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February 11, 2019

Why Policy matters

Posted: Monday, February 11, 2019. 3:09 pm CST.

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

By Charles Leslie Jr.: Everyone listens to pop music these days, it’s at the top of mainstream music.

I bet most people in Belize think pop music is an American phenomenon.

If you thought that, you would be wrong.

Let’s put it this way: Sweden would be its Silicon Valley if pop music were a global technology.

You might be thinking, “what does this have to do with Public Policy?”

Bear with me.

The world’s inexhaustible source of catchy melodies is Sweden and Swedish expatriates.

Remember that Sweden is a small Scandinavian country.

However, led by legendary superproducer Max Martin, has pumped out megahits with megastars.

I am certain everyone reading knows of the Backstreet Boys, Katy Perry, and Taylor Swift.

This tiny country, with a population that can comfortably fit in New York City, has been exporting contagious music to the world since ABBA’s debut in the 1970s.

Do you want to know why? Policy

keep reading…

    1. The Swedish government actively promotes public music education, and they do this at a time when many countries focus little or have no such policy.
    2. In a 2001 interview Max Martin thanked his government for allowing him the opportunity to have had public music education.
    1. They have a music culture that promotes major-chord melodies over lyrics, they do this because it breaks the language barrier, anyone can listen to a catchy, fun beat, no matter what language you speak. (this, in my opinion, is a contributing factor as to why Andy Palacio got so popular, instruments for Garifuna music penetrates the soul – anyone can move to it).
    1. This might seem like a no-brainer, but Sweden built a national industry dedicated to writing, producing, and selling pop music, and the “Invisible Hand” that Adam Smith described in his book “The Wealth Of Nations” did its thing and attracted some of the best pop talent in the world. So pop talents and pop hits agglomerate in Sweden and go Supernova and spread all over the planet (and the universe, if you think about it).

You probably thought this article was about Belize’s music industry, didn’t you?

Well it’s not…and it is…I consider myself a structuralist, I believe all public policies are connected and should be studied carefully and see how their economic externalities affect each other…with emphasis on having them positively affecting each other, of course.

I initially drafted this article in my head because of the article published in the Amandala on 06 February 2019— by Albert J. Ciego titled “STUPIDLY-DESIGNED HIGHWAY KILLS YOUNG TEACHER”

The above-fold sentence started with “Marlena Mortis, mother of 2, dead at 23; her death was caused by “experts” in the Ministry of Works who approved the controversial highway.”

This is why Public Policy is very important: in many large cities in the US and all over the world, many municipal governments are designing policies – especially those that affect infrastructure – around their people – human beings.

One of the reasons I have always loved New York City is because, relatively speaking, it is very easy (and affordable) to move around on public transportation and via foot (great cardio).

Sidewalks are very wide, and traffic lights easily control the flow of traffic above ground and the subway system gets people around quickly and affordably.

The Commissioners’ Plan of 1811 was genius.

Back to Belize.

The new road infrastructure upgrade on the Northern Highway was necessary, and I applaud everyone involved in making it happen.

However, I take this opportunity to make a few recommendations (considerations, if you may) to whoever is in a position of influence and policy change:

  • Since Belize City is not well zoned, there are a lot of businesses as well as residential zones intermingled in that area. There will only be a continued increase in auto and pedestrian traffic.
  • Consider removing the barrier and creating a divider that is beautified with the many fabulous plants and flowers that call Belize home…I can visualize how a drive into Belize City would look with a line of Summer of Gold trees in full blossom – it would be magnificent.
  • Installing crosswalks in key areas with traffic lights, would easily control the flow of auto and pedestrian traffic.
  • Install overpass(es) in key areas to compensate for the fact that auto and pedestrian traffic will continue to increase.

Dr. Assad Shoman pointed out something interesting in his book “A History Of Belize In 13 Chapters (2nd Edition)” – I paraphrase: one of the cultural inhibitions of Belize is that leaders in Belize have grown to resist recommendations, considering it a challenge to their authority, their power.

I ask all Belizean leaders, all fellow Belizeans, let us not allow the very unfortunate death of Ms. Marlena Mortis to be in vain.

It is more important now than ever before that policymakers make decisions with the human factor in mind, how it will positively affect all Belizeans…

…and it is the responsibility of the people to put such people in positions to design those types of policies….if not…unfortunately, the results are blatantly, painfully and unbearably obvious.

“…its all connected and all intertwined!” Audrey B. Matura says.

She is right.

Thank you for reading and thank you for your time.


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