As has been promised by the Belizean people for a long time now, the United Democratic Party was kicked out of office on Wednesday, November 11th, a day that will go down in history. It is a resounding victory for the People’s United Party, which managed to win 26 of 31 seats. But more than that, it is a victory for the people of Belize who had long been tired of the stench of corruption which followed the UDP around.
The legacy left behind by Dean Barrow will taint the UDP for many years to come. The man who boasted about wielding a two-sided machete with which he would chop corruption out of his party went on to preside over twelve years of unbridled corruption. The man who claimed that he would never indulge in hanky panky placed his unqualified son at the helm of BTL, on terms that made him a millionaire almost overnight, and that does not take into account the awarding of the $500M Boledo contract. Barrow the self-avowed saint also ensured that his family members benefitted majestically from the public trough, even as he claimed time and again to be a bastion of integrity. The UDP’s trouncing at the polls is less a reflection of the immaturity, weakness and stupidity of Patrick Faber, and more the result of Barrow’s 12 year reign of corruption, incompetence, arrogance and greed.
As brilliant and amazing as he believed himself to be, Barrow destroyed the UDP he claimed to love so much, by his actions and also by his inaction in the face of outrageous criminality and corruption. No administration in our country’s political history has been so riddled with stinking greed, nepotism, hustling and unjust enrichment. From Penner, who the pontificating blow-hard Barrow declared to be factually but not legally guilty, to the absurd Castro, who Barrow said was distasteful, but not corrupt. Barrow, perhaps caught up in the web of his own making, determined by the enrichment of his own family, could do nothing as Ministers fed at the public trough like long-starved gluttons. Imagine, a pool repairman turned multi-millionaire who was accused, with evidence, of diverting government funds into an account he controlled – and Barrow did nothing.
It is the injustice which did Barrow, Faber and the UDP in. The people of Belize got tired of watching as UDP Ministers and cronies and friends and family became filthy rich, while the country remained poor. Hundreds and hundreds of millions squandered, and at the end of twelve years more Belizeans were poor. The people got tired of watching as a select few got access to all the opportunities. We got tired of watching UDPs breaking the law with impunity, and spending our money without oversight. We got tired of watching the UDP behave as if they were a power without reckoning, even defying orders of the Court. We got tired of the rampant corruption, of the manipulation and the abuse and the violations, all explained away by Barrow with trademark eloquence, but as substantial as the stuff found in communal outhouses.
Today, we usher in a new era of Belizean politics, and welcome a Prime Minister who makes history by being from outside of Belize City. There is much work to be done, but the team led by our Prime Minister, Hon. John Briceño is up to the task. This is not business as usual. This is not politics as usual. There will be no tolerance of corruption, and there will be integrity, accounting and oversight. There is a plan for the structured revitalizing of the economy, and a plan to fight the pandemic which has laid us low.
This is the People’s United Party – a party of the people, destined to serve the people and nation of Belize. As it is said, so shall it be done!