REPORT #559 November 2002

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

THE REAL BELIZE- Pre-Election Opportunities In Great Supply

by Godsman Ellis

Carlos was wearing a political party T-Shirt through the busy streets of San Ignacio when he was approached by a politician from the other party and asked why he was wearing the shirt. "Man, I got this shirt for free and was paid twenty dollars to wear it." Carlos was then offered another $20.00 not to wear the shirt, which he readily accepted and whistled merrily away. This incident is not isolated these days now that Town Board Elections are only weeks away.

The party machineries are now in gear using the standard type of fuel and lubrication. Employment is up with the district town boards, street maintenance, drain cleaning, garbage collection....."Mr Ellis, don't bother burn your rubbish today, the garbage truck will come around tomorrow." And surely they did. That was their third round for the week.

Campaigners old and recruits can be seen on the streets visiting homes of voters and registering voters. They will not have to worry about a job till after elections. Other employment opportunities are in meetings preparation - street announcements, rostrum setting-up, meeting marshals and notes takers, party office workers, all are on the political pay roll. Some campaigners are given special assignments which must be completed by election day.

As for the media, sales of newspapers should go up as more subscribers want to be up-dated on the latest political slinging. The sign painters too get their share of the cake as demand for banners and posters go up. Computer service providers will be putting out more fliers, good for the stationery shops. Even BTL should be collecting higher bills for February and March. Anxiously the taxi operators are looking forward to the election day. Their services will have to booked well in advance because of the high demand there will be election day.

The electorate from both political parties are very aware of the opportunity now of getting titles to their land leases and obtaining leases in new land acquired areas. A long line is at the door of the Area Representatives each morning waiting for urgent attention. The Lands Office has to double their efforts to cope with the requests both from the public and political represetatives. At this time some opposition members may even consider crossing over to the ruling party side. More opportunities.

Some citizens also see the opportunity for obtaining special favors like licences, sponsorships, special audiences, recommendations and hand-outs.

Alas, elections will pass and this economic boom will be all over. It will not matter then what T-shirt Carlos wears, the Town Board activities will be back to normal, the taxi drivers will each have their stories, the Lands Office will stand at ease. We will again be faced with the reality of our day to day livelihood pressing for opportunities and attention from the winning political party and start to prepare for the next elections.

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