Caribbean News Now!

About Us Contact Us


Jump to your country or territory of interest

Advertise with us

Reach our daily visitors from around the Caribbean and throughout the world. Click here for rates and placements.


Submit news and opinion for publication


Click here to receive our daily regional news headlines by email.


Click here to browse our extensive archives going back to 2004

Also, for the convenience of our readers and the online community generally, we have reproduced the complete Caribbean Net News archives from 2004 to 2010 here.

Climate Change Watch

The Caribbean is especially vulnerable to rising sea levels brought about by global warming. Read the latest news and information here...

Follow Caribbean News Now on Twitter
Connect with Caribbean News Now on Linkedin

News from the Caribbean:

Back To Today's News

Commentary: Central government vs municipal governments in Belize: An ongoing drama
Published on December 14, 2013 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Wellington C. Ramos

In most of the former British colonies that Great Britain ruled during the colonial era, including my country Belize, they all have a central government system in place. Political parties in these countries select their party leaders and if they win the majority of seats in the House of Representatives, they become the prime minister of the country for five years. Once they assume office, their political party controls everything in the country and the opposition parties and members are at their mercy.

Born in Dangriga Town, the cultural capital of Belize, Wellington Ramos has BAs in Political Science and History from Hunter College, NY, and an MA in Urban Studies from Long Island University. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science and History
In my country, the People’s United Party (PUP) has governed more times than the leading opposition party, namely, the United Democratic Party (UDP), which is currently in power. Last year, the country of Belize had elections and the United Democratic Party won consecutively another five year term. This was the first time it happened in their party’s political history. In the Belize government’s cabinet there is a minister of local government who is responsible for all the villages, towns and cities in the country. Any of these municipalities that need money must go through this minister. If the minister decides not to give them any money, then nothing will happen in their municipalities.

The preference is always given to a village, town or city mayor and council from their own political party. For years now this has been the way money is distributed to the municipalities by both the PUP and the UDP. Recently, I read a news report in which the chairman of an opposition party, namely, Vision Inspired by the People (VIP) Hubert Enriquez, was complaining about corruption in the political system. The PUP mayor of Dangriga, Gilbert Swaso, along with other PUP mayors from Orange Walk and Punta Gorda towns, were also complaining about the unequal and unfair distribution of government’s funds with him. Well, the UDP will reply by saying to them: When you all were in control of the central government, you all did the same thing to us.

This will never change in Belize unless the House of Representatives passes local government reform legislation granting them more autonomy. The growth of the cities, towns and villages is currently stifled due to this dilemma.

The VIP chairman was talking about corruption in Belize and stated that the government of Belize should sign on to the United Nations Anti-Corruption Convention. The government of Belize will not listen to Mr Hubert Enriquez or take his advice. What Mr Enriquez will be better off doing is to use this issue to try and garner grassroots support so that his political party can gain support from Belizeans throughout the country of Belize for the next general election in 2017. His political party is getting older and has not come close in winning a seat in the Belize House of Representatives. It is now time for them to examine their role in Belize’s political future. Belizeans have never elected an independent candidate or a person from a third party to the Belize House of Representatives. Why? Because they think that such a vote will be a complete waste of their time due to the winner take all political system we have in our country.

This type of political system fosters favoritism, corruption and vindictiveness and should be changed. Many Belizeans that currently live in the United States were victims of this type of politics. Some of them have indicated to me that they will never go back to Belize and live. Others have given it a try and went back home but only to experience the same thing happening when they returned home. I believe that if we were to change this system in our country, we would experience more growth throughout our villages, towns and cities. Also, many more Belizeans who live in the United States that were victimized in the past, who have a lot to contribute, would return home.

Belize has a small population and many people are related to each other. The time is now right for us to table local government reform legislation in the national assembly so that our country can develop faster and our people can benefit from our resources equitably nationwide.
Reads: 3504

Click here to receive daily news headlines from Caribbean News Now!



No comments on this topic yet. Be the first one to submit a comment.


Send us your comments!  

Send us your comments on this article. All fields are required.

For your contribution to reach us, you must (a) provide a valid e-mail address and (b) click on the validation link that will be sent to the e-mail address you provide.  If the address is not valid or you don't click on the validation link, we will never see it!

Your Name:

Your Email:

(Validation required)

Enter Code

User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment author and are not representative of Caribbean News Now or its staff. Caribbean News Now accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Caribbean News Now reserves the right to remove, edit or censor any comments. Any content that is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will not be approved.
Before posting, please refer to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

2014 Mind Your Eye

Other Headlines:

Regional Sports: