Dean Barrow and Belize’s economic challenges

When Belize opposition leader Dean Barrow and his United Democratic Party (UDP) took over the government in February of 2008 after 10 years of People’s United Party (PUP) rule, the country was broke and indebted to several international financial institutions to the tune of billions of dollars.

When Barack Obama took over the U.S. presidency in January of 2009 after eight years of George W. Bush, he inherited a country that was in a mild depression, with six trillion dollars in debt, a collapsed financial market, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, low consumer confidence, growing unemployment, American hatred abroad, skyrocketing health care costs and Osama Bin Laden at large and killing Americans.

No one with common sense would have expected Barrow or Obama to solve all their countries’ problems in their first terms. Barrow was Belize’s first Black prime minister and Obama the first Black president of the United States.

The political system in Belize is different from the United States; the prime minister is not elected by the people in a direct vote as Americans elect their presidents. Perhaps, if Belizeans were to elect their prime minister through a direct vote, we would always have a Hispanic Belizean as our prime minister, because Belize has more Hispanics than Blacks today; and there are some people who prefer to vote for their own race.

Since these two able and capable men came to office, they have been working hard to deal with the problems they inherited, at a time when many international financial markets, including Europe’s were having serious problems. Unemployment is also a major problem in most countries today and they are trying to find ways to solve it.

Barrow has a 26-5 majority in the House of Representatives and can recommend all his reform agenda to this body to get approval, but members of the People’s United Party and their financier, Michael Ashcroft, are still angry because they lost the last election: so they have been using unnecessary legal court actions to try and stop the government from implementing their reforms.

These actions are costing Belizean taxpayers millions of dollars in legal fees and time. In the United States, the Republican Party is using their control of the House of Representatives to block all the reform proposals from President Obama.

When President Obama first got into office, I heard the senior republican senator from Kentucky, Mitch McConnel, uttering the ,following words: “We are going to make sure that he is only a one term president.”

That is what the Republican Party is interested in and nothing else. They are not even concerned about the living conditions of most American people who are unemployed or in need of the basic resources to survive; just power and control.

If Congress were to pass the reforms proposed by the president, the unemployment situation will be resolved quickly and they would get credit for working with the president and possibly regain control of both houses of the Congress.

The American people have come to the conclusion that the Republican Party’s hatred for President Obama is going too far and is not going to be tolerated. Come November, they are beginning to mobilize themselves to vote for the presidency and Congress.

They are thinking the opposite: that only they could still lose the House of Representatives and the Senate.

In Belize the People’s United Party is fragmented and stagnated to the point that they do not even know how to move forward with their plans.

In the last election of February 2008, they outspent the United Democratic Party by a huge margin and still lost badly at the polls. Belizeans were saying; “We go tek de money and vote them out” and that is what they did. Now they know that having money alone in Belize will not guarantee them an election victory.

The people who have financed the People’s United Party (P.U.P.) over the years, are afraid to give them their money and then suffer the same faith they did in the last election. Plus, Michael Ashcroft has been spending a lot of money on these Lawyers who are bringing cases to court that has no legal merit just to get a paycheck.

No matter how much money they spend, the Belize People are already fed up with their stupid legal blocking games and are going to be waiting for them come election day.

In the United States the Republican circus will soon be over and the American people will be ready to go and see the show with their new clown.