Saturday, May 17, 2008

From Politicians to Pikni

Entourage. The Tudors. Gossip Girls. C-Span? Yes, one of the best forms of entertainment any couch potato can receive is by watching C-Span - that frequently ignored channel that you probably would opt to remove from your listing if it would reduce your monthly cable bill. Though its incessant discussion of world politics may sound dreary, C-Span's regular coverage of the sitting of the House of Lords in England is one of the best forms of entertainment on television - what's more exciting than watching educated, aristocratic English men act like children, throwing political salvos at each other? (I call it a classier form of two ladies on Albert Street arguing about the better political party, e.g: "Lady 1: Musa deh pah yo side gial!"..."Lady 2: Which side? Mi backside!") But alas, there IS something more entertaining that this C-Span spectacle: Watching our politicians act like children as they debate at their own House meetings. The latest sitting last Wednesday proved to be the quintessential example. Ministers from both parties abuse this 'people-given' privilege, using the House as a forum to bicker more about personal disputes than serious social problems affecting the people they represent. It is time for both sides to emphasize meaningful propaganda rather than mere personal rhetoric that seek to embarrass each other and worse, slander the essence of democratic unity.

Aside from this personal bickering, there were in fact several key points from Wednesday's meeting that I would like to briefly highlight:

  • Isn't it funny how being demoted to the opposition party radically changes one's views? Take Musa, Briceno, Espat, (Francis) Fonseca, and Hyde for example. After the government presented arguments for the now controversial Referendum Amendment Bill, these members of the former regime admonished the government for attempting to pass a bill that allegedly would "revoke citizens' constitutional rights" (paraphrasing Musa). Now after the countless bills that were passed over the previous ten years that jeopardized the livelihoods of countless Belizeans, these Ministers should be the last to chastise their fellow politicians. I think except for Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde, the other members of the opposition have little credibility.
  • As for the Bill itself, its provisions does in fact seem to infringe on the personal liberty granted by the Constitution. The 60% factor (the amount of the population needed for any referendum to pass) is irrelevant to me. The amount of signatures necessary is equally irrelevant. The most important factor is the "the removal of the requirement for an automatic referendum on any proposed change to part 2 of the Constitution of Belize." (quoting Mark Espat)
  • Finally, I realize that many may scoff at point #1's reference to 'democratic unity.' I freely admit that I hesitated when typing that. While I admit it sounds naive, it does not detract from its truth. I am an admirer of political systems that allow for unity on issues from both political parties - and yes, these systems do exist! The Referendum Amendment Bill would be the perrrrrrrrrfect opportunity for our Ministers to stop acting like immature bigots by coming to a consensus, for once. The parameters of the Bill are negotiable if both parties are simply willing to negotiate (informally of course). It is time that politics in Belmopan evolves from its zero-sum system, where one party wins and the other party loses. At the end of the day, its the people who lose, having wasted precious time to stand in line and vote for men who are incapable of resolving pressing issues facing the country.


The Voice said...

What else can the opposition do but oppose? They have no other purpose... the government is in majority and can pass all bills with or without their votes.

True, they're worse than slimy little worms, but what more does the Opposition have to do but oppose?

We need a bi-partisan government to finally really see true debate in the house. That's what I'm waiting for.

Democrates said...

Of course, the job of the opposition is to oppose. But there should be no room for blatantly senseless opposition; if you allow it, then its simply a game of, "I'm the opposition so everything the other side says is bad." - how can that ever be good?

Anonymous said...

What is good for the politicians is bad for the country and what is bad for the country is good for the politicians.