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October 16
21:37 2018

On Sunday October 7th, 2018 somebody sent Bill to do a hatchet job on Mayor Bernard Wagner. Bill did not speak from the heart on Sunday, he spoke from a prepared script causing Ya Ya to ask him “who wrote that Bill?” On Sunday Bill accused Mayor Wagner of working for the big people and not the small people; the PUP after all, he said, has made a conscious decision to go back to its social justice roots.

Bill’s delivery was uncharacteristically shaky, disjointed and nervous, but the message was sent! He was signaling to Mayor Wagner that the real Barbarians are at the gate! Bill’s declaration on Sunday was insightful and it signals deep discontent with Mayor Wagner in some quarters. We must therefore find out from whence Bill came.

When Mayor Wagner said to the Belizean people on April 6th, 2018, that the Barbarians are at the gate, many took that to mean that he was speaking ONLY of the ordinary man, but this is not so. He was speaking especially of those who you will never see standing in line at City Hall. In fact, those are the real Barbarians. Bill’s declaration on Sunday was disconcerting for a number of reasons but particularly because Mayor Wagner is just seven months into his first term at City Hall; the finances of the Council were wrecked by Mayor Bradley; and Wagner’s Council is one that is in opposition.

Mayor Wagner is the son-in-law of Evan X Hyde on whose media platform Bill was. Mayor Wagner is also the brother-in-law of the PUP’s national deputy leader Cordel Hyde. It was Cordel who brought Bernard into politics; so from a political perspective, in theory at least, Mayor Wagner should be standing on firm political ground. If this is so then we have to ask the question – who exactly sent Bill on Sunday? Why would Bill be so bold as to attack Mayor Wagner on his in-laws’ media platform?

Mayor Wagner, by my assessment, is a moderate PUP.  By this I mean that he is not hawkish about politics.

He does not wish to see every single person who might be a UDP, and happens to work at the Council, fired. He understands that you should not play politics with people’s livelihood. As reasoned, balanced and fair-minded as Mayor Wagner might be, it is not how this game of spoils works. The Real Barbarians want anybody who is even slightly suspected of being Red gone. Let them starve, they say; it’s our turn to eat. There is no appetite for reason and fair-mindedness; none! Bill reminded us of this much on Sunday.

Recently the Barrow administration declared a state of emergency in parts of southside Belize City because our young black youths have been murdering each other mercilessly. The need for revenge has fueled a war that appears to have no end in sight. Gallons of blood have been flooding the streets of Belize City for about three decades now and the Belizean people are so tired of it that they were completely unbothered by the declared state of emergency. Many people have condemned the unforgiving nature of the street war because it seems to them that all that is needed is one act of forgiveness and the thirst for revenge would stop. But the reality is that the ongoing war has left deep and painful scars which, without meaningful intervention, won’t heal. Without healing there can be no end to the war.

It is meaningful political intervention that Mayor Wagner is attempting. He has deliberately tried to stave off the lust for political revenge by his Party supporters. If after every election we purge those Belizeans who we feel are not supporters of our Party then we are no better than the very ghetto youths we condemn for their murderous spree. In many respects the political war that has intensified in Belize is even worse than the ongoing street war. On the streets the targets are predominantly opposing members of the street gangs but in the waging political war the targets are not just supporters of the other party; increasingly the family members of political opponents are becoming political targets as well.

If you take willful action to deprive a man or woman from earning a living for their families are you not bestowing upon them a slow death? What does a 5 year old child have to do with politics? How could you feel so comfortable to sentence such a child to years of hunger and depravation? And you do all this in the name of the Party that you say you love? What about Belize? Do you love Belize, Barbarian? Do you?

With every election comes an outpouring of love for the “small man” from the politicians. Everybody loves the “small man” but yet the small man remains small. Thirty-seven years of love for the “small man” has led to 42% of us living below the poverty line. Surely this can’t be love. The recycling of minimum wage jobs is not an expression of love for you, beloved, it is a system designed to pit you against your own brothers and sisters whilst the real Barbarians feast at the trough.
Some of the real Barbarians want to feed at City Hall and Mayor Wagner is in their way. Mayor Wagner may be a political novice but he is no intellectual lightweight. In him I see some similarities with Mayor Bradley: he is a man that can think for himself. He is a man of stout intellect, of compassion and of courage. He can’t be pushed around, which is what is annoying those who feel that Mayor Wagner’s victory was not his. The victory, they say, was a PUP victory and therefore he should be kept on a rein as though he is a damned horse.

On Sunday Bill tried to appeal to the “small man” and he went to great pains to say that they were being neglected to the benefit of the “big man”. In Belizean politics, in order to win, politicians often promise that which they can never deliver. One such promise is always about job creation. There are hundreds of PUP supporters who would welcome a job at City Hall but the fact of the matter is that Mayor Wagner’s Council can never hire every PUP supporter just as Mayor Bradley’s Council could not hire every UDP supporter.

It is this reality that Bill tried to exploit on Sunday; he wants the PUP supporters who have not gotten a job to believe that it is all Mayor Wagner’s fault. If the base becomes agitated and upset with Mayor Wagner and that anger persists it can affect Mayor Wagner’s chances of re-election. Bill is playing a dangerous game because 2020 cometh before 2021, the anger he wishes to incite might have political consequences sooner than he anticipates.

In parting let me ask you this Bill, are you a Barbarian? If not then tell us which Barbarian sent you on Sunday!

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