REPORT #80 June 1999
(the elected representative)

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

Are you part of the Belize educated unemployed? The 10,000 academically educated Belizeans, Dorla Bowman talked about in her Reporter newspaper article, who seek salaried work, not entrepreneurial independence? Then consider that you have two choices! Either vote with your feet and leave Belize, like over 300,000 before you have done. Or, enter the elected representative competition for a government paid job, big time!

More and more of the Caribbean nations are losing their academically, mis-trained elite to the USA and Europe. Mostly to the USA. No longer is immigration, both legal and illegal into the USA, the uneducated campesino, taking dirt poor jobs. Immigration statistics show that middle level professionals are now the new flood of immigrants into Florida, Texas and California. Most of these have some experience being in business for themselves, but are tired of the irrational politics at home, the lack of reliable infra-structure, unreliable politics and mis-application of laws.

Organization, is what is attracting the new wave of middle level professionals to the USA. The fact that equipment parts are available within hours, or overnight by Federal Express, the electricity doesn't go into blackout in the middle of your work, the rules and tax laws do not change in the middle of your contract, the water is always there, the roads and traffic signals work, the bureaucracy does not discriminate in licensing. As Luz Castillo of the Dominican Republic said, when interviewed! " I was fed up. I decided I didn't need the aggravation, social, political and economic problems. It was too much." In some Caribbean countries, it is political persecution, self exile from political party changes and uncertainty, kidnappings for ransom, or other things, like a little space to be on your own with some privacy.

You too can vote on the political and economic situation in Belize. Simply vote with your feet and leave! But if you don't want to leave Belize, then consider a career in politics as an elected representative.

Yes you can do it! Do you have a rapport in your Belizean voting district with your neighbors? Can you take a few insults, slander, petty persecution and give as good as you get? If so, then you should consider a job as a career politician in the next national election. You do not require a political party. You can run as an independent. Or if a number of independents just like you, compete for election, then get together and form a party. Maybe it will be a party of one. Who cares! The point is to get elected. The UDP and PUP are full of people just like you. Many of them worse. Pure opportunists! You don't even have to worry about understanding the work. If you get a cabinet position, you will have a salaried bureaucrat Permanent Secretary to do your work for you and even he has an assistant Permanent Secretary. They do the work, not you!

DOES IT PAY? See for yourself.

Three days after the last general election results were known, on August 31, 1998, defeated former UDP legislators started the lineup to collect their money. The PUP who want the same courtesy at the next election, paid them promptly.

This was reported on the worldwide public internet, from the Belize Times, or words to that effect:

On October 13, 1998 - just over a month after the election,

Henry Young collected a lump sum of $60,000 tax free severance pay, and started collecting the monthly portion of his $14,400 annual pension.

On that same day, Melvin Hulse was paid $45,000 severance pay, and $10,800 annual pension.

Less than a month afterward, on November 10, 1998, Ruben Campos received $60,000 severance pay and $14,400 annual pension.

Salvador Fernandez got $60,000 severance pay and $14,400 annual pension.

Manuel Esquivel collected $65,725 severance pay and $15,774 annual pension.

Phillip Goldson, who was unceremoniously retired long ago by the UDP also got paid.

Other former legislators who were approved their money before the close of the fateful '98 are Dennis Usher's - severance pay of $32,022.90 approved on November 17, 1998.

Joseph Cayetano - severance pay of $35,382.58, also approved on November 17, 1998.

Russel Garcia collected his full $35,382.58 severance pay on February 11, 1999.

Faith also got her amount ($32,574).

And so too did Aragon - $60,000 plus pension of $14,400).

The only former UDP legislators still lining up to receive pensions and severance pay are: Hubert Elrington ($32,179) and Elito Urbina ($26,279.40).

UDP Mesopotamia Representative Michael Finnegan has been anxious for all of his defeated colleagues to collect their severance pay and pension, totalling in excess of $700,000.

The PUP elected representatives will get the same, or more adjusted for cost of living, inflation and so on, in four and a quarter more years. You will be set for life! I tell you, politics pays! Run for elected representative! Start campaigning now and working out whose votes you have to have to win!

Where does the money come from? Foreign loans! The new loan driven colonialism captive state economic market empires.

Consider carefully! How much do you make now, NET INCOME for the year, after expenses and salaries?

Do you know that 40% of the population (women) of Belize do not earn $750 per year? Another 40% of Belizeans (male) do not make $1000 a year, cash in hand. That is 80% of the possible voting population. Or 184,000 out of 320,000 in Belize capable of voting, ( figures are approximate ) do not make a $1000 a year Belize, in net cash flow. They live subsistance, hunting, farming, fishing lives and only get a small amount of cash through selling their surplus, or from odd jobs.

Heck! If you are a middle level family, well educated, you are probably earning as an individual, net income, after expenses and taxes, less than $4000 Bz per year. Yet if you run as an elected representative on an Independent ticket and should you get elected, you will earn in excess of $35,000 salary each year, get a brand new sparkling new vehicle, free gasoline, travel trips around the world to exotic interesting places ( for conferences (hic!), per diem expenses that will double, or triple your real salary as an elected representative, the chance to get some land or other perk, that you might turn into money, or security of some sort. But when you quit, or lose the following election, take a look at the severance pay and the annual pension. The pension is 3 or 4 times more than what you can earn as a middle income wage earner in Belize today. As an educated unemployed Belizean you owe it to yourself to try to run for elected representative with your party of one.

You could join, or start a Reform Party. Belize badly needs that, with the intention of changing the Constitution of Belize; but then you would be faced with a moral question? Before you cancel all the pensions and stuff legislation, should you include yourself this one time and make it effective as of five years away? Should you guarantee yourself the pension, severance pay and your salary for the rest of your term that you will surrender, under the switch over to the new Belize Constitution, modeled on Federalism? Probably you should. Otherwise it will never get done.

Will the PUP bring in Federalism? Not a chance! The best political observers in Belize, say absolutely not. So, there you have it. Belize needs a patriot like you to bring democracy to the nation and some modicum of common sense. True! We are going to have an Ombudsman law, but other countries have such things. They are play things to mollify a mass ignorant public. There usually is no compulsion for Minister's to obey an Ombudsman, or even do any more than throw the problems in the wastebasket. So it works in other countries! Belize has a fragile democracy and will easily be turned into a tinpot banana republic dictatorship in reality, instead of the pseudo dictatorship we have now. The Belize Constitution has to be changed.

The trouble with our fragile fledgling democracy, is that it is like a frog. If you put a frog in boiling water, it will jump out. If you put it into cold water and heat it slowly, the frog will sit there and accept it's fate. Incompetency, inability, and often downright corruption, will see the PUP lose another election sometime. The choice right now is only the UDP and they are no choice at all. But dispair breeds strange bedfellows. So young fellow, or lady. Please, start garnering your votes with your political party of one, for the next election. Please run and start figuring out your campaign. Belize needs you.

Even if you do it in your own selfish self interest, just like many of the others that have been elected representatives. Get rich, but give Belizeans a choice in the next election. Don't forget the Ombudsman's office only has the power to recommend and cajole. Agencies in other countries simply ignore them. Belize needs you in either a REFORM PARTY, or as an independent. The citizens need choices! Otherwise increasing debt and social problems are the order of the day, as 35 years of Belizean history have shown and 200 years of European history have also shown.

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