Non-contents

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By Jamil Matar
The only noteworthy topics dominating the headlines these past days are, firstly, the longstanding quarrel between the Belmopan City Council and the PSU, the latter entity which desires a cut-rate parcel of prime property in Belmopan. Who wouldn’t want one?
The second hot button news here in OW is the resurgence of Hon. Gaspar Vega in active politics. I would have thought that by now that Mr. Monchi Cervantes, PUP standard bearer for OW North, would have come out from his bat cave blazing after the recent announcement that Dr. Homero Novelo had abandoned his position as UDP standard bearer for the above constituency to give way to Mr. Vega to re-contest this electoral division. But personally I have not seen or heard from the gentleman.
With those limited topics, therefore, I have had to create some filler discourse for my essay by sharing some interesting titbits of British political history as written by novelist, Jeffery Archer. In his narrative, Archer said that in earlier days, it was implicitly illegal (by penalty of being fined and disqualified) for an aspiring British MP (Member of Parliament) to purchase a pint or a sandwich in any pub for any voter in his/her constituency; be it family or friend. In Belize today, political aspirants are not only required to “pass the treat” at any social event, but they are expected to cover utility bills, school fees, uniforms and medical bills for their constituents. You no give them, you will see! It is rumored that the late George Price, no doubt familiar with the British regulations, would stick a green back in the outdated copies of the Belize Times he used to hand out to supporters in the districts. The “Soakies” knew of this trick and used to follow Mr. Price’s entourage faithfully about town, snatching up discarded “Times” from UDP sympathizers.
Another of Archer’s trivia comments was that in the Upper Chamber of parliament (our Senate), the speaker would refer to the members on his right as “contents” and to the minority members on his left as “non contents”. I had to laugh at that one. Archer would have laughed too, had he seen the proceedings of our last House meeting. When the “non content” Fonseca rose to challenge the proposed amendment to the Contractor- General’s Act, all which viewers will recall from his angry oration and from his flailing left hand is his sparkling new wristwatch, which is probably more expensive than entire properties of many Belizeans like me. Mr. Fonseca is not a “non content”, I can tell you that with confidence. He dresses and looks very much contented in life and in the Honorable House. With that quip, I sign off until next week, God willing. Take care.