To The Editor:
On Sept. 21, many Belizeans who live in the United States and abroad, including myself, tuned in to Love FM and other radio stations to listen to the Independence Day Celebrations that was broadcast live over the Internet. Most of us are concerned about the increase in violent crimes, especially murders that are taking place on the streets of Belize City and the economic situation our country is facing today.
The current government has already outlined several new initiatives that they have put in place to curb the crime rate [as they wait] to receive more technical and other support from overseas to deal with this ongoing dilemma. The recent economic report indicated that the economy is rebounding slowly but not as fast as the government would like.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow spoke about Belizean nationalism and the pride and love most Belizeans have for their country, and stressed the accomplishments his government has made since assuming power two years ago. He cautioned that there is a long journey ahead but his government will do everything to make sure that in the end they prevail.
Mr Barrow pointed out that Belize today is a lot different from the Belize they inherited back in 2008. At that time, he said, the country was plagued with: corruption, poor credit rating, divisive government, family rule and unequal distribution of wealth. Belize, he said, looked as if it was the personal estate of a few families and one ethnic group monopolized all the wealth that was available to the general public.
Most of the money that was available at the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and the Belize Bank went to the same wealthy families who have plenty and still wanted more. This greed on their part deprived students from borrowing to further their education, farmers from doing farming and poor families from improving and buying homes. They borrowed until the institution became bankrupt and some of them have not paid back their loans up to this day.
Opposition Leader John Briceno started off in the attack mode. Little did he realize that his People’s United Party (PUP) was in power for 10 years and that the state of Belize today is based on the foundation they laid in those 10 years while he was in office as a minister and deputy prime minister. He also forgot that he was a part of the G-7 group that broke away from Prime Minister Said Musa for acting dictatorial in several policy issues when it came to spending and disbursing public funds, especially public health spending.
He [also forgot] that he is the head of a party that is divided and that the other five elected members of his party are against him and dissatisfied with his leadership and want him to be replaced as their party leader.
The party has a convention planned for Oct.17 in Dangriga Town, a place where they are not popular for leasing the Commerce Beight Pier to party ptalwart Luke Espat for 35 years, without any money being paid to the government of Belize. He is seeking a position in their party executive body so that he can get more out of his party but as far as Dangriga residents are concerned, they want back their pier for their people to get jobs and go fishing. Once this pier is delivered back to the people of Dangriga by this current administration, the PUP will not win any election in that town. The only thing that has PUP party member Rodwell Ferguson looking good, are those few dollars he is giving away; but a fool and his money shall soon depart. Dangriga people are known for eating your food, taking your money and still go to the polls and vote for the candidate of their choice.
If John Briceno was making a case for the people of Belize to replace the United Democratic Party for his party, he failed miserably. He would have to convince the Belizean people that if given the opportunity to govern Belize, he will be different from Said Musa. I have not heard anything fundamental or visionary from this leader as to where he would like to take Belize in the next five years. His speech was full of criticism but lacked real substance and constructive proposals to deal with the problems Belize face today.
When it comes to crime, it will require a joint effort by both political parties and all the other stakeholders in Belize to solve it. In the beginning, Briceno supported the government with their crime initiatives, and that was a good gesture on his part. But due to pressure from some members of his party, he later withdrew his support. From the time he withdrew, I have not heard any major policy initiatives coming from him as to what he would do to solve crime in our country.
Crime and the economy are the two major problems Belize face today and with the economy showing signs of improving, the United Democratic Party will focus all its resources on solving crime to win the next general election.
Wellington C Ramos.