Lisa and Julius in the ring! Print E-mail
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Thursday, 03 August 2017 00:00

A little over a week ago when Lisa Shoman penned an article about WOMEN IN POLITICS. BETTERS with SMART MONEY started to place bets and take odds that one of the CAVEMEN of the PEOPLE’S UNITED PARTY would get his club and come out swinging. We perhaps all knew, it was coming, but had no idea exactly who would be swinging the club. However we were sure this fallout had the potential of getting really nasty. Lisa is second to none when it comes to getting nasty on an issue, especially if that issue is being played out on social media. For context we have quoted a few of the things she published in her essay. We have also editorialized a few of her statements based on what we gathered from her essay. Below are a few of the things she wrote.

Lisa Shoman started off by saying the following and we are quoting verbatim: “it’s political season in the Jewel again. Political parties are looking for candidates in the upcoming municipal elections in March 2018. There are seats on two city councils and several town boards to fill before those elections. And how many of those will be women?” Lisa asked how many of the Mayoral candidates would be women? She suggested that there was no doubt that all slates would have women candidates. Lisa went further and asked how many of those slates would be headed by women? And how many would have a majority of women? She said it would be a few to none. Lisa pointed to the slates for the PUP already endorsed, saying two were already being headed by men, and in Santa Elena/San Ignacio Towns , the prospective mayoral candidates were all men.

According to Lisa, the temptation by the uninformed is to blame women themselves for not running or not wanting to run for office, municipal or national. She went on to point to a study that had been commissioned by the UNDP in Belize and authored by Debra Lewis. That study she said, shows that it was not as simple as that. Lisa suggested that women don’t run due to a number of factors, the biggest of which was the patriarchal political culture and lack of campaign financing. She explained that she was speaking from experience because she has first hand knowledge of it being done to her. We at this newspaper are certain that the first hand knowledge she speaks of can only be an experience inside the PUP because she has never been involved in the UDP. In particular she spoke of her 2011 experience when she ran in the Belmopan PUP Standard Bearer Contest. Lisa said that she was convinced to run for the PUP in that constituency, which in hindsight, she really had no business to contest. She said, that she faced a field of three other candidates in that contest and had mostly raised her own financing, relying on friends, family and a network of connections built over years of active political service to her PARTY the PUP. (Note that she did not say service to Belize, her country.)

Lisa spoke of her party’s NOMENCLATURE that did little or nothing to help her, even when she was obliged to complain, in writing, about nasty bullying smear campaigning by the team of one of her opponents. We don’t know if the NOMENCLATURE, she referred to should perhaps  be equated to the  boy’s club like behaviour or some sort of misogynistic behaviour of the men of the PUP . She claimed that she won’t give up and that she would still do it again until the system changes. Lisa spoke of both major political parties, in Belize, having an obnoxiously patriarchal culture. Our advice for her is to speak for her own party, the PUP, that she knows because she has no knowledge of the way things operates in the UDP. Here in the UDP we have a track record of supporting women as candidates over equally good men as candidates. We have even had instances where some very good men have stepped aside to make way for even better candidates ,who happened to be women. Here at the Guardian , we don’t know if it is, because Lisa spoke about the selection process in the twin towns of Santa Elena/San Ignacio, that caused Julius to attack her . Perhaps he took that personal, since, he Julius is considered as the DEFACTO LEADER, for the PUP out west and it caused him to lash out as a response to her essay. He responded during a Love Fm interview and it is now causing a full out offensive, between himself and Lisa, who it appears is being joined by some of the women of the PUP.

This was a part of what Julius told Love Fm, while being interviewed ,” The party has been pro-women in politics. The past leadership we established in the National Executive, and I think it went all the way to the party council. In that we had a minimum of 30% women participation in government, that is on record. It’s a difficult situation. I am in politics and I understand the aggressivity, that’s involved in this arena .Some people call it a contact sport. Just that it doesn’t have the official name of boxing, but it is a contact sport. I have experienced personally, where it gets personal. It gets nasty and they want to know, what color drawers you have on today. And so why am I saying this. That makes it difficult for women.” We will not go into much of the other things, he had to say at this point, but  it seems that the statement about  politics being a contact sport and then equating it to boxing ,was what really got Lisa upset .

Julius must have realized the trouble , that he had created for himself, so later on in the interview he tried to redeem himself, by trying to play up to Lisa for sympathy.The following was what he said next, “I can give you a clear example of somebody that served alongside me, not in government, but in opposition. The Honourable Dolores Balderamos when she was a minister of government, achieved a lot of positive things for empowerment of women and we have women that have been vocal. To mind, Senator Lisa Shoman is one, that has strong and forceful ideas, not all of them I agree with, I can sit with her any day and we can have serious discussions and arguments and at the end of the day, we love each other and we want good for Belize. So that is all positive. In the Cayo District, I think we have one female participate for Mayor. I think it is Ms Tanya Santos in Belmopan. I’m not aware if there is, another female Mayoral aspirant at this time.” He even mentioned that he had supported and helped Lisa during her failed 2011 bid for the Belmopan PUP Standard Bearer Contest, but that pronouncement did not help him because he had already drawn the anger of Lisa and the women of the PUP. Below is how Lisa responded to Julius: “With all due respect to my friend, Julius Espat is not really the right person to talk for the PUP on women in politics. And men like him who think that politics is a contact sport like boxing, are actually a part of the problem. Women in politics don’t need protection, they need support. PARTY SUPPORT. “

Then there is also a more recent post from Lisa about the same subject .We will also quote Lisa verbatim on that post: “It’s not enough to say that more women need to run, if we’re not going to actively support, changing the culture of politics that, values traditional forms of male leadership and that centers “electability” on traditionally masculine ways of being.” With that post she shared a link, to September 2015 article from Jamie Utt titled, FROM MAN SPREADING -6 WAYS MEN DOMINATE THE SPACES AROUND THEM . We figured her referencing that article was directed to Julius, for him to read and take note.

This war of words between these two PUP combatants, may go on for some time, so Julius should tighten his girdle because Lisa and her supporting cast don’t appear to be likely ready to let up on him anytime soon. One only has to take a look at Lisa’s Facebook page to see the way they feel about Julius. Lisa herself appeared on Love FM’s Morning Show, this past Tuesday and put a schooling on Julius. He chose to tangle with the wrong woman. Lisa smells blood and won’t give up. We don’t know if Julius knows how to get himself out of this mud pit. To paraphrase the immortal word of the late King of Belizean Brukdong, Mr Peter, we say “RUN JULIUS RUN; RUN FI UH LIFE; HAUL UP UH FUT ; UH FOOL, COUSIN LISA D COH!  Julius may really feel like he is in a BOXING MATCH indeed if Lisa ever catches up with him. He may need headgear, a chest protector, shin guards and a helmet to protect himself from Lisa. We know that Lisa is not one of Johnny’s favorite persons, but he likes Julius even less, so he won’t be lifting even a finger to help Julius. Maybe he can try dying, because we have heard , that may be the only way to get away from Lisa.