Ideas and Opinions

About Governments

This piece is really about Belizean Governments, starting with the Government of the United Democratic Party elected in 1984 and, about nationalism. All the governments, from then and until now, declare when they are seeking power that they would do great things for the country and they would serve the best interests of the people but, they did not. When they are in office for five long years, the interests of the nation are subordinate to the personal interests of individual ministers and to their political party interests.

According to the columnist Searchlight in this week’s El Guardian, the notion that a political party in office should put the national interest above that of the party is noble but unrealistic. I disagree with Searchlight, although I concede that the behavior of all but one government would support her view. The notion is indeed noble but, it is also what the people expect and, are entitled to. No people can become a nation if their leaders, during their foundational years, are dishonorable men. The reason why this is so is this: - The interests of individuals and parties are narrow and limited. The interests of a nation are great and boundless.

I invite Searchlight to consider the dictum: Profster Salutem Nostrum. It means, for the benefit of my readers (not Searchlight), enlightened self-interest. It is enlightened self-interest for a government to put the national interest above that of his party because, in the end, the pursuit of the national interest benefits everyone. Simple logic. It is in keeping with Profster Salutem Nostrum that our government is acting in the matter of our administration of our Public Service Utilities.

The government of Prime Minister, Dean Barrow has declared a policy that government should exercise direct control of our public utilities and, is proposing a constitutional amendment to enshrine this measure for all time. This is putting the interest of the nation above all else and, two of the most affluent and powerful entities have been discomfited. These entities might have been very generous contributors to a party that put its own interests first.

You would have thought that there would have been overwhelming support for the proposed amendment but, that has not been the case. Some individuals and groups think that it will serve a higher cause than that which the amendment seeks. They have objections which have to be dealt with, but, in the end, it has to be accepted that Parliament, with the supreme authority given to it by the people has the ultimate power to act in their name, and no court can prevent it from doing so. Only the people can withdraw the power given to Parliament.

The Third Sex

God made the sexes, male and female and human beings have added a third.

I have great admiration for the proponents, apologists, advocates and practitioners of what was once considered to be abnormal and unnatural behavior and in fact, a perversion. You can’t help but admire their journey from being social pariahs to being firstly, tolerated, then accepted and now, demanding that their activity be approved by society with the sanction of the state. They have come a long way, and deserve to be commended for seizing every opportunity, making the right alliances, joining the right causes and practicing the finest arts of diplomacy. Following the lead of the Western Democracies, it has been established here that what adult citizens do in their private rooms is their own business. So. If two men live together for a long time, they may reasonably be suspected of engaging in acts, “against the order of nature” but, the police cannot enter their abode to confirm their suspicion. They have a right to privacy. Not satisfied with the status quo, Caleb Orosco and his associates have brought a suit in our court claming that the law which declares, that it is a crime for persons who engage in carnal intercourse against the order of nature, is unconstitutional. Their attorneys submit that the law is unconstitutional because it denies their principals right to privacy. On the face of it, it would seem the applicants’ case has no merit because, it is a fact that in Belize not only are their right to privacy not denied, it is respected however, attorneys for the applicants (one of then is a Queen’s Counsel) would not bring a suit against the Attorney General if they were not confident of the outcome.

The action is against the Attorney General but, in reality is against our Belizean Society. The law, which the applicants seek to have declared unconstitutional, reflects the mores of a society, which is predominantly Christian. The law prohibits carnal intercourse against the order of nature and, therefore, the only question that needs to be settled is whether the act expressing the sexual preference of homosexuals is against the order of nature. Caleb Orosco says that God is not the be all and end all. He is right about that in America and England but, not in Belize. God is in this country. That is why in the preamble to our Constitution (in which resides its Spirit) the supremacy of God is affirmed. Also, it is explicit in the preamble that individual freedoms are limited and the Common Good takes precedence over them.

Let me conclude by referring Caleb and his associates to the immortal words of John Donne. “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a part of the continent, a piece of the main.” The society (the continent) has the right to set standards of conduct and behavior and, to make rules for its protection, good order and survival. The individual has the obligation to exercise self-restraint in his conduct and behavior. This is what makes a society, cohesive. Without it, things would fall apart.

A Unique Newspaper

There is a weekly newspaper, which name is represented by initials N.P., published in our capital city, Belmopan. It was first issued in August 2008. Since then it has had 158 issues and, in every one of these issues is featured an ad, caricaturing and attacking the publisher of Belize’s leading newspaper, Amandala. In addition, there are regular articles, even editorials, featuring Evan X Hyde, always derogatory.

The paper has two or three competent journalists, whose standing in their profession would entitle them to positions on the editorial staff of reputable national newspapers, well able to pay them what they are worth and, to provide them with the opportunity to make valuable contributions to our national discourse. That they remain with N.P., despite their bright prospects, where they spend much valuable time singing the praises of their publisher and attacking Evan X Hyde is very intriguing, unless, of course, they have their own personal axes to grind and, their cause and their publisher’s is the same.

After reading a few issues of N.P., a discerning reader would have to conclude that the primary purpose for the existence of this paper is to attack the person and his character and, to destroy the reputation of Evan X Hyde. If that is true, that would make the N.P. unique in the history of newspaper publications, would it not? Unique, not in a wholesome, healthy sense but, as a blotch on the honor of the Fourth Estate.

Sir Edmund Burke once wrote that if a society had no internal restraint, it should have to be imposed. So. I have to ask this question. Has the publisher of the National Perspective no self-restraint?

Janus, for Amandala