REPORT #60 April 1999

Produced by the Belize Development Trust
Since 1949, when the United Nations mandated old colonies had to be set free to find self determination, the much ballyhooed European solution of Democracy, Parliaments, Elected Representatives and Multi-party politics was supposed to be the answer for these third world countries. After 50 years, the answers are in! The whole European concept is a failure! Massive failure in certain continents like Asia, Africa, the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean. This much hyped, much hoped for solution, bandied about by well meaning academics has not produced the results dreamed off, in those halycon bygone years of idealism.

We have found out that elections are too easily manipulated and stolen. An election can do more harm than good under the parliamentary system. It allows, autocrats and dictators to wrap themselves in an aura of legitimacy. Before another election is held in the Caribbean countries, Constitutions need to be re-written in a Federalistic, de-centralized co-operative style managment architecture. This will reduce the tendency to one party controlling imperial style presidencies and autocratic Prime Ministers.

Government controls over the media, needs to be broken in some places. Security forces, army defence units and national police forces, now mostly tools of repression against political opposition and minorities, also needs to be de-centralized and subject to control of local voters, through locally two year elected police chiefs. Political party politicians controlled national police forces are a proven recipe for dictatorial oppression and corruption. Voters must be properly registered. Voter education on the issues, through local districts and matching national fund grants a priority. Regular local balloting a normal procedure in all localities. Losers in elections at the national level need some sort of stake in the system, rather than the "winner take all" contest that now produces factional warfare and political retribution through political manipulation of the civil service bureaucracies, justice and legal system.

Until these constitutional changes are made in the Caribbean, it is useless to talk about balancing the budget, foreign debt control, economic growth, creating employment and self suffiency. Without these basic steps, any election in Belize and the rest of the British Caribbean is a sham, a charade of democracy, purpoting to deliver idealistic goals that can never be met, because of the evils of the current political system that caters to greed, ruthlessness, autocracy and the base emotions of opportunists and the power hungry. The more successful trends worldwide, are stronger regional groupings. Economic bargaining power and federalism within countries through de-centralization of the political process. Power sharing and consensus policy making are the successful trends; but power hungry autocratic despots are the rule, in the Caribbean parliamentary political party system. Nor do these party leader autocratic despots want to relinquish their ability to manipulate the current centralized systems. Ex-Prime Minister Esquivel of Belize is a self declared example of this attitude. Such persons fight to protect and ever regulate more control over their citizens, to the detriment of the nation's future progress.

Our last Prime Minister in Belize and every Prime Minister since colonial days have been party autocratic despots. The current one speaks political reform in double-speak, but instead of tending to the domestic requirements and local needs of political reform and constitutional changes, that are a priority for future success of Belize; he has spent the first five months in office flitting around the world in a frenzy of international meetings and conferences. For the most part this wasted frenzy of activity are largly elaborate ceremonial talk shops. Caribbean party leaders are loath to cede any of their precious autocratic autonomy to any wider internal de-centralized federated system of power and policy sharing. So, we are left with the lunacy of a small appointed cabinet group of self appointed cronies, micro-managing nations throughout the British Caribbean. Running their nation's into ever increasing foreign debt. E-mail and Cabinet Minister live chat rooms, utilizing software encryption to keep privacy via the internet should replace this frenzy of international travel. It would be far more productive on regional policies. British Caribbean political party leaders play the race card were it is applicable, or otherwise substitute party colors, buying votes, intimidation and persecution and party slogans as a substitute in the race to be the latest autocratic despot. This is in many nations enhanced by monopolies on the media, controlled information and financially prohibited public access to the internet, through competitive services and public rural library freenet services. Belize is a prime example of this retarded information access policy.

We can see from Africa the excesses of inherited colonial party systems. In Liberia, anarchy now rules, while youths toting AK-47's roam the country, killing wantonly. Massive election fraud in Kenya and jailing the political opposition on framed charges is supposedly the most stable cruel oppressive dictatorship in Central Africa. Somalia remains a starving clan ridden warlord country. The civil war in Sudan is now going on into twenty years of continous slaughter and starvation. Mobutu, the "elected" despot of Zaire still clings to power, even with cancer. In the meantime, the jungle is encroaching on the once lively colonial city of Kinshasha, while the country continues to splinter into defacto mini-states.

Mugabe ( another "elected" despot ) is still enthroned in Zimbabwe, the old Rhodesia. He is becoming more oppressive and authoratarian every day, while cloaking himself in the mantle of electoral legitimacy. Chilbua is still in power in Zambia, democracy trampled like a food garden by a herd of wild elephants.

The military dictatorship of generals in Nigeria, retired and cloaked their ruthlessness behind the cloak of our British style parliamentary election system in a new government they basically bought with stolen oil billions. Museveni still runs Uganda, the latest in a string of "elected" permanent rulers. Paul Biya still runs Cameroon as a private fiefdom like our local Nicaraguan Somosa did and later Sandanista Ortega did. Omar Bongo with his platform shoes still runs Gabon. The border between Zaire and Rwanda remains a crisis zone. Burundi better than most, boils to the point of revolution and civil war, but seems to stop at the brink each time. There are more fraudulant elections, coups and riots and refugees in Africa, on a far larger scale than we see locally here in Central America. Yet our next door neighbor, financed and encouraged by the USA state and covert departments, continues to support an ethnic Spanish control, over a predominantly Mayan population that traditionally likes communal government. In the words of Guatemalan President Carlos Arana, 1971. "If it is necessary to turn the country of Guatemala into a cemetary to pacify it, I will not hesitate to do so." And so he and his presidential successors as USA proxies have done so, with over a quarter million dead so far.

Can these things happen in the Caribbean? Of course! They already have on much smaller population scales. So where is the enemy? It is the current parliamentary, political party "winner take all", constitutional system, used by most of the Caribbean countries.

In Belize, we need a ceremonial one year elected Prime Minister to flit around the world representing Belize. The cabinet needs to be independently elected Ministers on two year terms as in the State of Florida government. The legislature needs to be a two year term of elected representatives, one half of which get elected each year. The Senate needs to be elected, one male and one female from each district in Belize, with power to reject national legislation. District governments, or elected councils/commissions need autonomy in their local area, with the power to veto national legislation. As done by the Cantons in Switzerland. The national police force needs reducing to a set of specialist teams. Local policing done by local community police chiefs on two year elected terms. Different methods of distributing national revenue to district and town and village governments and let them do the job themselves. A Referendum Act allowing local and national problems perceived by minorities to be put to the vote, legislated by petition support and time limits.

Can we build a more successful Belize? Of course! The stumbling block is the political party controlled government under this constitution. African, Caribbean and Latin American recent history shows those simple lessons. Our present governing system is a world wide evolutionary dead end.

Why independently elected cabinet ministers, as used in Florida? to formulate policy by consensus. No one party, or viewpoint would prevail. Majority vote from consensu bargaining. Why an independently elected Prime Minister? Copy Switzerland! Elect somebody for one year for ceremonial signing purposes, or to represent the nation abroad, with no policy making powers, except a vote in cabinet meeting to break a tie. Why stagger one half of elected representatives every year? To prevent cliques, gangs, and one party control over longer terms. Why two year terms for elected representatives as in Florida State Government? Political burn out! To provide fresh ideas, enthusiasim and new faces. Why two Senators elected from each district, one male and one female? Gender equality in government and a check on legislation by the national parliament by geographic local internal interests. This confines national government to national issues and stops this self-defeating micro-management we use with appointed cronies as Cabinet Ministers and freedom for their discretion ( corruption! ). Why a Senate rejection capability on the legislature? To protect district interests on national legislation, when one party viewpoint becomes dominant, or external consultants wish to override local concerns. This forces some bargaining, horse trading and a national consensus. Why the power of veto over national legislative policy, by a 90 day window for district governments/councils/commissions? ( As in Switzerland cantons ) To protect district geographic interests and provide equity in distribution of national revenue systems. Why a reduced national police force? Governments and the police should serve the voting citizens, never the politicians, or a political party who won the election. Citizen control through local police forces and an elected two year chief gives a check and balance at the ballot box over the police. Otherwise, nobody polices the national oppressive police force of Belize. It is a tool of the current winning political party and maximum autocratic leader, currently in the Belize system.

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