There is ferment and there is fire in Belize these days, and it is our responsibility as Belize’s leading newspaper to share our thoughts on these matters with you. In this essay, we will consider the area of bus transportation on our major highways, the issue of the squatters on the lands recently opened up for the new Belize City bridge, and the matter of the law with respect to homosexuality.
Party politics is an activity which encourages emotional reactions in citizens, so that when an issue becomes bigger than party politics, over a period of time, such as crime and violence, it is really ridiculous when the electoral politicians start pointing fingers at each other. Bus transportation is a business which can be compared to crime and violence in that the problem grew in complexity and intensity over decades. The problem is that these areas do not respect change of government. In other words, it doesn’t matter much whether the UDP or the PUP is in power. Since 1989, we have had four changes of government – three PUP terms and two UDP. None of the political parties, when in power, is willing to give up its power to a bipartisan or nonpartisan commission to address crime or public transportation.
Control of the police and of the bus runs are important aspects of the lucrative power which political parties win on general election day, and the moneys in these areas are used to enrich the political party in power and reward its followers.
The recent uproar in the bus industry looks like a case of political corruption, but we can’t prove it. So, we’ll leave it at that. In public transportation as it presently exists in Belize, the problems are chronic. The “solutions” are always only temporary. As our two-party political system exists, whichever party tries to address the problem, does so with an eye on graft, and will be automatically attacked by the other party. Fu you, fu me, fu you, fu me …
“Lands” is perhaps the most corrupt government department in Belize, because there was an incredible real estate boom here which had lasted for almost three decades, until the international economic downturn about three years ago. The ruling UDP’s decision to throw squatters off the new Holy Emmanuel Street lands on the southern side of the Haulover Creek, and break down their houses, is interesting in timing. One, someone, almost fiendishly, symbolically chose the opening of the hurricane season, June 1, to visit mayhem on the squatters, and two, one is tempted to think this was the government’s way of showing its muscle in the immediate aftermath of the embarrassments they had to accept last week from the bus operators.
There is another interesting aspect of the evictions. Many of the original squatters had decided to move. Those who remained to suffer Wednesday’s abuse, were mostly immigrants from the Central American republics. Those squatters who were black, had moved. It had to be that the UDP felt that their Belize City base would countenance Wednesday’s evictions, on ethnic grounds at least. But, while there is ethnicity, there is also humanity. There were many children victimized in the pre-dawn evictions and home destructions. It was sad, really sad.
We move on to the Belizean gays, who have, no doubt with international support, made a move in the courts to have their same sex sexual activities declared legal. As the colonial laws stand, homosexuality is equated with bestiality, and is a crime punishable by ten years in jail.
The irony of what has been happening is that the people who are leading the charge against the change of the law include prominent homosexuals who have been in the so-called closet. They don’t need the law to be changed, because the homosexuals are so powerful in Belize no one can lock them up for their sexual behavior. Those who are fighting against the legalizing of homosexuality, are worried about same sex marriages, increased lifestyle flaunting by homosexuals, and other things which, they say, would follow formal legislation. Some of these same Belizeans have been pointedly ignoring homosexual child abuse by the clergy for years and decades.
We are saying that the legal argument is technical, so to speak. The gays are having and will be having a fine time in Belize whether the law is changed or not. The present debate is good if it flushes out some of those veteran pedophiles who have been enjoying unimpeded access to Belizean children.
The debate is a Northside one, to an extent. This is a controversial statement, and we mean no disrespect. We’re just telling it like it is. The subject of whether to formally legalize homosexuality or not don’t really mean diddly on the Southside. It don’t mean diddly. We have more deadly matters to trouble us.Amandala