Killing Progress


    Let’s get the niceties out of the way. I would like to ensure everyone that I most certainly agree that my problem is not a new one, and that I acknowledge that this problem happens everywhere in the world.

    Did we get that out of the way now? Great.

                      Somehow though, it’s especially unfair here at the moment. Seeing others enjoy what true independence is about, albeit after years of working for that independence, it is still rough to realize that when it comes to getting ahead, and succeeding in that dream, there is always someone standing in your way.

    Life is not about handouts; it is not about asking and receiving exactly what one wants. That is a given - one could even say, a cliché.

    Call me jealous. Call me bitter. Call me realistic.

    Sometimes, I am all of those things.

Mary Gonzalez's Facebook profile

    My main source of griping stems from a particularly difficult situation on the island. As most of my peers can attest to, my quest for a home of my own has become almost an obsession. It is an obsession that has been hampered by finances, sudden emergencies, in general, the usual things that often keeps someone from getting ahead in their twenties. That’s all fine and dandy, but having observed, sometimes not so silently, the way things work around here, it seems as though getting ahead is impossible.

    One thing for sure is that the timing is never right. The financial aspects are ridiculous. Not having something to start with generally grinds all thought of progress to a standstill. My personal process began nearly a decade ago, when work had just began, and when the thought of owning a home sometime in the near future was a dream blurred at the edges, but there nonetheless. Each round to the bank made the dream fade just a little bit more. For a few years, I actually stopped even trying. Why bother when one can never have enough to start with.

    For starters, one had to already own a piece of land, in order to secure some sort of a mortgage. The point was that I had no such thing and wanted to start small, at ground level (pardon the pun). So, ultimately, that dream was put on hold. Everyone else around it seemed, had someone to help – be they family members or family friends. Not having anyone like that pretty much stopped progress in its tracks. The plan became “earn and save enough to put a down payment in a few years”. Then the medical emergencies came along. And they haven’t left. Add in the dizzying heights that home prices soared to, and we have an even bigger dilemma.

    So I guess my point is that it is now down to scrabbling for government land, or whatever subdivision is available. Unfortunately, anyone keeping tabs on the news knows that most subdivisions in the plans are being considered unsafe for the environment, and unsafe for the inhabitants.

    Let’s see who is trying to stop that progress:

    When it comes to sustainable development, along with everyone else who believes in preserving the earth, I am all for ensuring sustainability, and responsible development. I believe that officials need to have an airtight solution to all possible problems, and provide the residents with a safe and well planned community settlement. If there are real problems, those need to be fixed before we have another San Mateo or San Pedrito on Ambergris Caye. Whoever is creating the subdivision, need to answer to all questions brought forth, and find solutions to problems that pop up. (Big, fat, duh)

    Again, as anyone in the loop with the news will know, the protests are real, and the organizations trying to stop the developments are numerous.

    Who are these people? I say that these naysayers are quite so vocal themselves because they no longer have to worry about owning a piece of land. They go home to their beautiful homes, paid for by their thriving businesses sitting on their private land, and only have to worry about whether to take the boat out to go to their weekend spot up north on the island or somewhere on the mainland – on land they already own. In other words, they are the ones who have the least to lose.

    Protesting against ANY development does not mean that they won’t ever have a home. They don’t think that as the island’s population expands, so does the need for land. Not everyone on a Belizean salary can afford the ridiculously priced homes, always listed for US Dollars (do we even earn in USD? I think not). The needs of the common man are not being met.

    When the bank (owned by a foreigner) demands a 16% interest rate from an already ridiculous Belizean salary, it would be nice to know that the money spent to keep the roof over one’s head is not that much. It would be nice to know that despite a mortgage, one can also afford to eat and send their child to school. The naysayers would do good to know that while they have benefited from inheriting property, or from having been around at the right political time to receive acres of land that they will pass down from generation to generation, the children of those less fortunate will have to fight tooth and nail with their own blood, sweat and tears in the near future, just to get ahead on their own.

    While they climb on their self righteous podiums, trying to stop development from happening, they need to think about their actions and the impact that they have. While they believe they are teaching the value of preservation to their children, they need to keep in mind the very children whose futures are in jeopardy. They also need to keep in mind that while they stop bad developments in their tracks, they are also stopping progress, preventing the poor from getting ahead, and allowing the rich landlords to keep on getting richer.

    Now, where is the fairness in all that? Who is protesting that mentality?           

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