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Towards a more just and equitable society – My involvement in politics

Posted: Tuesday, September 5, 2017. 2:11 p.m. CST.
By Glenn Tillett: You may have wondered and you certainly did not ask but I’ll tell you all the same.I decided to join with the PUP in 1998. I was never formally a member, was never sworn in and never had a party card. Never wanted one.

I supported the PUP’s agenda at that time because I thought it was forward looking, promising reform all across the spectrum of our social and political economy. It was, to my mind, revolutionary.

Starting in 1969 I had supported the UBAD movement as a very young man, and to this day still believe in its principles.

In 1978 I had spent time discussing, debating and arguing about Assad Shoman’s address to an SJC graduation, “Towards a more equitable and just society,” which some influential members of our society had branded as “communist” but which we concluded was revolutionary.

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In 1981 I joined with the Belize Action Movement just before Independence in our bid then to fight off the imposition of the Heads of Agreement and re-order our society before the imposition/attainment of Independence and what we feared would be one-party rule.

I was “cheered” when the UDP won the 1993 General Elections in an upset but was dismayed and disillusioned by an administration that practiced a brand of conservatism that smacked of cronyism to me. It was also reactionary.

By the late 90’s the call for the reformation of our political system was fervent. I concluded that I could only help bring about the changes I wanted by joining with one of the partisan movements.

By 2003 I was disillusioned, the revolution had eaten its young. I did not want to give up, there were still persons within the movement who could point to some of the changes that had been done and so held on to the hope that the ship could be righted.

I formally walked away in 2012.

I am paraphrasing from an article I recently read, three major factors have radically altered my perception of the life we live here in Belize – the evaporation of public trust in institutions, the evident and continuing social and partisan political polarization of Belizean society, and growing economic inequality. We’ve become, in my lifetime, a much more crime prone, distrustful and uncaring society.

How did we get this way?

Among my relatives, friends, acquaintances and associates there are many who seem to dislike discussing, examining and analysing our past and who refuse to accept some of the sordid facts of our existence. They make excuses and ignore the past that gave rise to the present. They do not seem to care, for example, that we are still very much, even 36 years after political independence, a post-colonial society and a nation hewed from invasion and conquest, and built on piracy and slavery.

It is clichéd to say that we are always on the cusp of the future but it is true. Change is nearly always incremental rather than radical and I can only truly appreciate its consequentialities over the long arc of time.

20 years ago, a generation ago if you will, I thought we had a chance to re-order our society and leap frog into the future. We have done so in many aspects of our social and political economy but the core problem of inequality and injustice persist in endemic fashion and may even have worsened. Do we collectively, as a people, have the courage and fortitude to continue to fight for the ideals of ours and our childrens’ existence?

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

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