Editorial (21.05.06)

Friday, 19 May 2006

All those who heard or read Minister Mark Espatís address to the Belize Tourism Industry Association on May 4, 2006 were impressed with it for the quality of the ideas, long simmering in peopleís minds, which were expressed with vigour and it appears, conviction.

The concepts of setting long-range targets, receiving cross-party inputs, aspiring to be visionary and at the same time practical and crossing the ideological divide laid out for us by some one-track politician - these are concepts popular and powerful among thinking Belizeans.

People donít care a hoot whether good ideas and concepts come from the PUP or the U.D.P., or whether they originate in the editorial pages of some newspaper.

In todayís world we all borrow ideas from one another and make them our own. This is not stealing! It is the way of civilisation. This is how we evolve!

It was surprising and a little unsettling to read about the U.D.P. reaction to the speech. One might have expected the U.D.P. to rejoice that a ranking member of the government party had seized upon one or more of its ideas and openly espoused it.

This newspaper for its part greatly admired the speech and the courage it took to enunciate the ideas and concepts in a party not known for its tolerance to criticism.

In particular we like the idea of an all-elected Senate with strong oversight responsibilities. We agree wholeheartedly with campaign finance reforms and a four-year term for elected representatives to shorten the time span between mandatory public consultations (elections).

White collar crime must be punished with the same justice that punishes other crimes, and politicians must be taught that they are not above the law and that the resources of the nation are not theirs to give away.

The development of Belize and its people must always be our highest priority and our noblest goal. Those who work to enrich themselves at the expense of the people should be viewed and treated as criminals.

The one thing we all need to be vigilant about is greed. For greed is the father of corruption. Corruption, as we have all seen, degrades us and turns us into monsters, bringing institutionalised poverty and strife into the life of the nation.

Corruption is responsible for the poverty and violence now endemic to Belize. Get rid of corruption and see our country bloom!