Will there be a third party in Belize?

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 11, No. 11            March 15, 2001

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All the talk in the political arena these days is focused on one thing - "We the People" - a potential third political party. Although not announced as this, this group of distinguished businessmen who meet every other week are forming an "initiative" and brainstorming about government policies among themselves. With common goals, concerns and philosophies about how this country should be governed, it would appear likely that the United Democratic and People's United parties may be in for some competition.

    The San Pedro Sun spoke with Francis Gegg, a multi-faceted man who was most recently Chief Executive Officer of the Corozal Free Trade Zone. People of San Pedro Town will remember him best as the man who introduced the Yamaha outboard engine to the island while working for his father at Vogue Ltd. Mr. Gegg, on behalf of "We the People," provided the following information on this new "unofficial party." First, he reported, is their belief that Belizean people are disgusted with the past two government administrations. They feel at this time, there is a growing dissatisfaction with government's unfulfilled promises, lack of transparency and accountability, and broken contracts among other things. He stated his organization feels the biggest key to success is honesty. They feel parties should not make promises they cannot keep.

    Francis Gegg then stressed the importance of freedom of speech, expression and assembly for this country. One of his group's concerns is that Belize appears to linger in the days of colonialism when fear and intimidation kept countrymen from standing up for their rights. He further stated the group believes human rights should be guaranteed, but without a fair, impartial and independent judiciary, they feel this will never be the case. Mr. Gegg relayed that the group does not believe the country can rely on the actions of only one respected Chief Justice, that more are needed. He mentioned examples of other justices who had visited this country and, in a short time, made tremendous gains in the justice system.

    This led to a concern over the clause in many laws contained in Belize's Constitution of "Minister's Discretion." In essence, this gives total authority for a Minister to override decisions made by others and reduces the law to a mere guideline. Mr. Gegg replied that although this was only based on certain laws, his group would "take it out" as it "only enables graft and corruption."   

     When questioned on how "We the People" felt about government's increasing foreign debt, Mr. Gegg replied they believe that, financially, the country is on a "collision course with disaster." He confirmed his group of respected businessmen firmly believe in good money management to which he cited his own impressive financial accomplishments with the Corozal Free Trade Zone (CFZ) from its start to its current status. Like with the CFZ, their philosophy is to give private sector a helping hand and encourage them to develop their own enterprises, in turn supporting the country. Because of the laws applying to the CFZ, Mr. Gegg compared managing this particular area to "running a small country within a country." He continued that his organization feels it is time to emancipate Belizeans, to make them self reliant, to create opportunities for them and to eliminate the need for them to beg a government official for everything they want. He then stated one of his own personal philosophies which was, basically, if you give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day but if you teach a man to fish, he'll eat for a lifetime.

    Good news for those concerned with the selling-out of utilities is that this group believes in busting up monopolies for the good of the consumer. They feel it is unconscionable that a company can boast that half of their sales are profit. Mr. Gegg continued that equally puzzling is how electricity can be purchased from Mexico at US $.04 and yet be sold shamelessly for a whopping US$.20 or more. Asked how his "monopoly busters" would handle the water situation, he stated that there could be "three pipes side-by-side underground" if that's what it takes.

    Asked about financial support for this "non-party" Mr. Gegg vowed that there would be no special interest groups buying into "We the People". They will rely on concerned citizens and the spirit of the people to back them. He explained "We the People" is comprised of a team with moral character, integrity and vision and anyone who feels they can honestly contribute something whether financially or physically to their philosophy is welcome to contact them.

    Being a spiritual man, Mr. Gegg wrapped up the conversation quoting words from the Bible and stating he believes God plans everything in its time and he believes the time is now for "We the People."

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