By Wellington C Ramos:
Most Belizeans are not aware of the fact that next month there will be a national election held in Great Britain for the 650 seats in the British House of Commons. The main parties that are competing for these seats are the Liberal Democrats, under their leader Nick Clegg; the Conservative Party, with David Cameron; and the Labour Party, which currently controls the reins of government under the leadership of Britain’s current Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
This election could determine what will be the relationship between Great Britain and Belize for the next five years due to the influence of Michael Ashcroft, who financially supported the People’s United Party in Belize and is doing the same for the Conservative Party in Great Britain. He is angry with this current UDP government for taking over BTL from him and may find a way to influence his party to retaliate against the people and government of Belize.
On March 11, 1981, the Conservative Party was in power under the leadership of their then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, known as the “Iron Lady” due to the British war against Argentina over the Falkland Islands. She forced our country of Belize into independence by sending a representative to our country by the name of Nicholas Ridley with a document titled the “Heads of Agreement.” This document was a proposed agreement to settle the dispute with Great Britain and Guatemala over our country.
When Belizeans saw the document they erupted and was ready to burn down the whole country of Belize. The leader of the People’s United Party George Cadle Price was so much in a rush for independence that he allowed Mr Ridley to riddle his way out of the negotiations and our country ended up with independence on September 21, 1981 without any defence treaty with Great Britain.
Not only did the British not grant our country any defence guarantees but they were thinking about abruptly withdrawing all their forces out of our country after exploiting Belize for a total of three hundred and forty-three years since the arrival of one of their explorers Peter Wallace in 1638.
Luckily for Belize, there was a civil war brewing in El Salvador and the President of the United States at the time, Ronald Reagan, was concerned about the impact it would have on the entire region and persuaded the British to stay. It was even said that the Americans paid for the British to remain in Belize.
The Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher refused to make any commitment to our country and said that the British forces will remain in Belize for an indefinite period of time. The word indefinite will end up being a short period of time.
When the Falklands war started, the British were thinking about doing a major withdrawal of their forces but due to Belize’s strategic location in the region they prepared a phased withdrawal plan. After the war, they ended up withdrawing most of their garrison regiment and left a training center now known as BATSUB.
Belize is now left defenceless and without any defence guarantees from Great Britain or any other major military power in the world. Due to this vulnerable situation that Belize now finds itself in, Guatemala continues to claim Belize and their citizens are crossing our border at will, coming in and out of our country whenever they feel like, as if Belize belongs to them.
Current polls in Britain indicate that the Conservative Party is leading with 39%, the Labour Party at 29% and the Liberal Democrats at 20%. This poll was conducted by the Sunday Times newspaper, which is conservative and is owned by one of their financial supporters Rupert Murdoch. He is another billionaire that finances the Republican Party in the United States and own several newspapers, including the Boston Globe and the New York Post. This poll could be biased but it should not be taken lightly.
Great Britain is going through hard economic times and the British people are angry with the current government over their constant support of the United States in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The Prime Minister Gordon Brown wanted to become prime minister so badly, that he asked his colleagues to replace a very popular and charismatic leader Tony Blair for him. Since he became the prime minister the party has become very unpopular because most British people see him as a bland person, who is unable to rally his people behind him and his party’s agenda.
The way politics is turning in Great Britain, the United States, Belize and other countries in the world, there is an urgent need for stiffer campaign spending laws to restrict the amount of money candidates can spend in an election and the amount big businesses and billionaires can donate to the political parties in order to control them and work in their best interest against the working class and the poor.
Recently New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent millions of dollars to force himself into office against term limits that was approved in a referendum by the citizens of New York City for a third term. Now that he has been re-elected, New York City residents are sorry because of the amount of problems that have been resurrected after the elections were held. This type of politics is resulting in unintelligent rich people running for office, who do not have the substance to be good leaders and intelligent poor people, who possess the substance but are being controlled by the unintelligent person and his money.
There is a true saying in politics: “He who pays the piper calls the tune.” This phrase is true because very few people are going to give you anything in life without expecting something back in return. The recent experience with Michael Ashcroft in Belize getting those tax breaks at the expense of the Belizean people that were given to him by the People’s United Party for their victories over the years, is why we Belizeans should encourage this UDP administration to pass campaign finance spending laws to avoid our government from being bought over and controlled by the rich.
The British elections will be here soon and the best we can hope for is that the Conservative Party and the Labour Party do not gain a majority of seats to form a government. If this happens, then whoever wins will have to form a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats and arrange a power sharing administration.
The conflict between Argentina and Britain over the Falkland Islands is coming back to life, due to oil deposits on the Falkland Islands and Britain is thinking about commencing drilling. There is oil in Belize and Guatemala but most people are afraid to discuss what impact the oil have on the territorial dispute between these two countries when they know that it does have an impact.
April 10, 2010