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Drawing Parallels Print E-mail
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Written by Jamil Matar   
Thursday, 06 September 2012 00:00

I have always shunned from making comments on the politics and policies of other nations, especially with respect to the United States, but with the more than ample television exposure on American politics during the past two weeks, I now feel quite acquainted with Romney and Obama and about the diverging political and economic platforms they represent. I can also tell you that I am very well informed as to which polls favor each candidate for the November elections.

With the newly attained knowledge above, I find it easy to draw parallels between the US and Belize, and the respective challenges both countries are confronted with. You see, our own Prime Minster recently faced a national poll on his 2008-2012 administration which, although he prevailed for another five-year term, turned out to be a close election. The same is being predicted in the US by several of their TV political talks shows: their November elections will be very close.

The very issues which Prime Minister Barrow was confronted with on March seven were basically the same ones President Obama is being charged with: a weak economy, staggering debt and the lack of jobs. And while the great United States has suffered a single downgrade, our economic rating by Moody’s, S&P, et al, has seen multiple slips and at this moment is at selective default. The US can support its debt over the long term but our small economy cannot sustain these huge payments too much longer, and so we need to restructure for our very survival.

Another of the parallels that has emerged as to why the UDP Government is faced with this present challenge of burdensome debt and economic crisis is a scenario exactly reflected in several other economies: former governments did not exercise prudence in managing their resources and many financial ventures collapsed, which had a crippling effect on the job market. That’s the official, polished version, since mine would sound this way: many people in positions of authority, in the public and private sector, got extremely greedy and decided to dishonestly help themselves to bundles of money the fast and easy way.

While I may be accused of not knowing my ankle from my elbow about economics by our local economic geniuses, the other parallel which I am familiar with is clearly obvious both in the States and in Belize, and it has to do with political image. You will have noted that former president Bush and his associate Chaney did not attend the RNC, nor have they appeared at any Republican campaign event. In fact, I have not heard Mr. Romney even mention the previous president and his vice. These two gentlemen face accusations from within their own Party of having led the US into a recession, which may have cost the Republicans the 2008 presidential election. They know how people feel about them and they have avoided the spotlight.

Here in Belize, Musa and Fonseca are considered nuclear at any political event, and while  Fonseca got the message and has stayed out of the political  scene, Mr. Musa refuses to accept that he is not appreciated even in his own Party. I have heard comment from PUP supporters that they feel he let them down in his many years as Prime Minister. Again, that’s the mild way of putting it. Me, I would simply say that he sold us out, lock, stock and barrel.