Thursday, September 3, 2009

Don Quixote in Belize needs a new lance and mule!

*** Every era has it's heros. In Belize City the port of Belize, it is Jules Vasquez here that is the hero of this era in Belizean history.
** Don Quixote tilting at windmills and helping the poor.
*** The famous story of Don Quixote tilting at windmills.


By Ray Auxillou ( September 2009 )

Belize only has one media reporter asking the hard questions of our politicians and concerned about where our economy and nation is going. In a democracy it is the role of the investigative media to keep the politicians as honest as possible. It is also the only counter balance against autocracy and dictatorship.

In Belize , we only have one reporter over the previous administration and this current political administration, that is asking the hard questions. You could call Jules Vasquez a NATIONAL TREASURE.

In the eighteen years of self government under the British Colonial authorities, George Price rose as the leader of then British Honduras . The United Nations wanted to kick all ex-colonies out of the fold and into independence. It was the end of the military EUROPEAN IMPERIALIST ERA. George Price implemented the role of autocrat/dictator on the style of Governor Huey Long of Louisiana of that time. POLITICAL PATRONAGE was the methodology chosen. George Price was ruthless in suppressing, penalizing, destroying, his perceived enemies and often the brutal party controlled police and trappings of government departments, forced perceived opponents into exile. After the 1982 INDEPENDENCE VOTE in the United Nations, unanimous almost, except for the one exception of Guatemala , this small country of Belize , with a smaller population, dominated by a black port town and black civil service went into, two party political rule. It is now 2009 and we now have as a small country, named BELIZE with forty five years of experience of self rule, in a two party system. We have also become secular and ethnically diversified, a true melting pot.

How is it working? It is not working well! The best that could be said is that; it is working mediocre. The worst that can be said, is that it is hardly democratic, the government is bankrupt, and governed by a two party system, that are no more than organized banditry. They, each major party enter the political race in a system of gang membership to plunder and loot the government resources, a system taught to us by George Price the founder of our independent nation of Belize . ALL political aspirants enter for SELF ENRICHMENT. ( Modern day piracy. ) About 25% of those candidates are outright crooks, or criminals with no remorse, or pity on anyone who get in their way into making money off the government workings. From bribes, to embezzlement, to government contracts ( false and real ), to nepotism, to political patronage government jobs ( several thousands ) introduced by George Price ( as taught by Huey Long of Louisiana ) the government of Belize , is primarily run to enrich the winning political party members, at the expense of the masses tax revenues. Some sociological, political and anthropological studies and books were written and published in the local press around 1993 ( eleven years after Independence ) covering the shortcomings of the way our political government system worked until then. Only the odd democratic change has been adopted in the sixteen years since then,, when it didn’t interfere with the depredations of political area representatives, money making opportunities, while in their term in office. These democratic developments were in the privatization field and de-centralization area.

The two party looting, plundering model of governing continues, forty five years later, embedded into the two party political system.

This leads us to a fast approaching era of ECONOMIC CRISIS, exacerbated by a WORLD RECESSION/DEPRESSION. We have no idea of our total BELIZE NATIONAL DEBT? The latest figure bandied about is $3 billion for total debt. The GDP number of $1.2 BILLION also bandied about, but is old and based on the BOOM, borrowing debt economics years of the previous administration. Since then, the WORLD ECONOMIC CRISIS has shrunk our GDP, 31% to around $800 MILLION in our guess estimate. Have no idea of our TOTAL NATIONAL DEBT?

We expect Jules Vasquez the nation’s only defender of democracy in the media, to hold the Prime Minister, Finance Minister’s feet to the fire with some hard questions, on where our economy is, and where it is going? If you use the NEW estimated numbers our National Debt to GDP ratio in these shrinking economic times, our ratio is 63% of GDP. If you use the old numbers of GDP and DEBT, our Debt to GDP ratio is around 250%. A lot depends on those numbers for future policy during this UDP administration. This policy of FINANCIAL SECRECY by the bandit political party gang, running our nation has to stop.

JULES VASQUEZ ( local media investigative star ) is our DON QUIXOTE, our knight in shining armor, destined to do battle with the forces of evil in our government. He needs to take our leader of this gang ruling the nation to task and put the Finance Minister’s feet to the fire and get us some answers, if they have any at all? Which is a questionable assumption? Observers and critics only see governing, by crisis knee jerk reactions. Not true longer range planning. If there is mid term and longer term planning it seems to be coming from Rene Montero ( agriculture ) and Patrick Faber ( education ). They do have support in the involvement of the CABINET of their party, so in that sense perhaps we could say there is a political party sense of SOME longer range planning?

We the public know that hard times are coming over the remainder of the UDP term. We should be sharing the policy discussions on how to handle the problems we face as a citizenry. Indeed, these hard times may have arrived already, and if not, will arrive by the end of next month. We expect a shortage of foreign exchange. This is alleviated somewhat by all the FOREIGN LOANS coming into the government.

The coming economic crisis is centered on our ability to maintain financially the size of our government. The salaried non-producers. The government expanded during the BOOM times of the previous PUP Debt Economics and now it must shrink. How many low quality, political patronage, free loaders, can we support from diminishing tax revenues? Many of our decentralized departments and regulatory agencies are no long self sustainable. This situation is going to get worse for the next three years. This is going to mean a severe contraction in certain types of government jobs. Human nature will pit, a frightened government civil service bureaucracy against the private sector business community in an economic civil war. The war is over personal survival. The civil service bureaucrats, mostly from the port of Belize City , are expected to go into an orgy of new taxes, tax increases, increased fines and permit and license fees to preserve their salaried government jobs. They are fighting for personal survival in the government salaried mode. The private sector in rural districts, will fight to keep taxation and predations reasonable, to enable the private sector to survive also, and stop any further contraction of the business economy, that can only make a projected difficult economic situation even worse. The politicians in our gang of ruling thieves ( a common public opinion ) will decide, who or what wins over the next three years. They are supposed to manage the situation for the good of the whole nation and economy. Their own self enrichment schemes, perks, gratuities, pensions, salaries, travel allowances, per diems are more or less guaranteed, no matter how bad things get for the civil service, or the private business sector producers and service industries.

There are some changes we can make to our governing model. Certainly one is a HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT and anonymous civil service exams explained in Belizean sociological recommendations and studies of 16 years ago and published. Much of which was not done. This to get rid of the ruinous POLITICAL PARTY PATRONAGE, government job system, which is losing us our skilled civil service administrators and replacing them with worthless relatives and party hacks, who are unable to give us affordable, efficient work performance. If your civil service is run by unskilled people, chosen by political party patronage, then you get what you expect. It may serve the political party gang in power, but destroys both our economy and our nation. Neither the police, lands, or immigration departments are doing well.

We look for DON QUIXOTE ( Jules Vasquez –grin!- ) to ride to the rescue and keep our government honest, open and transparent! Light the fire Jules. We in the rural districts are cheering you on! “Viva Belice!”

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