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With landslide victories all governments need closer scrutiny and monitoring

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Posted: Friday, March 12, 2021. 4:56 pm CST.

By Carlos Perdomo: Belizeans by majority vote have overwhelmingly chosen the Peoples United Party in the November 2020 general elections and the March 2021 municipal elections. This is obviously great news for the ruling party…and Congrats are deserving. They promised and repeatedly committed to implementing impressive wide-ranging promises over the next five years for Belizeans. The electorate’s expectations with be extremely high… starting now!

For the United Democratic Party…its RECONSTRUCTION time! Although they lost in a valiant campaign after three terms, it will be a blessing to have the golden opportunity to rethink, and retool its mission, philosophy. membership and policies. All this, while at the same time continuing to be a clear, engaged voice that must, by their constitutional job description, monitor and offer alternative solutions to those in the majority.

But truth be discussed openly, Governments all over the globe that win by big landslides, and that consequentially control a huge (26-5) majority in a House of Representatives are historically no easy play to monitor and scrutinize. It is going to be a tough job for the opposition in the House, and equally so for the Senate, which has representation of the business, trade onion, church and NGOs sectors!

Experience Belizeans know that when a party wins with sizable majorities nationwide, the ruling Area Reps develop a belief that with a large majority in the House and with the powerful Mandate from the people, they can pass any legislation easily…or even change the Constitution easily… for anything they deem proper. This Belizean experience is strengthened by scholarly writings in political science literature that teaches that when governments win with such strong mandates from the electorate, as the PUP did… there is opportunity for all “oversight” by both House and Senate to lose their influence and effectiveness!

The present Government is already super powerful at the Executive Branch (Cabinet) and is now extra formidable at the Legislative Branch (National Assembly). Lob-sided representation in the House of Representative makes the parliamentary legal opposition a little too frail when the “YEA” and “NAY” votes are counted in the National Assembly. So now, more than ever, the monitoring skills and scrutinizing abilities of the Senate…where the voting count by Senators will always be closer…will be more crucial and critical than ever before.

The UDP Opposition and The Senators will not be enough to rein in a strong government that has the potential now, to becoming head strong. The country needs the trade unions, the business communities, the third parties, civil society organization (NGOs), the network of media in Belize, Students, interest groups, advocacy groups, sporting associations, and the ordinary Jane and Joe on the social media…to step up and step out much more than before. It is called PUBLIC OVERSIGHT BY CITIZENS. Not everyone represented in the House and Senate! WE need to become the Nation’s monitors and scrutinizers for government’s transparency and good governance. We need to assist the Opposition and the Senate in their work by being brave with our voices, our writings, our comments, our constructive criticisms. FOOD FOR THOUGHT!

 

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