By Jamil Matar
Sometimes I find that there is a scarcity of political topics to develop, which leaves me trolling the net in all the news outlets, actual and virtual, on the website titled Belizenews.com. Nothing interesting for a month now, except for the one-sided quarrel between the PUP Party Leader and one of his female standard bearers.
I, thereafter, tried to follow up with Petillo’s progress on his land grab enterprise, but I lost interest when the true owners of the property surfaced. After that issue lost public attention, I noted that Toledo’s real-estate tycoon and media hound, Maheia, had to gloomily track back to P.G. in search of a new crusade, which he found in the form of a proposed gas station. I tell you, this is pure, unadulterated, PUP silliness! Attempting to put the brake on a job-creating investment in one of the districts that needs it most! They even managed to get a church involved in condemning the gas station, of all things. You should be focused in condemning sin, sir, rather than giving quarter to clowns.
What is noteworthy to the marginalized like myself is that none of these power-craving pretenders who continuously decry our utility companies and our Government for Covid-19 relief for the poor have never offered a free month of cable or internet to consumers. Never! These ultra- rich companies must enjoy playing the spinning top game called “pirinola” and the words “toma todo” always comes up for them.
Speaking of demagogues, it still has me dazzled how the Queen of this category of personalities could have swung an interview on LPG prices around to school fees on Tuesday night. Look, these LPG goons were mercilessly shorting consumers for decades. I, for one, was glad to see the last of them. Now, to the main topic of my discourse, which involves a little civics lesson.
As it relates to a fixed date for Belize’s impending General Elections, let us reference our Constitution.
Section 84.-(1) states that the Governor-General may at any time prorogue or dissolve the National Assembly: (2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (3) of this section, the National Assembly, unless sooner dissolved, shall continue for five years from the date of the first sitting of the House of Representatives after any dissolution and shall then stand dissolved. Bear with me, readers, please. It took me a while too. Let us dissect that section together.
The last General Elections in Belize took place on November 4, 2015, and the first sitting of the new Parliament happened on November 13, 2015. Another section in the Constitution allows a latitude of three months from the latter date, which can take us up to February 13, 2021 for the next General Elections.
Now, municipal elections should be held on the first Wednesday in March every third year. The next municipal is scheduled for March 3, 2021, just about three weeks after the General Election is past due.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the present Prime Minister could not hand over the reins of Government as planned in April of this year, since, in the first instance, the U.D.P. did not have a new Party Leader-elect. In the second instance, the UDP still does not have a Part Leader-elect. In the third instance, we do not know how this Corona issue will play out.
In my deferential opinion, since the two elections are so close together, the option of a joint election should be deliberated. I think the government can legally join these together with an Act of Parliament. This will reduce costs to all participating political parties and to the people and Government of Belize. We need to clinch all the savings we can realize for at least two years, to help whichever Party forms the new Parliament.
By Jamil Matar