Friday, August 18, 2017


Saturday, July 22, 2017, 14:05
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In 2008 the UDP under Mr. Barrow represented a bright light, a ray of hope. Oh that fellow was a brilliant politician, Mr. Barrow. He said all the right things. He made all the right promises. With carefully practiced gestures and phrases he told the people of Belize everything they wanted to hear. He would fix everything that was broken, right every wrong. Seated on his white charger he would lead an army of the righteous in Cabinet. He would stamp out corruption. He would grow the economy. He would save this little corner of the world, our jewel Belize. What a sick, cruel joke that turned out to be. What a sick, cruel joke Mr. Barrow turned out to be. From those glorious days of chest-beating and pontificating we have now reached to the point where scandals and corruption are the orders of the day. Think back to that shameful, disgraceful, repulsive showing in the Senate two weeks ago where two Senior Ministers of Mr. Barrow’s Cabinet behaved like unabashed thugs, and realize that they are an integral part of Mr. Barrow’s army of the righteous. These are two of the stars of Mr. Barrow’s Cabinet, if you can imagine that. From the awe-inspiring rhetoric in which Mr. Barrow brandished his two-sided machete, imagine that we have now come to the point where there is overwhelming evidence to show that former Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega is a thief, and used his power and influence to enrich himself and his family members. In any civilized country, Mr. Vega would be in jail. He would be locked away for crimes against the people. But nothing of the sort has or will happen. That is our reality today. Corruption in government has become the norm. And Mr. Barrow has said nothing. No more rhetoric about stomping out corruption. No more blazing speeches. Just NOTHING! Nothing is working for the UDP. Every system under the control of the Barrow administration has flatlined. Can you look at any current Minister of Cabinet and feel a sense of pride and confidence? Can you look at any of our systems and really believe that they are working? After nine years of the UDP our economy is in shambles, our health system is in shambles, our Police Department is demoralized to the point of impotence. Our Immigration processes have been rendered meaningless by unscrupulous Ministers who have intimidated and/or incentivised key public officers. Imagine that it can take months for a REAL born Belizean to obtain a passport, while a foreigner who has never set foot in Belize can get a Visa, Nationality and Passport in a day or two. Mr. Barrow has chosen to bury his head in the sand and feebly live out the few remaining months of his political life as a paper tiger. But the chickens are coming home to roost and the UDP will not get a fourth term to betray the Belizean people. Not even two years into its third term in office, only months away from municipal elections, the United Democratic Party has been having no end of difficulties putting together its slates. This is no fluke and certainly no surprise. The UDP is in a terrible state of limbo – an uncertain and unpleasant time spawned by crisis after crisis, scandal upon scandal, a leader who is no longer a leader, constant infighting on the road to choosing a new leader and a seriously lack of talent, character, intelligence and ability in Cabinet. The UDP is actually screwed, and that is becoming clearer every day. Dean Barrow, Erwin Contreras, Gaspar Vega, Michael Finnegan, ‘Boots’ Martinez, Manuel Heredia, Rene Montero and Sedi Elrington are on their way out. Patrick Faber clearly wants to be leader, but he lacks the maturity to do so and he is known to have problems with both alcohol and domestic abuse. John Saldivar also wants to be leader, but he lacks the integrity and the Mason spectre still hangs over his head. He is considered arrogant and uncouth, and there are those who would never sanction his rise in power. So who is left to rule this once mighty UDP? Mark Espat’s name was thrown on the table but just as swiftly thrown off. Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber has said that he will break up the UDP rather than contemplate a leader like Espat. His boast would perhaps be an idle one if not supported by senior Minister Michael Finnegan who has the ear of the Prime Minister. Espat is a seasoned strategist, though, and we wouldn’t count him out just yet. Mr. Barrow sees in him a sort of kindred soul, someone who would do whatever it takes to win elections just as he did - much to the detriment of country and people. And there is another player who sees himself as a saviour of the UDP – the new guard and a refreshing change after the stinking corruption which has tarnished every term of this UDP under Mr. Barrow. Darrell Bradley is ambitious, and he realizes that Mr. Barrow needs him desperately if the UDP is even to have a chance of holding on to the municipal seat in Belize City. If the UDP loses Belize City, then all is lost. As he did once before, Bradley is playing it close to the line – refusing to submit his name for Mayor despite the passing of deadlines. And Mr. Barrow can do nothing but wait. Bradley, we are told, wants consideration as a prospective leader of the UDP. But what is left of the UDP? Perhaps only a song from that proverbial fat lady. For all intents and purposes, the United Democratic Party has flatlined.
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