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It Took Less Than 38 Years

It Took Less Than 38 Years
September 21
15:09 2019

By: Major Lloyd Jones, Ret’d

On Saturday Belize will “celebrate” the 38th anniversary of its independence. We will hear wonderful speeches from our politicians telling us how proud we should be to have reached this milestone and reminding us to be grateful that we live in such a “democracy.”

Their fancy speeches will come less than five months after a foreign-sponsored eight million dollar “education campaign” convinced 53,388 Belizeans to vote against the very independence they now ask us to celebrate. It took less than 38 years for us to betray the independence that George Price and his team bequeathed us. In fact, even some of George Price’s relatives were complicit in betraying his legacy with their ICJ nonsense!

It is now clear that there was no strategy in place to drive a post-independence Belize. Independence was simply a way for the elites to get their hands on our resources. Today as we prepare to “celebrate” the 38th anniversary of our independence we are structurally weaker and more vulnerable than we were on September 21st, 1981. How can this be? What happened to the promise that was independence?

The first real blow to the promise of independence was rabid partisan politics. There was a calculated and well executed strategy to teach us to put party above country. It was not George Price or Manuel Esquivel who designed this strategy, but those who surrounded them. You have to understand that politics is a game of power and to achieve power sometimes one has to make a deal with the devil.

In 2001 it was Said Musa who, by Act No. 2 of 2001(the third constitutional amendment) embedded the philosophy of party before country in our constitution. There was barely a fuss about this far reaching amendment. It appeared that we too had come to the conclusion that our Area Representatives work for their party and not for us!

Today it is “money” that has taken the place of partisan politics as the number one threat to our independence. The old partisan approach to power meant that the elites only ate when their party was in power. Now they have devised a new strategy; one that will ensure that they eat no matter which party is in power. The emergence of the National Gas Company last month is the first successful manifestation of this new strategy. And just as Said’s 2001 amendment met little resistance, so too did Mr. Barrow’s NGCL in 2019.

You may recall that during the Musa administration, they had tried this bi-partisan model with the privatization of the companies’ registry and the intellectual property registry. The Belizean people were properly outraged and amidst growing anger the privatization was reversed, but not before the architects of the scheme reportedly made millions of dollars that should have gone to the national coffers.

Despite attempts by the Chamber of Commerce to have them return the money, political underhandedness ensured that they walked away with our money in their pockets. The Chamber of old was fierce; if only the Chamber of today was as the Chamber of yesteryears!

Belize is not where it should be after thirty eight years of independence. Our state has been captured by a wicked and self-serving alliance between politicians and so called businessmen. It is greed and self-enrichment that prevails, instead of nationhood and nation building.

In less than 38 years we have amassed a dangerous ~5 billion dollar debt that threatens to turn us back into slaves. Belize cannot sustain this level of debt with her shrinking productive sector. Without generating adequate levels of foreign exchange, our economy will collapse as we borrow more and more to offset a worsening balance of payment scenario.

To be honest, I wonder just what it is that we are supposed to celebrate on September 21st. Our independence has given us boost and pantry and farmed raised voters. And it has given us a declining literacy rate but an increasing murder rate. It has given us an adjacency line and a collapsing health system. Which of these is worth celebrating?

The position in which Belize finds itself is not entirely the fault of our politicians. We too are complicit. We have refused to hold our politicians accountable and have instead gone to them with eyes closed and hands open. Some of us don’t know better but many of us do and yet we say nothing. We seek glory but we wish to sacrifice nothing and so the beat goes on!

I hate to remind you but after your “celebration” this weekend we will still owe a crushing national debt. Most of us will still be landless. We will still be unable to defend ourselves and the Guatemalans will continue to rape the Chiquibul.

Perhaps some will believe that I am being discourteous or even disrespectful to Belize. They will say that I should look for the silver lining. My answer is simple. You can’t create for me a dark cloud and then tell me nonsense about a silver lining. Since 1998 our politicians have created for us a very dark cloud and whilst we search for the silver lining they are busy putting silver in their pockets.

Pardon me if I don’t feel like celebrating but hey, don’t let me rain on your parade. Happy 38th!

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