Former Belize City Mayor, Darrell Bradley was a guest on The Morning Show yesterday. Bradley who stepped away from the forefront of politics after serving for two consecutive terms as Mayor, spoke on several issues including governance, politics and campaign legislation.
Darrell Bradley, Senate President: “It’s a good time for us to realize the challenge which faces our country and exactly what needs to be done. So I think one of the things that I would readily accept is this issue of immediate campaign finance reform and there are certain things that has to be elements of any kind of legislative framework. For example the registration of political parties, there’s really currently no law that governs political parties and these are very powerful organizations. One of the courses I teach is the law of association and we teach about groups and different organizations in Belize and the importance of registration and oversight and regulation but a very powerful organization in our country, a political party, is not governed by any specific piece of legislation. So that you need legislation to regulate that to require them to register and to put in place an oversight mechanism for that. You also need to ensure that all campaign finance, because that’s a necessary evil, you need funding for elections but that must be transparent and accountable so that every money you collect you actually have to report that, in other countries they do that. One of the countries I admire a lot is the United States.
Tanya Hulse, Host, The Morning Show: “And they have a lot of limits.
Darrell Bradley, Senate President: “Specific limits and every money that are collected has to be reported. I looked at a few reports and I was surprised how much money campaigns spend on pizza and I asked about it and they said but when you have a lot of gatherings and you have people walking and so forth you buy food and one the things that you buy a lot of is the cheapest food which is pizza but every person even right now when you’re watching the US debates a big thing is Michael Bloomberg and the amount of money he’s pumping into ads but that’s a transparent system so voters can look at that and a voter can say you know what I don’t really agree with that because I think that you are buying an election or you are injecting too much capital, you’re making it too much about money.’ we do not have that opportunity here. So that the legislation actually provides or has to provide specifically that people know who’s giving you money, they know who all is supporting you and what that will do is that the people who genuinely support you will for a legitimate reason you know what I support Ernesto I want to see him rise in politics I will give him and I will put my name on a register that is publicly disclosed that says you know what I believe in him so I’m going to give him money. The problem is we would have a system that people are giving politicians money and we don’t know who they are and we don’t know what they’re giving for. If you have a system which is open, accountable, and transparent- that most modern democracies have- then we can encourage politics to be less about money. It’s gonna be far cleaner.”
Bradley went on to speak of the misconception by many that the ministers and elected officials are the ones with power. He also spoke of broken systems in Belize that need fixing.
Darrell Bradley, Senate President: “The Integrity Commission again you’re putting power in the hands of the ruling party, those systems are broken because they can never change if you’re having the fox guard the chicken. It won’t change and so I’m saying that what needs to occur at this moment in time is that whatever protest is occurring has to be very practical in terms of the specific pieces of legislation that need to be passed and there were about five or six of them.
Ernesto Vasquez, Host, The Morning Show: So you agree that before elections we should do this.”
Darrell Bradley, Senate President: “I think that you can do it. I think that we should have done it twenty years ago but we should do it now, we should not miss the moment in relation to what’s going on and I think there’s a momentum and I think that Belize right now, we’ve been here before, but right now it’s at a crossroads we can have a country that moves in a forward direction or we can have a country that moves in a backward direction and if we don’t get these choices correct in the next few weeks or the next few months we can have a system which is fundamentally unchangeable; we’re going to have problems that we cannot meet. There’s a lot of things facing our country that we do not really realize, the average person doesn’t realize, financial issues, banking issues, regulatory problems, our trade imbalance, levels of productivity, government services, poverty reduction we need to deal with these. The issue in terms of labeling our country, drug planes landing, crime, these are problems that we are not talking about focused as a country because we’re not getting the leadership issue correct in the country.
Ernesto Vasquez, Host, The Morning Show: Those details we want to depend on our leaders to do that.
Darrell Bradley, Senate President: “But you need good leaders.”
Ernesto Vasquez, Host, The Morning Show: So are we in agreement here in then that what the unions are demanding right now we all agree .
Darrell Bradley, Senate President: “I would say 90% most reasonable.
Ernesto Vasquez, Host, The Morning Show: And do it as soon as possible but that decision has to be made by those in power at this moment.
Darrell Bradley, Senate President: “No but this is what I’m saying, this is our problem as a society, why do you keep saying “Those in power.” ? The union has power, we have union senators, the momentum has to continue. The churches have power, the churches have a senator they actually are at the table when you are discussing legislation. Our business community have power they are at the political table so what needs to happen is there needs to be sustained change.”
Bradley served in Belize City as a two-time Mayor and is currently practicing law full time.