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Belize, on the brink of moral bankruptcy

Posted: Wednesday, January 24, 2018. 10:40 am CST.

Richard Harrison: In a democracy the people get the government they deserve….and the government is a reflection of the people.

Elections will be held in the 9 principal municipalities on March 7, 2018…..these elections are held every three years. Currently, the ruling UDP party controls 8 of the 9 municipalities.

42 days away from these important elections…..and there is no discussion nor debate on issues….so far, it is all about rolling out the colors….with paid “campaigners” walking around the municipalities strutting their colors and asking people for their vote. Ruling party and Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition working the same strategy….ready to serve the same status quo masters.

Belize now ranks among the world’s most murderous countries….with an average of around 40 per 100,000 population in 2017. Belizeans and visitors to Belize are at relatively high risk of being victims of violent crimes….and this should be one of the principal concern of voters.

How does Belize rein itself in from this rapidly deteriorating condition? It appears that even the police is implicated in the execution of a growing amount of crimes and abuse….the very ones who are supposed to uphold and enforce the laws are willfully breaking the laws, and with growing impunity.

If Belize is like the USA, testosterone levels in males are falling by around 1% per year over the past 20 years….while women are drinking, smoking weed, partying like rock stars and being as or more promiscuous than the men….taking much more higher risks than the women of the past generations….resulting in around 65% of mothers under 35 being single mothers…many with kids for two or several men….some don’t even know who the rightful fathers of their children are. The economic and social status of men has declined steadily….with heads of households increasingly unable to make ends meet.

Belize’s formal economy has been experiencing meager growth relative of the rest of the Americas….with minimal inward foreign direct investments, mostly for purchase Belize’s prime properties and businesses that are in distress due to the faltering economy….accompanied by massive outflows from investors taking their wealth out of Belize….the productive sector is being squeezed to death in a country ranked very low in the index of “ease of doing business” and high in “cost of doing business”…..resulting in minimal creation of new industries and jobs, especially stable jobs that pay decent wages and benefits. Cost of living grows every day…..but the legal minimum wage has remained at US$1.65 per hour since the last increase during the election period of 2003. The so-called “infrastructure revolution” championed by the ruling government is being financed by large public debt, and not by national production….national debt is now over 100% of GDP and rising rapidly.

Belize is now standing tall among the most corrupt countries of the world….the illegal buying and selling of votes is now done openly….so is bribery of officers at all levels of the public service….the politicos and the senior security officers themselves socialize openly with known contraband, drug trafficking, money laundering, human trafficking and other criminals….political hacks of the ruling party who commit crimes openly are rapidly set free, by all levels of the justice system, including the courts. The government agreed to implement the United National Convention against Corruption to end the teachers strike in 2015, but two years have gone by without any results on the ground. The most of the Government of Belize, and its many “statutory bodies” remain unaudited…and the few that have been audited show massive ongoing corruption, graft and bloat.

Belize has lost the Sarstoon island to Guatemala, and they have increased their aggressive stance at the western and southern borders…..even as Belize has nationalized over 55,000 Guatemalans illegally and against the National Constitution of Belize…and those over 18 can vote in Belize. Yet Belize’s foreign minister and his accomplice, the Prime Minister, keep bending over in the face of Guatemala’s open and increasingly aggressive posture towards Belize. Even within Belize, some boisterous Guatemalans feel emboldened to take positions against Belize and in favor of Guatemala….in general, Guatemalan immigrants in Belize remain loyal first to their homeland, and not to Belize where they have found better living conditions than where they come from.

Many ask: how did Belize sink to these levels so rapidly after only 36 years of Independence? What can the people of Belize do to reverse these worrying trends?

The answer can be found in the way of life of the people themselves…..because they are the ones that elect the governments….and the governments only reflect the people who elect them.

At this time….the most popular songs among the young people are “Scooby Doo Pa Pa” and “Me gusta los Mayores”. Decent music and dance is “boring” to Belizean people….they love their ragga and vulgar lyrics and dance expressions…and that tells a whole lot about where the minds of the people are.

When people, especially the women, can stoop to such low levels….of their own voluntary free will….it shows the base of their character….their value system. The people are motivated primarily by personal material and perceptive social ranking….driven by the here and now….living only for the moment….mindless about the future and consequences. The personal and social choices that people are making daily is showing that Belize is on the brink of moral bankruptcy….and this is the principal challenge for Belize….but no one wants to bell this cat….discussion rapidly deteriorate into religious and party political quarreling.

No socio-political economy can be fixed without the majority participation of the people in wanting better…and demanding better plans….policies….and actions…from government, institutions, families and individuals. As long as the politicos and their financiers can do as they please, they certainly will not want any change….and a people without decent morals and values…living their wayward lives….they are the “alkawetes” of this politico-economic status quo….they feel so important when they are in the company of the corrupt….as long as a little crumbs fall on their plate, they will kill to defend the corrupt….the ruling party doles out a lot of gift and favors from the public purse to maintain and enhance this….from food hampers, housing loans forgiveness, student loans forgiveness, scholarships, cash transfers, payment to gangs, free land fill material, free construction supplies, even appliances and furniture…among many others.

Belize must start to retreat from the brink of moral bankruptcy before any of the ills mentioned above can start to be reversed….if Belizeans choose to continue in their wayward, irresponsible daily choices….they should only expect for all these parameters of nationhood to continue to deteriorate further.

Throwing up prayers is certainly a good thing…..but making daily improvements in individual, family and social choices is what can make a positive difference.

You Sir….Madam….can start with you!!

The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.

This article was written by Richard Harrison, Belizean investor in production and services businesses in Belize. He holds a Master’s in Business Administration degree from Lancaster University.


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