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Second Chances

Second Chances
October 05
10:20 2019

By: Neri O. Briceño

There is a lot I admire about the Americans and some not so much, but I can definitely think of a whole lot of countries I would prefer not to be living in, if I had the choice. The United States has essentially set up what has become an empire but one without territory. It has been able to do this not through conquest but because of its economic, military, media and democratic might.

Shortly before the end of World War II, when it was apparent that the Axis power would lose, the three main leader of the Allies, which were Great Britain, the USSR and the United States sat to decide how the liberated countries across the World would be rebuilt and organized to once again become functional. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in his shortsightedness and eagerness to push socialism, demanded that since his country had suffered the most causalities they must keep the countries of Europe that they had liberated. Communist USSR would dominate these satellite countries until 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall. They themselves fell with the Soviets and the wall.

British on the other hand naturally wanted to preserve its vast empire as a continued source of raw material to rebuild their island nation, and also for trade and commerce. This arrangement lasted until the late 1980s when the last of the mighty British Empire on which the sun never set was reduced to a little more than an island nation. The United States, however, took a different strategic approach. Rather than take physical territory with the exception of a few key strategic military outposts in the Pacific where their presence was somewhat lacking prior to World War II, they pushed for democracy instead. They did this realizing that with their vast industrial and agricultural might which was proven during the war, democratic countries represented markets.

Markets, on the other hand, represented customers and customers represented capital and currency. For that reason, it was possible to find American goods and access to its services anywhere on the globe. It was raw cash that would, from the 1940s, represents the rapid growth of the United States. They were acutely aware that to build a successful nation it required unity regardless of political affiliation, a strong democracy with free markets and the rule of law. Call the Americans anything you like, but one thing is certain and that is that they will put everything secondary after their national interest, which is just common sense. World War I, II and 9/11 were living testaments to this. While like any other modern democracy they will fight and quarrel internally, externally it remains the United States of America and Americans are Americans wherever they are on the planet.

With general elections next year, Belize finds itself at a crossroads. While the political process pretty much governs the lives of the Belizean people, partisan party politics has ruined it. The pressures of party politics have placed undue strain not only on the people, but also on the nation as a whole and while I believe there should be a complete revamping of the entire political system that is a conversation for another time. What is clear now, however, is that one of the major political parties is likely to form the next government. While I will not make any predictions on the outcome, we must ensure from now that there is enough space for everyone in that new government when it does come around.

Belizeans have to build its patriotic base. and like the Americans build that unity that recognizes us as Belizeans. We must all strive to do what is best for our nation and have its interest foremost in all our national decisions. In other words, we must learn to love our nation and its people. There is not a single successful nation on this Earth where individual gains and interest was placed over national interest and the outcome was good. This nation has talent, knowledge, sound entrepreneurs, educators, writers, engineers, stock-brokers and investment bankers both within and in the diaspora. We have the tools that are necessary to build a strong nation but somehow, we cannot or are not willing to use those tools.

Success is within our grasp if we would only reach for it. This coming general elections should give us new hope – hope of change and a different way of doing things. Thirty-eight years in the wilderness was enough. It’s time we are brought out, or if not, at least start to make our way to the promise land. There are good UDP, PUP, VIP, BBP and every other P and there are not so honest ones too, but the only way we will build this nation is through participation from everyone.

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a Town Hall meeting hosted by the New York City diaspora community for the Mayor of Belize City, his Lordship Bernard Wagner. This is nothing new since politicians from both mass polities frequently meet with the diaspora community throughout the United States. But what was different about this one was the attendance. This one had wide participation from a wide cross section of the diaspora, including the current Foreign Minister Sedi Elrington. The meeting was cordial, united, progressive and had an atmosphere of moving Belize forward, not party. Thank you, Mayor for taking and encouraging this progressive move. As a nation we must now build on it.

It’s all about the people!!!!

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