The importance of the Senate in Belize

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Posted: Wednesday, April 5, 2017. 8:44 a.m. CST.

By Charles Leslie Jr.: RESULTS ARE THE ONLY TRUE MEASURING STICK

 

“Doing any job or function should be judged purely on measured results. If successful: continue and keep improving. If failing: Change your system of approach and the entire system if necessary.” – Charles Leslie Jr.

 

Ask yourself: is the current reality of Belize indicative of successful results?

 

THE SENATE’S FUNCTIONS

 

“The Senate, besides discussing and debating Bills coming from the House of Representatives, has specific functions. These functions include approving any Bill to alter any provision of Part II of the Belize Constitution, in accordance with subsection (5A) of  section 69 of the Constitution; authorizing the ratification (including adhesion or accession) of any treaty by the Government of Belize, including any treaty for the settlement of the territorial dispute between Belize and the Republic of Guatemala; approving the establishment in Belize of any military base of operations for any foreign military forces; approving the appointment of the Contractor General, the Ombudsman, a member of the Elections and Boundaries Commission, and a member of the Integrity Commission; instituting and conducting enquiries and investigations on any matter of the public interest or importance, including inquiries into mismanagement or corruption by persons in the central government or public statutory bodies; receiving, reviewing and reporting on annual reports and other reports of the Auditor General, the Contractor General and the Ombudsman and instituting and conducting inquiries, investigations and hearings in relation thereto; requiring the attendance before it of the Auditor General, the Contractor General or the Ombudsman generally, in relation to the discharge of their duties and the execution of their functions; requiring the attendance before it of any Chief Executive Officer in a Government Ministry in respect of any matter of which he has knowledge by virtue of his office, or in respect of anything related to his office and the due execution of his duties; and requiring the attendance before any Committee of the Senate, of any Minister of Government.”

 

OUR UNDERSTANDING OF OUR FINANCIAL SYSTEM

 

Most Belizeans simply do not understand our system of governance, especially our financial system.

 

Look at our education system for the past 35 years post-independence to-date, and this fact will become apparent:

 

our education system simply did not prepare us to intimately and intricately understand how we are governed…

 

…and it does not focus on teaching our children about the most important part of our government system: our financial system, and specifically our tax system.

 

A NATION OF CONSUMERS NOT PRODUCERS

 

The current consumer-tax system utilized in Belize – which I have dubbed “coerced collective effort” is a system that allows the government to become lackadaisical.

 

Why lackadaisical?

 

Our current General Sales Tax (GST) system creates an environment where the State does not have to put much energy into generating taxes by squeezing taxes from its people, since, whatever tax increases are implemented the consumer has pay.

 

This has created a mentality among our leaders where they are not motivated to invest the time, energy and vision into creating a robust value-added economy (manufacturing and industry), since they do not need to.

 

Coercion becomes an important instrument of the State when it comes time to collecting the taxes paid in by the consumers to the agents.

 

WHAT ABOUT THE SENATE?

 

If you notice I did not spend much time talking about the powers of the Senate, the Prime Minister, political parties nor interpreting any part thereof…that has been done a thousand times over by people a lot smarter than me.

 

I have chosen to do so because…

 

…ONLY FOCUSING ON POLICY, THEIR RESULTS – SUCCESSFUL OR NOT – IS WHAT WILL CHANGE BELIZE – FOR THE BETTER OR WORSE.

 

The results are crystal clear: the current economic policies are not working.

 

  • We are a State of consumers and not producers.
  • We are a State trying to become prosperous by become more and more debt-burden.
  • We are a State where the working-class is dwindling – more and more slipping into the poverty bracket – and at the same time being coerced to back more and more of the financial burden of the State.

 

Once we start to focus our collective energies, such as BNTU did, on demanding equitable, economically viable, effective policy changes, that will not burden the poor and working class, the political parties and politicians who have the best interest of the people at heart, will rise.

 

You may ask: “but, you did not offer any specific solutions.”

 

If you have been paying attention, many intelligent Belizeans have been putting forth solutions to just about every issue affecting Belize…for the past 35 years.

 

However, those evidence-based solutions will never be applied if we do not demand a system that will apply them.

The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.

The article was written by Charles Leslie Jr., former independent Chairman of Placencia Village (2010 – 2013). He holds an Associates degree in business, accounting and economics and has over 20 years business experience.

© 2017, BreakingBelizeNews.com. This article is the copyrighted property of Breaking Belize News. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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