Posted: Saturday, December 31, 2016. 9:57 p.m. CST.
By Dr. Marcelino Avila: My wife Mili and I are very happy to be home after a successful four-year assignment in Africa. After a year of first-hand observation and living after our return, we can conclude 2016 was quite an eventful year for Belize, apparently exciting for some but disastrous for many! We are impressed with progress, particularly in the areas of young people trained, physical infrastructure, quantity and quality of cars, communication technology and social media, widespread access to basic utilities, just to mention a few.
We also noted the various problems with quality of life and progress within our communities, such as destitute families and persons, violent murders/gangs and violence, traffic accidents, health problems and diseases, government corruption, struggling productive sectors/ antagonistic stakeholders, hurricane damage, financially strapped organizations, and so on. And the dialogue on the ever-increasing complexity of these problems, their causes and effects, and limited impact of current effort, often renders that feeling of powerlessness in ever resolving them once and for all. Well, complexity is reality but guess what, there is a lot we can do to improve this situation, and it is not so difficult or costly. What we need is discipline and a work ethic on the part of all, and if we truly love our country, we must do it now and start today.
One of the great lessons I have learnt from the schools of thinking and the practice of development is that culture is a fundamental pillar, meaning that culture determines why some societies or countries develop and thrive while others do not. Culture is powerful because it defines the web of basic beliefs, values, attitudes and standards, which permeates all institutions of Belize and characterize us to the bone as Belizeans. If we want to do better and raise our development and quality of life to its maximum potential, we must focus on culture. With this in mind, I wish to propose a few brief suggestions for 2017.
For all Belizeans, it should all start with self and at home:
For public and private sector leaders:
Let 2017 be a year of putting our personal plans into action. Let it be a year of creating more opportunities, more savings for investment and then income for you, family and country. Let it be a year of building more understanding and solidarity, whether in family, districts, productive sectors, and for the nation, and let it be a year of working as an action- and results-driven team with our leaders to address our challenges and taking advantage of opportunities to develop our nation effectively, effectively and sustainably.
If we can do the above and we all undertake our tasks with more knowledge, passion, discipline and responsibility, I can assure you our dreams will become reality and Belize will surely be a great place for all. A very Happy New Year, best wishes for 2017 and God bless us all.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.
This article was written by Dr. Marcelino Avila. Dr. Avila holds a PhD in Agriculture Economics from the University of Missouri and is a former CEO in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in Belize. He is a research and development expert in agriculture and natural resource management and has worked as a scientist, researcher and professor at various institutions in Central America, Mexico, Europe and Africa.
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