By Jamil Matar
I recently noted a couple of missed calls from a steadfast friend, Mr. Jaime Alonzo, from here in OWT. Jaime is a longtime colleague and he usually relays events and opinions for me to include in my essays. He generally has the latest political scoops in town, so I truly appreciate his input since I can no longer hit the streets, or the watering holes, anymore. Unfortunately, last week I was under the weather in the first instance from a toothache and then from having the molar removed. I missed our little chats and his input, so now I have to improvise with opinion rather than allegory.
It is now apparent that the scuffle between the political parties for political dominance leading up to the November 2020 elections has morphed from the neighborhood public meetings to the digital arena afforded us by the social media platforms. All the politicking these days appear under the caption “what’s on your mind”. It is common knowledge that both the UDP and the PUP candidates have full-time surrogates using several pseudonyms for posting opinions favorable to their employer.
Although this methodology does not reach the majority of voters, I think it is still effective in diffusing bogus assertions and lofty pledges. From my fingers to your lips, they say. Fake news, Trump calls it. In any instance, it has kept the 2020 campaign low key, even a bit boring. We miss the political sparring between opposing candidates in the evening news. Now we get press conferences and glorified, recycled rubbish live on FB. Look, no one believes those condescending comforts anymore about “draining the swamp” and converting our economy into a seventh heaven for all Belizeans. Repeatedly, we have lived to see politicians, after getting their “five”, turn their collective backs on the poor and direct their focus on amassing a fortune and thousands of acres of crown land for themselves and their political donors. The mood out here is screw them. That is another reason voter enthusiasm is so low this year. People are more cynical these days, especially with the collapsed global economy and the resultant loss of thousands of jobs in every country. They know that there is no quick fix to their plight, by either Party.
Before I sign off, the news of the retirement of Rt Hon. Musa combined with the departure of R. H. Barrow later this year is the end of an era of two giants in our political landscape. I may not have always agreed with Hon. Musa’s style of governance, but the man is an articulate and skilled orator. I wish him a speedy recovery and long life. I extend the same courtesy to Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow. Those are two solidly accomplished, intelligent, fellow Belizeans. God bless them. To the other Belizeans I say, Happy Independence Day!
By Jamil Matar