I found this an interesting political article. Interesting because it gives a good insight, although I don't necessarily agree with the contents:Commentary: The role of third parties in Belize politics
Published on Tuesday, February 19, 2008
By Wellington C. Ramos
The role of third parties in Belize politics have always been a controversial topic historically in our country. Belizeans normally like to vote for the two major parties that they grew up in, which are the People’s United Party and the United Democratic Party. Even though Belizeans through their frustrations would tell you that they will not vote on Election Day because UDP and PUP are the same thing, the chances for them voting for a third party is always slim. Born in Dangriga Town, the cultural
capital of Belize, Wellington Ramos
has an M.A. in Urban Studies from
Long Island University
Third parties in Belize have failed in shaping their political philosophy, organize nationwide, build grassroots support and compete in village councils, municipal and general elections nationwide. General elections are held in Belize every five years and municipal elections are held every three years. In the past most of the third parties would field candidates months before the general election instead of trying to shape their philosophy, organize nationwide and compete in the village council and municipal elections before fielding candidates for the general elections.
The most organized political party in the history of Belize is still the People’s United Party. Members of the People’s United Party tend to vote party-line and are dedicated to their party. The United Democratic Party members are not as diehard and could be swayed to vote for another party easier than a PUP. Belizeans are becoming disgusted with the UDP and the PUP but they do not have an alternative party that can convince them to leave their party at this point and time.
Many Belizeans are moving away from the two major parties and are identifying themselves as independents, with the hope of becoming a member of a real third party that can become significant in Belize politics. So far that third party has not emerged but there is the potential for that to occur now that the People’s United Party have suffered a major defeat at the polls recently.
Currently, the People’s United Party has a lot of rebuilding to do. There is also the possibility that another party will emerge from the People’s United Party under the leadership of Mark Espat. I have always felt that the People’s United Party was divided into six factions which are George Price Faction, Musa Faction, Marin Faction, Briceno Faction, Fonseca Faction and Espat Faction. In public they try to give the Belizean people the perception that they are united but in reality they have divisions that go deep in philosophy and competing family interests.
The People’s United Party lost this election mainly because of the perception and attitude these families displayed to the rest of Belizeans. Many Belizeans came to the conclusion that it is all about them and not about us. In politics, a good government is one that shows that they care about the people that they govern by delivering to the people their basic needs.
If a government fails to provide for the people they govern, then that government is no longer serving in the best interests of the people and as a result must be removed from office. People’s anger have sometimes led to forceful removals instead of peaceful removals. Belizeans cannot afford to have a government in power that they are so disgusted with that could lead them to forcefully remove them from office.
In the next few weeks the People’s United Party will be having a party convention to elect a new leader. If the convention is not held fairly, there is a strong possibility that some of the current members of the People’s United Party will break away and form their own party. The only thing that can keep the People’s United Party together is a threat by other party members that they will expose some of their illegal activities to the public if they should decide to leave the party.
Some members of the People’s United Party, may also want to join the United Democratic Party but I do not think the UDP will accept them because of their past conduct as PUP ministers and the fear that they are involved in corruption investigations. The United Democratic Party will be conducting some investigations into the activities of most of these PUP Ministers and, depending on the outcome of those investigations, that will also influence the decisions the current members of the People’s United Party will make to leave or stay in the party.
The United Democratic Party is in power now and they have been given a full mandate by the people of Belize to govern our country. This is only the second time in Belize’s history that the people of Belize have entrusted the government to them with such confidence. They must use the power they have been given to institute constructive and fundamental changes even if they have to amend the Constitution of Belize to do it.
Belizeans are so frustrated and angry right now they want to see real changes and they are not prepared to hear more excuses. In politics, there is always populism and grassroots support. A politician with grassroots support is always harder to defeat than a politician with populism. This is because a person’s popularity fades quickly when things start to go wrong but with grassroots support your supporters will remain with you through thick and thin.
The third parties must begin to work and focus on the areas I have outlined if they intend to become major players in Belize’s political future. If they are not willing and prepared to face and overcome these challenges, then they should stop wasting there time and get out of politics and seek a different occupation.http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/news-6107--6-6--.html