Posted: Wednesday, October 19, 2016. 10:05 a.m. CST.
By Delroy Cuthkelvin:These are difficult and defining days for our UDP Government, and the fact that the immediate danger appears to have subsided is no reason for complacency or any return to business as usual. Evidently, all is not well in Belmopan, and it would be unwise, perhaps suicidal for us to act as if it were. We have been granted a new lease on life, as it were, and we must be gracious and humble about it. We can ill-afford to be arrogant or gloating; nor should we be harbouring feelings of spite or revenge. After all, being in charge of the nation’s affairs and in trust of the public’s resources is not an entitlement but a privilege that is granted only by the people and can be withdrawn by them at any time, especially but not exclusively at election time.
It was Abraham Lincoln who declared in his 1861 inaugural address, “This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.” These are serious words that must serve as a constant reminder to every incumbent politician and administration as to where the power they exercise truly resides.
We have, of course, effectively argued that this administration, while imperfect, has not proven itself to be utterly unworthy of the trust placed in it, has not completely lost its moral authority to govern as did that other administration that ruled in 2005, and that it would therefore be impossible to replicate at this time the general mood of outrage and revolt that prevailed at that time. For while there’s an undeniable and unacceptable degree of public discontent, it clearly has not approximated the levels attained during the last administration.
To put it another way, this UDP Government under the exemplary stewardship of Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, while intermittently shaken by troubling episodes of individual misconduct or impropriety, has certainly not been rocked by the magnitude of relentless wholesale public abuse that became the order of the day for the Said Musa Administration of 1998 to 2008, and it has therefore not been rendered unfit or incapable of continuing its national development agenda as did that administration now recorded in history as having presided over the worst period of excess and wastefulness in the governance of our young nation.
It is not, of course, much of a feat to not be as bad as that other administration was; and our Prime Minister and Government can hardly be content with such minimum achievement. We should, instead, constantly strive to be better than ourselves; and we must hasten to institute, activate and retool, as the people are demanding, mechanisms to doggedly guard ourselves and future administrations against the human propensity for selfishness and greed to which the best of us is not immune.
In Belize, there’s a strange truth that has come to be generally accepted. It is that our electorate and people tend to hold the UDP to a higher standard than that other party. Some might regard this as unfair, but it is our considered view that we should be proud of it, humbled by it, and forever guided by it. The Nation and People expect us to do better. We cannot disappoint them, nor can the nation afford it; for every time the vicious cycle repeats itself, the cost increases exponentially. Indeed, the immediate danger might have subsided, but the challenge remains, and grows ever more urgent.
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