is a testament to real transparency.
There should be one clear winner out of the next General Elections and that should not be any given party. It should be the people and the nation of Belize. The only people that can make that happen is the people themselves and if they choose to be paid to vote and the election is once again bought, like so many have in the past, then the people have no one to blame but themselves when the outcome is sour.
It’s all about the people!