In a real democracy, the will of the people prevails. Ideally, political parties chart a mandate which is pretty much a plan of what they want to do for the nation. The plan generally encompasses broad areas such an economic, social, security, environmental and educational portion. This is then presented to the people via campaigning and people vote for the party they believe have the best plan and can deliver it. That is the ideal.
However in most modern democratic nations, democracy has been corrupted. Add money, mudslinging, propaganda, half-truths and healthy dose of corruption and the entire democratic process becomes a fiasco. It is safe to say that no modern society today practices a form of true democracy. The democracies we have today are a mutant version of what it is supposed to be.
But despite all its drawbacks, the system basically works because the great counterbalance to the system is a robust opposition. The opposition remains a powerful force in any democracy to safeguard that the administration in power, walks a clear path and also as a reminder that they are an option for the people. The stronger the opposition, the more likely it is that any ruling administration will not depart from what is genuinely the people’s wishes and most importantly, stick to what is in nation’s best interest.
The opposition parties in Belize are failing miserably at curtailing the power of the government, which is a dangerous thing. The third parties seem unable to galvanize any type of united front despite the obvious weakness of the PUP. The PUP on the other hand after undergoing a massive purging of the herd and a dismal aim at transforming the party, seems to get weaker at every election.
The UDP with its coffers bulging with borrowed monies, will continue to ride rough shod over all political parties because they have been unable to mount any meaningful opposition against them. The UDP with its second consecutive victory at the polls and a second term in office, mirrors the PUP of the past. Will the UDP win the next general election? That’s a possibility but only if the oppositions collectively allow it. The oppositions are all failing miserably at this late point and that is a disservice to the people of Belize and a huge threat to our entire democracy.
Can the opposition rebound and once again gain its strength? Yes it can. The UDP has had enough missteps and probably is as corrupt as some previous administrations, yet no party in the opposition has been able to really capitalize on it. But why has this been the case? That is a question that only the leadership of the PUP, VIP, PNP and BUA can answer.
If the opposition is relaying on the age old voting tradition that the people generally remove a government after two terms or if they are waiting for the UDP to gift them power, then they are sadly mistaken. Any party in power will ride that victory train as far as it will take them, or until it runs out of gas and the UDP is no different. The honest truth is that the opposition is not fulfilling its obligation to the people and it’s about time that they start.
It’s all about the people!