Mother’s Day Cheer draws controversy
Last week the Government of Belize, through the Ministry of Finance, disbursed fifty thousand dollars to each of the seventeen U.D.P. Area Representatives, titled as a mother’s day program. It’s a decision which no doubt pleased the recipients of the fifty and hundred dollar bills handed out. Still, it’s the use of government funds for a partisan political cause, and the blurring of the lines has been the cause of some concern and criticism. Pre-Cabinet Godwin Hulse was very vocal on the use of public monies for political things exactly like this. But Godwin Hulse, the Cabinet member, is a different creature. He says that he is a member of a team, and while he may not agree with certain things, he’s not willing to walk away for little things like this.
Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration
“With respect to the Mother’s Day program, this is a government and a Cabinet decision. There are thousands of mothers who have benefitted…the names are public, the funds are accounted for and it’s a government program. We will take the criticism of course that it’s not given to everybody, but that is the nature of the political beast. I have no absolute problem with respect to the fact that it’s done open and transparent and up front, which has always been my mantra. And as long as I am there, everything is going to be open and transparent, whether it’s critical or not.”
“Are you concerned about the institutionalization of political patronage?”
“I don’t know if you call it political patronage, and I don’t know if it’s institutionalized. But you know there is a thing in Belize, has always been and will continue to be…however you want to do it or say it otherwise, that political parties stay in power by maintaining their majority. Or if not they are not in power and they can’t carry out their policies. It’s something that continues to happen. I personally had always seen it from an equitable position in lots of ways, but I’ve also always seen the Cabinet from things that should and shouldn’t happen. I’m a member of a team. I’m a member of a football team, so to speak, and when I was outside the team I spoke to the team…I’m on the team. There are lots of things in Cabinet that I don’t agree with, but they’re not big enough for me to walk away from, cause there’s a bigger agenda and a bigger program that I want to further. And so I stay there to further that, and the smaller things I dismiss.”