REPORT #58 April 1999

Produced by the Belize Development Trust
Belize has always fitted from Colonial days through to the present, the outlines of a predatory state. Without popular control over the economic realm, democracy at best is at best limited in scope and incapable of reducing the vast inequities generated by a class ruler system. Whether this is represented by Colonial officers from a foreign power, or an elected clique that controls the machinery of a political party.

The purpose of the predatory state, is to provide the minimal means of government services, while using the status of exclusive government controls, to extract income from the rest of the constituents in the interest of a favored few, or business group, or new class society.

Whatever the legislation passed, the intent and purpose is to maximize the revenue of the group members, regardless of the impact on the wealth of the society as a whole and regardless of the effects upon efficiency.

In Belize, this has evolved from the Colonial mentors and colonial administrators, to a new class of predators. These are common throughout ex-colonies and are an elite group of opportunists who take control of the power blocs within a political party, then turn the services of the national party into an organism to take over the country and all the assets. Very much like a virus, that cannot reproduce on it's own, but must invade a cell, then the nucleus, and transform that cell's machinery into making more virus's.

The predatory state is thus a despotic structure of power, that preys on it's citizens without giving much in return. The total lack of accountability suppresses even the murmurs of democracy. Civil society and political society are forced eventually underground. They inhabit the unobtrusive realm of clandestine political struggle. In Belize, the reverse of this change came about under the United Democratic Party when they permitted public debate with government policy without personal attacks and political victimization and persecution. This party did not find itself forced to change the machinery of policy making and power sharing; but it did allow the flowering of more public debate; while retaining the key elements in the Belize Constitution and political parties to control any voter excesses.

A new party, the PUP was re-elected in 1998 to govern Belize under the old Constitutional rules. So far, nothing has changed. Though personal attacks, innuendos and intimidation are starting to flower from those representing the new rulers of Belize. Breaking the silence of the collective political historical atmosphere of fear in Belize was the biggest contribution of the UDP party, in the last five year term of office.

The fall of the dictatorship of political party rule has yet to be realized in Belize. The state of fear while dissolving slowly, still engenders caution in those who realize, that the machinery and structure, both of the governing structure ( Belize Constitution ) and the political parties themselves still exists and can be reversed in an instant of time.

The ability to express outrage with an official authority now exists in Belize; but the changes in political structure to allow the flowering of democracy, by a changed Belize Constitution has not yet happened. On the road to democracy, Belize still has a long way to go!

The defenders of elected dictatorship, centralization, representative style partial colonial democracy; bleat and trumpet their own horns, of how successfull they are ( with borrowed foreign loans ); despite the facts of observation of truly democratic governments where growth and economic success have been the results. Yet the former style which we still use in Belize, has historically been continued stagnation, increased poverty in vast areas of the country, political discontent, growing foreign national debt and the debilitation of democracy.

The real enemy of growth and economic wealth in Belize comes in two parts. One is the current colonial style centralized Belize Constitution and secondly, the political party machinery system, which allows a small clique within such a party to control the whole by appointments and not by consensus.

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