Wednesday, March 3, 2010

[ insert name here ]'s Belize

How do you feel about Belize?

Please, tell me. I want to know.

I used to feel that Belize was a land of untapped potential. A viable diamond-in-the-rough, just needing a caring hand to shine it to lustrous brilliance! I felt as though we were just a few baby steps away from success. Sustainable success. We just needed a stringent visionary (mayhaps an economist) to lead us and tap into the deep well of our natural and human resources.

... Now I don't feel the same.

I don't know how; I don't know when, but we took ten steps backward... haven't we? Do you feel the same? Perhaps it's just me... the last bright vestiges of youthful optimism are fading from me. Also, living away has certainly broadened my thinking. I'm just another common jaded ol' cynic.

Yet... if I had my optimism again, I'd say... "To progress, we need a home-grown solution. We need a solution that comes from those aged 20 to 35."

NOTE: *{I can't comment on crime, because that problem is just too overwhelming.}

I would begin with immigration, if I were part of this imaginary committee. No more accepting immigrants who have nothing to contribute to our economy and growth. I feel many immigrants drain Belizean resources without returning not one tangible benefit. At the same time, as new immigration laws were being implemented, I'd set a plan in motion that aims to retain the young educated masses. {Basically, decrease migration} Too many university-educated Belizeans aren't sure if they want to return to Belize after obtaining their degree, because they don't see a place for themselves in Belize. They are so wrong... we need them more than ever!

Then, I'd establish some sort of manufacturing enterprise. We need to offer the globalized market something they can't find anywhere else for cheaper. Some agro-product, I'm sure, holds the key to our future prosperity.

Next, I would implement and enforce very strict environmental laws and policies. Our ecosystems are among one of the most unique features of Belize. And I, for one, am DAMN tired of seeing politicians sign away cayes, swamps, lagoons, and rights without a sweet clue of the ramifications of their actions. No more, sir!

After that, I would focus on converting all our sources of energy into renewable sources. This would be the hardest, and most expensive step. But in the long run, it would be the most beneficial. I'd have us create so much energy, we would have a surplus to sell.

I applaud the 20-year plan that GOB is creating now, headed by Dr. Carla Barnett. But, I ask you, are the right people spearheading this process? Let's be real. In twenty to thirty years, all the present major players in the current political platform will be retired or dead. Sir Barry Bowen's demises shows us how fragile life is -- even a life full of familial and economic success.

The future is in the youth. It's past time for us to man up and take the reigns.

So, I'll leave you as I began. How do you feel about Belize? Tell me; I want to know.


creolegial said...

Hmm...I used to feel much the same - a sense of urgency to focus on ameliorating the damage that has been done. Since I started my postgraduate degree, I think that Belize is the perfect candidate for more and more in depth political science research. I don't feel as much urgency now to make changes. I think we need to understand first of all how we got to where we are now. I feel that in general, most Belizeans (I'm not saying the author of this piece) speak of the country's democratic growth in localized terms and so all the issues seem much more aggravating (not that there is anything wrong with getting annoyed, either). However, when we look at the broader literature, Belize is, I think, at a comfortable spot in its development, compared to other nations. This observation of course, is subjective (define comfortable..etc., etc.)
On the other hand, I do agree that those who have gotten their degrees need to return to Belize and teach what they know. I know that I have to go back and teach political science - it's a necessity. We need to develop an academic culture, one that encourages not just general dining room, bar, living, street corner, shop front, discourse, but also and more importantly, research-focused discourse. Can we assess Belize comparatively and not just in general terms, but with facts as well? Have we had any long-term studies as to the nature of our political culture? What have shaped our long-term cleavages to certain ideas, etc.
I am eager to get back home and conduct and publish my research and train others how to do the same. Hmm...but, of course, when I get home, I may face the same "What in the heck was I thinking to come back here" feelings, but I hope that I can work pass that and start small.
To the author, we have to sit down and talk shop...this is good, this is good :)

The Voice said...

They say that youth is wasted on the young, and I'm starting to see why. Much of our vigour, though earnest and good-intentioned, is misguided and wasted. It is, perhaps, Belize's least tapped resource.

By and large, I agree with you about the stage in our development. We're still less than 30 years old. I strongly believe that our leaders need to make moves now that will be far-reaching into the future, instead of this awful knee-jerk reaction we currently do. You can't progress if the ONLY thing you do it reactive. Development lies at our ability to be proactive.

I hope everyone I graduated from high school with returns someday... my class full of teachers, lawyers, engineers, doctors, and other wonderful professions. It should almost be mandatory that those with a Masters or more be obliged to teach for a few years!