REPORT #498 June 2002

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

One of the Political Reform issues in Belize, is the way we handle our finances. At the moment, the Prime Minister holds the keys to the Treasury and those in his party, who are elected, get to beg for whatever monies they want from him. Thus comes the Prime Minister's power. Or the small cabal within the Political Party that controls the government decide financial disbursements.

We need to change this system. Belize averages $350 million Bz, or $175 million USA, per year government revenue from taxes. We have six districts without governments. The country is run on a headquarters plantation model, with supervisors ( party representatives called Cabinet Ministers ) according to population numbers, and not to geographic needs. This hampers national development of the country and concentrates money spent, mostly on the population town centers, which have the most representatives in the party. There is no check and balance here to population tyranny, by an elected Senate representing geography needs.

When it comes to allocating the money earned by the government, we need to change how money is spent by Cabinet, or political party representatives, to a system of annual departmental budgets set by LAW.

The Belize Legislature, currently a rubber stamp for the party winners, usually holding cabinet positions; needs to have a serious debate based on their population representation viewpoint, on how the coming funds for the next year be appropriated. This LAW, or BILL, would go to the Senate for further debate. In a checks and balances Nation Building consensual system, the Senate would argue from a geographical, or six district government viewpoints, against the Legislative population representation viewpoints. The compromise departmental budget appropriations would than be passed into LAW. Binding on each national government department. These debates could be on national Television, like Channel 5. The Ministries, or Government Departments would then know what they have to spend for the next year and the Prime Minister's role would be largely ceremonial in signing the BILL for appropriations into law. Unlike what it is now.

The shortcomings now are; that the SENATE is not elected to represent the six districts of Belize as in Geographic interests, but is merely an appointed rubber stamp body. There is no consensual current debate, other than within the political party, controlled by the party leader as Prime Minister, who in turns holds the keys to the TREASURY, or tax money revenue.

If we are to get serious about NATION building in Belize, then we have to get serious about financial reform and a method of changing the system, from a single party controlled population representative system of tax revenue controls, to a system of consensual democracy; which would take into account both geographical six district geographical interests, as well as the population concentration method currently used.

There has to come a method of distributing tax revenues annually to the six districts by LAW on an equal basis for NATION BUILDING, distributed through National Departments, or Ministries. Otherwise we are no different than the ex-British colonies in Africa. Which are an unholy mess. The current system does not work! Obviously the BILLION dollar debt run up over the last three years, just proves this disappointing result once again. How many times will it take to learn this lesson repeated over and over again the past 40 years?

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