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Musa, Barrow and Briceno: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow?

Musa, Barrow and Briceno: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow?
February 02
08:15 2019

By Lloyd Jones

That the port of its boundary with French territory not already delimited by international agreement be delimited, upon Libya’s achievement of independence, by negotiation between the Libyan and French Governments, assisted on the request of ether party by a third person to be selected by them or, failing their agreement, to be appointed by the Secretary General.”

     ~UN General Assembly Resolution 392 (V)

Belize has only had four Prime Ministers in its young life but neither the Right Honorables Price nor Esquivel has impacted Belize the way Messrs. Musa and Barrow have. The common thread with these two Prime Minister is that they are both lawyers, unlike Price and Esquivel.

It was under “the leadership” of these lawyers that Belize began to move funny. The debt heaped upon the backs of the Belizean people increased substantially and there was nothing of substance to show for it. Even today Mr. Barrow wants us to look at infrastructure as his seminal achievement; but infrastructure that is not attached to human development is wasted money.

Undoubtedly corruption found fertile ground between 1998 and 2019. Mr. Barrow came to power in 2008 precisely because he was able to convince the Belizean people that Mr. Musa was the worst Prime Minister ever. He was able to convince the people that Mr. Musa and his team were corrupt beyond measure. He convinced the people that he had a machete with which he would cut off the head of corruption as soon as it was reared.

History now records that the machete was stolen and corrupt act after corrupt act has besieged his government. In the end the ordinary Belizeans must bear the costs.

Neither Mr. Musa nor Mr. Barrow has done anything to consolidate Belize’s independence. If one examines where we are in terms of the essential elements of national power, one will realize that we are nowhere near where we need to be. The elements of national power (diplomatic, informational, military, economic, and technological) are critical to a nation’s standing in the global community. Other than natural growth Belize can’t say that she has done anything to build on these elements.

It is precisely because we have failed to build our elements of national power that we find ourselves today preparing to submit our sovereignty to the ICJ. In just 27 short years we had become so scared of Guatemala that we bought the British and American half truths about finding resolution at the ICJ. In 2008 Washington and London prescribed for us a medicine that they themselves would never take. Hypocrisy at its best!

It appears that there was collusion across party lines with respect to the unfounded claim. That is why the 2008 Compromis was so seamless. The fact that Mr. Barrow could instruct his Foreign Minister to sign such a document just eight short months into his first term of office highlights how deep London and Washington have penetrated our political system.

In many respects history might be a little kinder to Mr. Musa as opposed to Mr. Barrow. After all it was Mr. Barrow who approved the Compromis; it was Mr. Barrow who allowed the Guatemalans to go to referendum first and it was Mr. Barrow whose Referendum Commission designed a Yes “education campaign.”

Mr. Musa was yesterday you see but Mr. Barrow is today. And the onus to lead this young nation along the right path rests squarely on Mr. Barrow’s shoulders. It is Mr. Barrow alone who can do right by the Belizean people. Mr. Musa can no longer harm us; well certainly not as much as he could have if he were still PM.

Mr. Barrow’s legal training may have propelled him to say YES to the ICJ, but I am convinced that there has to be more to this “blending” of political colors on the ICJ matter. The last time there was such team work we got the Maritime Areas Act and Mr. Goldson rebelled. To repeat, there is more to this purple movement and it cannot be the narrative being fed to the Belizean people. In 2019, sadly, there is no Philip Goldson to tell us what it is!

The next general elections will be a watershed moment for Belize. Mr. Barrow is today but constitutionally he cannot be tomorrow. The question is – will Mr. Briceño be tomorrow? Both London and Washington have a history of interfering in the domestic affairs of others. They are masters of illusions. Mr. Briceño has to walk a tight rope otherwise tomorrow may never come.

Meanwhile Mr. Barrow has done everything in his power to secure a Yes vote. He started off by “giving” his people a conscience vote but that noble position was soon eroded. He therefore had to turn to partisan politics. The recipient of millions of dollars for an “education campaign” Mr. Barrow has his war chest. Three successive general election victories have Mr Barrow flying high but he would do well to remember 1981!

There are powerful people in the political class who have no problem with losing some territory if it means an end to Guatemala’s unfounded claim. They can never do that outrightly and live so they wish to do so by way of the ICJ.

Any loss of territory at the ICJ would be on the hands of the Belizean people because it is they who must approve taking the unfounded claim there. This is why the “education campaign” is so important. But telling the Belizean people that this is their decision and then creating a pathway that leads only to YES is treachery!

Said Musa was yesterday, Dean Barrow is today and we know where he wants to lead us. But who is tomorrow? If Mr. Briceño wants to be our tomorrow he needs to tell us what happens on April 11th 2019!

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