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Sep 15, 2011

30 years and 3 Prime Minister take center stage at the Bliss

The Prime Ministers Forum was billed as thirty years of Independence with reflections from all four prime ministers of Belize. It was broadcast to the nation from the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday night.  Former Prime Minister George Price’s views on growing up in the colony and a free Belize were delivered via a recording. So seated in the huge couches were ex-prime ministers Sir Manuel Esquivel, Said Musa and current Prime Minister Dean Barrow. The exclusive PM’s club discussed the issues that have persisted in the colony while the nation began to build. Here are some highlights of the forum that was aired live on Five.

Sir Manuel Esquivel, Former U.D.P. Prime Minister

Manuel Esquivel

“Immediately after the formation of the United Democratic Party, which was not a coalition as some people referred to it—it was a new party composed of three former parties—that being: the national independence party, the people’s development movement and the newly formed liberal party.  Immediately after that formation in 1973, in 1974 for general elections, for the first time, the opposition was able to win six seats in the National Assembly—then composed of eighteen seats. And indeed came within twelve votes of actually winning nine seats which would have created an interesting problem having nine and nine; but nevertheless, many people in the opposition regarded that as a victory not a defeat. And then it marked the beginning of the viability of the new party, U.D.P.”

Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“I was concerned, as Manuel indicated he was, with the fact that ever since self government and even before, one political party had won every election. I thought that if that trend were to continue, it could not be good for our emergent democracy. I then knew that fresh faces, new blood would have to get involved from the so call opposition point of view. My predisposition in terms of temperament in terms of my family’s position, I was always opposition. And so this conference, this combination of factors, my feelings that really their needed to be a change at the level of the political directorate as a sort of country refresher after independence.”

Said Musa, Former P.U.P. Prime Minister

Said Musa

“There is no doubt that Belize is facing persistent and growing poverty in the midst of growing prosperity. This dichotomy is of very serious problem in our country thirty years after independence—you just have to look at the statistics. Causes? Why? I would begin by looking at ourselves as leaders and I believe part of the problem that we have in our country is one of political polarization. There is too much division along political lines here in Belize. So much so that the charge of victimization is one that resonates; that if you are not with the party in government at the time, you stand a very poor chance of getting that scholarship, of getting assistance from your representative, of whatever—whether it be a job in the public service and so on. That is very serious problem.”

Dean Barrow

“It’s wishful thinking to ever imagine that there will come a time when the spoils system in politics will seize to operate. I remember when I was part of the first U.D.P. general election victory. There was that fellow, Tony Best, a journalist from Barbados—well known; he writes across the West Indies—who was here and I confessed my upset over the fact that as a government, we seemed to be determined to reward friends. Perhaps not necessarily punish enemy but certainly reward friends. And he said to me; but get real. How else can you expect to win another election? If the people who vote for you, especially in those historical circumstances where they had been for the opposition parties; this long, prolong, extended drought; how can you expect not to contend with the fact that those that voted for you expect you to—I’ll put it crudely—recognize that it is their turn now.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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3 Responses for “30 years and 3 Prime Minister take center stage at the Bliss”

  1. Rod says:

    This useless impotent corrupt pm guan barrow guan get out you are a total failure at this job.

  2. Jorge David Aguallo says:

    I am proud to be BELIZE… Proud of OUR history… Proud of the Rt. Hon. Said Musa… BELIZE IS A GOOD COUNTRY.

  3. Jorge David Aguallo says:

    I am very PROUD to be BELIZE. Proud of OUR history and proud of the Rt. Hon. Said Musa loyal followers of the Father of the Nation…

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