COLOSSAL STORM BREWING

There is a colossal storm brewing in Belize. This storm is being caused by the merging of the two greatest ills a nation can manufacture and those are the social upheaval and economic turmoil. The recent unpopular Supreme Court ruling of August 10, 2016 on Section 53 of the Criminal Code Act of Belize which dealt with outlawing the act of sodomy which has now been declared legal by the Supreme Court, has awaken the wider society, and in particular the main stream churches.

The anti LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Transgender) position by the churches is grounded in their biblical doctrine that they (the churches) have froth upon for centuries. They believe that the act of sodomy is against the “order of nature” (God) and as such should remain outlawed. However the church itself, in particular the Roman Catholic religion which promoted celibacy their members of the cloth, has been widely accused of sexual abuses particular on children. In the wider world many cash settlements have been made by the Vatican to quash criminal proceedings.

 In Belize no formal evidence of such accusation. However, the LGBT supporters have alluded to those multiple global accusations against members of the Roman Catholics in an effort to silence the “churches” when they dared to opposed the desire of their community to seek legalization to the act of sodomy.

The LGBT community believe having anal sex and other unnatural sexual act in private is a right they should have and the Supreme Court of Belize agreed with them. As a matter of fact what is of greater controversy is the fact that the Supreme Court of Belize has legalized sexual orientation, thus the churches interpret that this makes it legal for anyone who was born as a certain gender/sex and believe to be otherwise, then that is who he/she is.

Therefore, a male who feels like female (sexual orientation) is to be considered a female and is to have all the rights of a female. This scares the churches because they are envisioning a natural progression towards same sex marriages which will have a negative impact on the composition of the family and in violation of their teachings. And to fuel that fire the government has decided that they will let the twenty-one (21) days expire without making an appeal of the Chief Justice of Belize’s ruling.

That social upheaval is coupled with the economic turmoil that faces Belize’s economy going forward. At present the overall debt of the country is approaching four ($4,000,000,000) Billion dollars and by 2017 the country’s total debt servicing will be stepped up to almost one hundred ($100,000.000) million dollars per annum. Belize foreign reserves are down to 2.5 months of imports which is a very unwarranted situation to be in. The acceptable average is 4/5 months of imports.  

This means that if an influx of US currency is not received soon then the country will not be in a position to pay its debts and pay for the importation of the goods purchased both by the public and private sector. In addition there is significant reduction in the productive sector which has made the situation worse. All commodity productions/prices are down significantly such as banana, sugar, citrus, shrimp, etc. and the shining light of tourism is recording increase tourist arrivals but the dollar earnings per tourist are extremely lower than normal.

So, the Belize social and economic outlook is very bleak. In the past, this UDP government was able to keep the masses of Belizeans calm by paying them off, using government funds and borrowed funds such the infamous Petro Caribe used as UDP War Chest. In short, the UDP was buying love to win general elections. Presently the government is cash strapped and therefore does not possess the wherewithal to be able to stem the colossal tide that is rising. The government is making matters worse by deferring a pending salary adjustment to the teachers and public officers. This will no doubt awake that section of the community as well.

The recent Auditor General of Belize report on the major corruption and irregularities that has plague the Dean Barrow Administration since 2008 is being tabled House of Representatives Meeting today Friday, August 26, 2016. A peek of the audit report suggests that many sitting and past members of Cabinet at the least should be the subject of a criminal investigation. So then, the stars are all lined up for serious chastisement of the government or even a full resignation, if a crescendo of calls be mustered by the people of Belize.

The People’s United Party (PUP) who is the opposition and is considered the government in waiting should be the one to benefit once the present government makes mistakes. However in the PUP case, they are not taking advantage of the misfortune of the government as is expected of them. In fact, instead of calling on the government to appeal so that at minimum the masses can feel that justice is being exhausted in the matter of the sodomy law situation (Section 53) and its entrails, they are indolent. But that is not the case, because the opposition has joined in with the government in accepting the decision of the government and instead suggesting that churches/civil society appeal if they feel so strongly against the Chief Justice’s decision, thus asking the poor people to fight their own case, while the government renege on its legal obligations.

It has been said that the Barrow Administration is on the ropes and can be knocked out of government if the opposition was strong enough to stimulate the masses. Many local publications and news entities have described the PUP as being weak and fractured. However, officials of the PUP argue that they are not weak, but they are applying a strategy which is to win the next election for government by default. They claim they need not spend on mobilization, just do nothing and wait. They maintain that since no Petro Caribe funds are available the government cannot convince voters by paying them for their votes as they did in the previous elections. In addition, the current Prime Minister will not be able to run again, so the PUP belief is that the United Democratic Party (UDP) government will self destruct same as the PUP did in 2004 ala the G-7.

Without a strong, bold opposition, at a time when the country’s economy is most vulnerable is regrettable and flies in the face of a vibrant democracy. The government is not trusted and the Prime Minister popularity might be dwindling in the single digits since the Immigration audit is out. While our system of government can be classified as prime ministerial dictatorship, we must not forget that the opposition is paid by taxpayers and they have a job to do and should be doing it to strengthen its popular support.

With a perceived corrupt UDP government and weak and rudderless opposition PUP, it is possible that the balance of power can be shifted to the third parties such as the Belize Progressive Party (BPP) since their message at present is most sober and resonating with the masses and with time their credibility can improve since the PUP has left the door open for them due to their (PUP) inactivity against the wrongs of the current (UDP) government.

Therefore, Belizeans are now defenceless against all that is coming against them. The society is decaying and the economy is dissolving and the people are all alone, helpless. Increase taxes is a sure thing because the government has no further option of getting more revenue and cannot borrow commercially before the debt/GDP ratio is over 100%. The political fallout will be minimal from the tax increases as election is some four (4) plus years away. This can only be shrunk if the opposition shift away from their present “do nothing” strategy.

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