Michael Reid, aspiring PUP writer.
POLITICIAL DEBATE BETWEEN MICHAEL REID, THE PUP OPPOSITION PARTY WRITER AND RAY AUXILLOU, A NON PARTISAN CRITICIZER OF BOTH MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES. ( without fear or favor to either the PUP or the UDP )
I´ll take the debate for a couple of those issues from the other side from Michael Reid. With of course tongue in cheek, as Michael Reid is a PUP writer, writing for the opposition PUP, looking for a big paying job, the next time the PUP get in office. I doubt that will be for another 7 years as things are going.
Some items from his criticism.
Sugar according to BSI is not according to the article in the Amandala written by Bill Lindo. His facts obviously gotten from biased sources that were lying. BSI have until September to re-finance existing loans. They also report there are no current financial problems and they have cash on hand to get through this current seasonal crop. If there is a problem for me with BSI ( sugar factory ), it is that the turbines had to be dismantled for servicing in only one to three months operation. That does´t speak well for the current crop and it looks like they better get Peter Singfield in XAIBE who started this whole deal, as a Canadian Engineer as a consultant, to solve this problem with loss of turbine power. He has more experience and knowledge in his little finger of solving this problem, than all the experts in Europe and the USA put together.
The Royalistic, or nepotism privileges of a Prime Minister in power, able to give choice lawyer jobs for family within the government is troublesome. However it is PAR for every governed nation on Earth, due to human nature. I don´t like it and it is not a fair process. But then in review, I have to think, if I suffered what Barrow has suffered in the political arena to get where he is, I would damn well do exactly the same. So I´m not complaining, because people who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Nor should Michael Reid if he would be honest with himself, assuming he can think in Barrow´s shoes.
The citrus is a problem, but it is not OUR government problem and therefore of little concern to PM Barrow. My only quarrel is; he has been dumping more tax dollars in grants and loans with the CGA, who have incompetent leadership with big personal ambitions and views of personal grandeur. They should be left to work out their problems on their own. NO MORE TAXPAYERS MONEY for the CGA would be my motto. I stand by to buy some of their SHARES they should sell, if they are in financial trouble. Let the market place solve the situation.
On the owners who fled with their plane, without going through government paper work. I´ve done that a few times in my life by boat, both in Honduras and Guatemala. Believe me, I don´t regret such decisions myself. I would be dead if I had done otherwise. Sometimes the bureaucracy and the greed is more than a person on a short budget can consider reasonable. Read my books if you want to know more!
I´m waiting for the BUDGET SPEECH promised in MARCH. I want to know the TRUE debt to GDP ratio. All of it! Other than that, I´m considering awarding Prime Minister Barrow up to 10 points on his political party report card otherwise. Currently at 54%. Depends on the blarney he spouts and the amount of covering up he might do, to fudge the numbers and projections. His first year, his elected Ministers were total amateurs and he had to both teach them and bring them into line. He did that and year 2 and 3, were the most difficult years, facing a world recession, subsequent loss of government revenues and the loss of the Williams Sewing Factory many jobs for the port town economy. I didn´t agree with some of his decisions, but all in all the results are magnificent. He brought the government of Belize through the two most economically trying years in the history of Belize successfully. So depending on his performance with the annual statistics, in his budget speech he can get up to 10 points for his report card. We wait and see! I have a general feeling of satisfaction that his leadership brought Belize through the most two difficult years with flying colors. I´m waiting to see the downside and judge from that the final score for his report card.
--- On Thu, 2/17/11, G. Michael Reid
From: G. Michael Reid
Subject: Bz-Culture: Reid between the lines
To: "Belize Culture"
Date: Thursday, February 17, 2011, 9:01 PM
One might imagine that in retrospect, our Prime Minister would have to consider his most recent performance one of his worse ever. On Wednesday last, Mr. Barrow called a press conference to recap the highlights of his first three years in office and reveal his floor plan for the next two. Many who attended or listened in on the radio came away with a lot of questions and very few answers.
As far as accomplishments, Mr. Barrow really does not have much to point to. He conceded that the sugar industry was experiencing a major setback, despite a recent ten million dollar bail-out. The tourism industry is in turmoil and in that regards, Mr. Barrow revealed that he really didn’t “know what was going on there” except that there appeared some game of “musical chairs.” For now, it seems that the Belizeans trying to make a living from that industry are the “odd man out” and are scrambling desperately to find an empty chair at that table.
Another of Belize’s vital industries, citrus, is still very much on edge and as Channel Seven succinctly puts it, “antagonism… seems to only be intensifying”. Mr. Barrow seems to be pulling a Pontius Pilate on that one and would only say that while he would “say nothing unkind about lawyers… once they get involved I think you can kiss the chances of any amicable solution goodbye." One would think that Mr. Barrow knows a thing or two about the way lawyers operate. It goes without saying that it was no consolation to the many small farmers involved in that industry who have been operating under a veil of uncertainty for the longest time.
While the press conference itself did not reveal much in terms of goals and accomplishments, the follow-up questions exposed it own impeachment. While I have been often critical of the so-called main stream media for customarily petting and powdering politicians, in particular those of this administration, last Wednesday’s line of questioning was spot on and relevant. In characteristically arrogant and belligerent form, Mr. Barrow responded to most questions with a scowl and a scold to those who dared question his royalistic prerogatives. Yet, to their credit, the journalists pressed on and even those hitherto allegiant to his every whim and cause, backed him in a corner and confronted him on the tough issues.
Mr. Barrow was pressed about his cabinet’s decision to grant his own nephew over a million acres of prime estate for use in exploration for oil. When confronted with the fact that the area had no less than fourteen protected areas, Mr. Barrow pled ignorance and proceeded to shift the blame to “the minister and his experts.” Mr. Barrow dismissed the charge of nepotism and concluded by defiantly stating that there was “not a damn thing wrong with that process and that is a position by which I stand.” With all due respect
Mr. Barrow, just about everyone else sees something wrong with this process and that is a position by which we will also stand.
Mr. Barrow was also pressed on the recent situation at the Phillip Goldson International Airport where two pilots climbed aboard a seized drug plane and flew it out of the country without permission or clearance. In a flippant response, Mr. Barrow seemed surprised that anyone would be at all concerned about that issue. “Wasn’t it their plane?” asked Mr. Barrow. Well indeed, it just might have been; the original owners even. There does exist specific process and regulations however, and given the on-going concern about terrorism, Mr. Barrow might have been better given to an aura of exigency. GOD forbid, that aircraft had taken off and crashed into some populated area or worse yet, into one of our foreign embassies. It would have resulted in a crisis of mammoth proportions but according to Mr. Barrow, “what harm was done?”
Mr. Barrow was asked a pretty straight forward question and one that has been on the minds of most Belizeans. Are we better of f today than we were three years ago when his government took office? A recent poll conducted and published by the Amandala newspaper found that seventy percent of those polled did not think so. Cost of living has risen astronomically and crime is totally out of control with more murders per capita than even the most dangerous places on earth. Respect for any kind of authority is close to none and corruption has become the normal order of the day. The UDP continues to govern in the rear-view mirror, still casting blame and finding faults on the last administration.
In an interview with Adele Ramos and published in this week’s Amandala, Mr. Barrow was a bit more candid admitting that “there are many areas in which we fall short” and that there are “definitely people who register dissatisfaction.” When presented with the results of the poll Mr. Barrow’s response was that, “the only poll that matters is the poll which takes place on Election Day.” According to Mr. Barrow, a political party must “campaign in poetry but govern in prose”. According to the Prime Minister, “when you are in opposition, you make all kinds of promises…” Let us hope that the people of Belize are taking heed.
Belizeans will have to start holding politicians and political parties to their promises. We elect them based on what they say they are going to do and must find a way to hold them to these promises. The PUP has been in the process of selecting its standard bearers to contest the next general elections. From all indications, the UDP will once again prove to be just a “one term government.” To their credit, the PUP’s have always been more realistic and committed to their manifesto of promises. Without vigilant scrutiny and compulsion however, politicians will continue to wiggle out of their obligation and duties. We the people must find a way to keep them honest and we must demand fair value for our money. A courageous and objective media makes the job much easier and their performance at last week’s press conference goes a long way toward restoring hope. Mr. Barrow’s performance was pitiful but the media came away smelling like a rose. Long live the free press!
G. Michael Reid
Citizen of the world