REPORT #128 Nov 1999

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

Recently, on the Belize Culture Listserve, the subject of wiretaps came up. I was surprised to learn that at any given time there are an estimated 400 phone taps around the nation of Belize.

It was pointed out that there are no checks and balances, from the judicial system, or legislative system against political party shenanigans, using their autocratic dictatorial power in Belmopan to monitor telephones of private individuals under the guise of National Security and the dreaded omnipotent political police machine that is nationwide.

Indeed, someone pointed out, that the present PUP Attorney General was not an elected person by the people, but a party hack appointment to enhance control of the people, for political party purposes. He is alleged to be also Minister of Telecommunications. If these comments from the listserve are true then we certainly have a dangerous system of government. When the justice system and the telecommunications ( wiretaps ) belong to the same cabinet minister, you certainly have a problem in the country. Not to speak of the rubber stamp legislature. Hardly a democracy in Belize.

I am reminded of the ongoing problems in Serbia, where Milosevic the President/Prime Minister/Warlord/Pasha, or whatever he is acting like, uses the military, and the police and criminals from the jails as militia squads, to torture, rob, rape, murder and terroize the population of Serbia. In his mania for dictatorial absolute power, he destroyed and broke up the Federation of Yugoslavia over the last 10 years with a million citizens dead and is currently killing and imprisoning and intimidating and brutalizing any and all opposition to him in Serbia. Censorship is rampant, phones closed down, web sites and church priests. All free radio and t.v. have been seized, only his controlled media organs can print, or broadcast. It is not that bad in Belize yet, ( it used to be during the days of the PUP with PRICE at the helm using colonial rules) but it certainly looks like the conflict of interest between party rulership and control of justice and telecommunications leaves a lot to be desired for any aspiring future democracy of Belize. Wiretaps with no checks and balances. What a thought! ( shudder!)

Wonder if the media want to check into this and show us poor citizens where the democratic checks and balances are?

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