By: Hilly Bennett
The bough will break and the parasitic, corrupt, heartless UDP cradle will experience a fall like no other government has seen. The day of reckoning for the Barrow administration is fast approaching. The vast majority of the electorate has made up their minds- the tyrants cannot linger, UDP got to go!
Corruption remains rampant, there is total disregard for governance and the tenants of transparency and accountability. Governance is directly related to democracy, planted on the pillars of transparency and accountability. Augustine Carters an ex official of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cautioned that “without transparency and accountability, trust will be lacking between a government and those whom it governs. The results is an environment that is less conducive to economic growth.” This translate into what Giovanni Satori in his paper, Rethinking Democracy, Characterized as “Bad Politics”. He proffered that bad politics is bad economics, a minus-sum politics with a generalized loss for the people and country.
“Running Cost” the cost of running government is considered an unwise dept by economic experts. Bad economics. The Peoples United Party, Civil Society. The unions and the wider public has called on the UDP government to “trim the fat”, to stem the waste in government spending. Those calls has fallen on deaf ears. In early 2015, a unit was convened by the PM office to investigate government expropriation of public finances. A report was compiled which revealed wanton wastage in government expenditure of taxpayers monies. The report opined that public monies could have been spent more prudently.
The reports was prepared by the committee to Evaluate and Advise on cost saving measures (CEACS). Financial Secretary Joseph Waight validated the report as credible and it was submitted to Honorable Dean Barrow, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development. The committee drew concern with the exorbitant advertising cost attached to the government owned radio station. To date actual figures has not been forthcoming. Attention was given to monies paid to several Boards and committee members which CEACS noted was substantially high and was paid whether or not the Board met. The Income Tax Appeal Board Chairman, at the time, was being paid $3,000 and two other member $2,000 per month.
The matter of Permanently Established (PE) posting given to contract officers created an atmosphere of discontent. Contract Officers are employed at a higher salary with additional perks, including health insurance and vehicle. This situation continues to demoralize qualified individuals whose dream for upward mobility is denied. The recent announcement, by the PM, that Michelle Longsworth, wife of Herman Longsworth, is pointed to head the Revenue Authority is a case of cronyism and the undermining of the legitimate expectations of those at the top of the public service.
Apparently, the Income Tax Department and the General Sales Tax Department will be amalgamated to form the Revenue Authority institution. This move by the PM has raised eyebrows because Michelle Longsworth is not the right fit and lacks the expertise to command this new financial department effectively.
Several other areas were highlighted on wastage in government spending. Rental of private – owned buildings for office space amounted to some $3 million per year. Misuse of government vehicles and unwarranted fuel cost was amongst the list of excessive GOB spending.
Although, the report was deemed credible the Barrow government continue to exploit hard earned taxpayer’s dollars. Clearly this worthless administration lacks both political will and political conscience to do the right thing. Change is a must to correct this sordid mess by the UDPs.
The change cometh in the blue horizon. That change is the Peoples United Party government, unfolding its 20/20 vision, which includes people and country. Building a Belize that works for everyone.