Two terms to contrast the PUP and the UDP Print E-mail
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Thursday, 27 November 2014 00:00

Two consecutive terms in office for both major political parties in this country has been the test of, on one hand how awfully a country can be administered and on the other hand how excellently it can be managed. Traditionally elections in Belize in the post independence era have been dictated by an alternating of political parties.

On one hand there has been the People’s United Party, who enter into office, ransack, pillage and plunder the coffers of government and leave it behind for a United Democratic Party government to rescue. That trend has been up until 2003 when the people of Belize in their wisdom opted to elect a PUP government for a historic back to back run. It may have been that the people had to have been given the taste of mal-administration to allow them to realize how poorly the PUP is at handling the finances of the country. The PUP, in traditional form, raked and scraped the coffers, leaving it to bear bones and then began on an unsustainable level of borrowing that was not felt in the economy until after a couple of years of their being in their second term. It was then that the PUP truly proved themselves to be the kind of administrators that they truly are. Theirs was a 1st government of unbridled, unaccountable and development-lacking spending. Their second term was the curtain falling off and exposing them for what they truly were, vampires sucking the country into near bankruptcy. 

Thankfully the 2008 election came and the United Democratic Party was voted into office and the monumental task of righting the wrongs had to be undertaken. The UDP had inherited a country nose deep in debt with little or no maneuvering room. None of the international lending agencies would even come near to Belize. Debts had to be maintained at exorbitant service costs and the economy was in tatters. The first step was to try to establish credibility. The former leader had eroded that and it was up to the Hon. Dean Barrow to try to instill the kind of confidence in Belize which had long before disappeared under Said Musa. It was a painstaking task and even so it was accomplished. One by one the international financial institutions began to return. The economy began to rebound and the pro-poor initiatives began to be rolled out. We all know of the Food Pantry Program, the Boost Program, the Venezuelan housing grants, the mortgage write offs, the lowering of electricity rates, the nationalizing of BTL and so on and so forth.

The stage had just been about set for the UDP to come in to the second term. There was really only one more thing that needed to be done for the healing process to be properly prepared, that was that the Superbond needed to be renegotiated. And the UDP went into the 2012 elections with that singular objective. The millstone dragging the economy down had to be removed. With a very slim majority the UDP came into office for a second consecutive term and their it was, the opportunity presented itself to prove how good this government truly was. The Superbond was renegotiated and the debt servicing load was lightened. It was almost as if a weight holding down a helium balloon was released and things began to go skyward. Everything was going in the right direction finally. The proof of the UDP being the people’s government: accountable and pro-people was finally proven.

Under the leadership of Hon. Dean Barrow the country has simply taken off. With the very same resources that was available to the PUP the UDP has been able to prove that this truly is a government that is pro-people. The Petro Caribe initiative is proof of this. The PUP had the same opportunity to do very much the same development as what the UDP is doing at this point in time but instead of them investing the moneys into the development of the country, they chose to give it away to cronies.

The UDP having proven itself in this second term, imagine what is possible in a third consecutive term. Think about it!

“Petrocaribe it the people’s money, stupid” Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 20 November 2014 00:00

petrocaribe rally.jpg - 196.10 KbBack in the days of Bill Clinton’s first campaign for presidency of the U.S. of A. his people posted a sign at headquarters to humourously focus their own attention on the fundamental campaign issue: “It’s the economy, stupid.”  This became the unofficial slogan for the campaign.

The turnout of the Belizean people on Tuesday 18th November at the National Assembly in Belmopan, to support Prime Minister Dean Barrow and his Government’s spending of the Petrocaribe money, which has provided a range of benefits to people across the entire country, was massive – despite grey skies and rain. This money has been very transparently and very publicly used to build roads, streets, drains, public buildings and facilities in different locations across the country. It has created jobs, putting money directly in people’s pockets and driving down crime. It has been used to provide social assistance to those in need. In the motion before the National Assembly the Prime Minister produced a highly detailed accounting of how every dollar was spent!

The contrast with the spending by the Said Musa Government in 2008 of the Venezuela money could not be sharper. That Government took ten million US dollars gifted to the people of Belize by Venezuela and gave it away, purely for the private benefit of their cronies. They concealed this action from the people. They never accounted for it.

Focus on the Petrocaribe money was drawn by Mr. Julius Espat, the aspiring Opposition leader. He launched media presentations and a court case to challenge the spending of this money. In direct response Prime Minister Barrow stepped up to meet the challenge by bringing the matter before the National Assembly for the Assembly to give specific approval to using the money for the projects and programmes for which it has been used. That approval was formally given at Tuesday’s stirring meeting of the National Assembly.

Again, there is sharp contrast with how Mr. Espat’s party handled a comparable situation. In 2007 his party introduced a motion in the National Assembly to approve a resolution to pay the debts for the failed private Universal Health Services Hospital, that the Musa Government had guaranteed for their cronies. A massive public protest at the National Assembly building almost brought down that government and the motion was abandoned.

The massive support by the Belizean people of the Barrow Government’s use of the Petrocaribe funds has provided the governing party with an ideal launch of its campaign for country wide municipal elections, due in March 2015. The governing party must thank Mr. Espat for creating an issue where there was none. And visitors to his campaign headquarters should look to see the sign he should put up: “Petrocaribe is the people’s money, stupid.”

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 November 2014 17:31