Posted: Monday, December 27, 2021. 3:16 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: One year into office, has the John Briceño administration squandered its goodwill?
The question may be asked as despite a thumping municipal and by-election victory which cemented its current political dominance, there have been several “own goals” that have put it on the back foot.
Some of them were necessary, including a 10 percent pay cut for public officers and teachers as the country struggled to get back on its feet after being laid low in 2020, which prompted a brief strike in April and May.
Others were less so, including unguarded remarks about elements in the Public Service and the near-wholesale replacement of major Boards and councils, as well as multiple retirements.
These included Governor-General Sir Colville Young in April; Auditor General Dorothy Bradley in December, as well as Commandant of the Belize Defence Force (BDF) Brigadier General Steven Ortega and chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission, attorney Estevan Perrera.
But the Opposition was rent apart by its own internal disagreements, sparked by a disturbing video in which Leader of the Opposition Patrick Faber was caught railing at his daughter’s mother at her home. He was removed by majority for Mesopotamia area representative Moses “Shyne” Barrow between May and September, but was ultimately restored after making an unusual alliance with the man he first lost to and then beat for party leadership in 2020, Belmopan’s John Saldivar.
With only village councils scheduled for the next few years before another cycle of political elections begins, the temperature is expected to cool down, although Faber is likely to face a leadership challenge at the next internal party convention due in 2022.
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