Below an interesting opinion article from the Belize Times:

Originally Posted by The Belize times
Saturday, 20 September 2008

Belize City, September 18, 2008
- Prime Minister Dean Barrow is demonstrating clearly that he does not have control over his administration. Belizeans only have to look at the ongoing infighting among UDP councilors and mayors at the municipal level, and the out of control behavior of his ministers at the national level.

There is complete disrespect and disgust for Mayor Zenaida Moya by Belize City Councilors. Apart from encountering strong opposition to her strong arm tactics, Moya has also come under fire from within her Party for alleged corruption and mismanagement of Council funds. Different factions within the UDP are working hard to replace her with Deputy Mayor Anthony Michael, and the result has been a nasty, dirty-linen airing all out war.

In Belmopan City, Mayor Simeon Lopez had to stave off a challenge to his mayoral candidacy from a current city councilor and a newcomer who was backed by senior ministers of the Barrow administration such as John Saldivar, Patrick Faber and Anthony Martinez. Apparently, the member from Belmopan cannot manipulate the Mayor to do his bidding, and sees him as a threat to his power.

In San Pedro Town, Mayor Elsa Paz withdrew her candidacy as the UDP’s mayoral candidate amidst a bitter power struggle with her councilors and prominent UDP supporters on the island. Disappointingly, there have been frequent acts of disorder at council meetings, and threats of physical violence against the female Mayor.

The ongoing infighting at the UDP-controlled city and town councils has succeeded in diverting attention from the real issues affecting the municipalities, such as garbage collection and street repairs. These issues are not on the agenda during closed council meetings as infighting dominates much of the time.

Residents are tired of seeing their municipalities torn apart by bickering and the ongoing infighting. Municipalities are not receiving the attention needed as councilors are not aware of their roles and responsibilities, while at the same time micromanaging the day-to-day operations and impeding managers in their work.

At the national level, Minister of Education Patrick Faber appears to have free rein to fire school wardens (the majority were single mothers), to cancel established school runs, to victimize education officers and teachers through unwarranted transfers, and to dissolve duly appointed high school boards, while abandoning his constituency.

Minister of Agriculture Rene Montero has been on a firing spree terminating the entire staff of the Coastal Zone Management Authority and any of his employees who he perceives to be sympathetic to the People’s United Party. At the same time, he has been replacing duly appointed water boards in the villages of his constituency

Also Ministers Patrick Faber, Manuel Heredia, Anthony Martinez, Gabriel Martinez, and John Saldivar are trying to impose their wills on municipal governments, favoring candidates who they see as political allies and facilitators of their various schemes, over the objections of party supporters in the municipalities.

Minister of State Edmund Castro on a whim decided to build a road through his constituency, without concern for budgetary constraints or the environmental impact on the fragile habitat of the Crooked Tree Lagoon, and despite objections from the Audubon Society and the Department of the Environment.

At the national level, it appears that Prime Minister Barrow and his ministers are not too concerned with the issues affecting the country such as the unprecedented crime rate, the soaring cost of living, the downturn in the tourism industry and the country’s poor image abroad. Regrettably, it seems that the UDP does not possess leaders who desire to lead the country with the interests of the nation above those of their party or their own.

The ongoing infighting at the municipal level and the out of control behavior of ministers at the national level are quite telling about the state within the UDP which has been showing clear signs of strain recently. As a result, there is no way that Prime Minister Barrow can escape criticism for the current state of affairs in the country.

The current state of the UDP is portraying Prime Minister Barrow as incapable of providing decisive leadership to the country, and he appears weakened as a result of the recent embarrassments originating from his municipal governments and ministers. Truth be told, Prime Minister Barrow does not appear willing to hold his councilors accountable for their poor performance, and appears unable to get tough on his ministers.

Sadly, there is no confidence that Prime Minister Barrow can develop answers to the big problems facing our country. As a result, the country seems to drift from problem to problem, with no sense of direction, no vision of what might be, and no plan for fixing those problems. Indeed, the Barrow administration is becoming increasingly unpopular as economic and social problems worsen.

The result is that Prime Minister Barrow is not perceived as a leader who can be relied on to see the country through difficult times.

Live and let live