Posted: Friday, September 16, 2016. 4:39 p.m. CST.
By BBN Staff: The current United Democratic Party (UDP) government is a ship trying to navigate its way through rough and murky waters at this point and unfortunately for them, it seems as if the seas are only going to become increasingly violent as waves of scandals and corruption continue to inevitably find its way into the public domain. The UDP now finds itself in a position, not unlike the People’s United Party (PUP) found itself in leading up to its 2008 thrashing at the polls.
With all the heat the UDP government is currently facing, the PUP is in prime position to take advantage of the public sentiment of distrust toward Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s administration, if only the party’s senior members would take some cooking lessons. Instead of calling for elections now, the PUP should allow the UDP ample time to roast slowly in the pressure cooker it now finds itself in and let it marinate in the foul stench of corruption that seems to now have it rotting from within.
After all, it is a dish Barrow himself prepared and served to the PUP in 2008; now the PUP can serve him just as cold a dish. Barrow’s government now stands guilty of many of the same hypocrisies it once ridiculed the Said Musa government of. Even Barrow cannot deny that corruption has run rampant within his administration with him at the helm. But for all the many deficiencies that the public always knew existed, even within the UDP government, Barrow had always found a fay to smooth things out with the public and sweeten the dish.
He did so by writing off thousands of home mortgages before his first re-election and again by writing off many medical bills before becoming the first prime minister in the country’s history to win three consecutive elections in the post-independence era. But now, not even a year removed from that impressive feat, it seems as if Barrow has lost some of that persuasive swag, if only just a little.
Perhaps it’s because this government never really did have a plan to improve the country’s affairs, or perhaps it’s because the only solutions to the country’s problems were band-aid fixes or simply to sweep those problems under the rug that the UDP’s problems have now piled into a giant heap. The William Mason saga and the Auditor General’s report on the Immigration Department have forever tarnished Barrow’s administration, and deny it as he may, the truth is the truth.
The public does not trust this government; the public cannot trust its ministers; and the public cannot trust the police. So who can the public trust? With the country’s economy seriously ailing, and a government bleeding out from self-inflicted wounds, the PUP would be wise to capitalize on this shift in momentum as Barrow did all those years ago.
Any real chef will tell you that the most succulent dishes don’t require much effort at all. It’s simply a matter of knowing what ingredients work well together; and of course timing and preparation are key. As it stands, public confidence in the government is waning and outrage is quickly replacing contentment. With a proper serving of relentless public awareness campaigns and a mixture of partnerships with civil society groups and maybe even a dash of Barrow’s favorite recipe: “civil disobedience”, the PUP could be well on its way to serving this UDP government a taste of its own medicine.
It wasn’t too long ago that the PUP, for all its efforts, drew meager crowds and seemed to by dying a slow death. The PUP were the butt of many jokes in certain political circles. But with a strong showing several weeks ago in Belize City, the wheels of the blue machine seemed to have been oiled and are now shaking off the rust and starting to develop some steam.
The UDP has left a bitter taste in the mouth’s of the public and as the clock ticks on this third term that taste will grow to become an unbearable sour flavor that people will have no choice but to spit back. The PUP needs to allow the UDP to simmer in its current heat before cranking the temperature to a blistering boiling point before the next general election. The question remains, however, is Johnny Briceno the right chef to prepare this cuisine?
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