REPORT #184 Feb 2000

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

In order to build a nation, within the current port town dominated electoral political party machinery system, it is necessary to educate new generations of would be 'leaders' desiring to run for political office in Belmopan with the needs and problems of the nation of Belize, reflected in all the other districts and communities in rural parts.

The problem is primarily a Belize City politician 'leader' situation. They need to learn how to bring government to the people and not make people travel to come to the government!

In this regard, it is proposed that the first three weeks of July be dedicated by the UDP party for all their Belize City candidates to attend a WORKSHOP under certain conditions, to enlighten and educate them through 'hands on' experience in the needs of the citizens of the country of Belize, other than their own little port town. July is chosen, because is is not the holiday atmosphere of the dry season vacation time.

Here are the conditions for UDP party aspirants from the old colonial capital of Belize City.

1) They will be allowed to carry, one hammock.
2) They can carry three changes of clothes.
3) They can carry toilet articles.
4) They can carry $200 Belize dollars in this order. $50 Bz dollars can be in cash. $150 must be in a Treasury Voucher. This is the allowed limit for them to spend three weeks at the workshop, including travel expenses from Belize City and return.
5) They must leave Belize City using public ground transportation, such as a bus or truck. They cannot use planes, cars, or government vehicles.
6) They are required to live in any one of the these villages for three weeks. Consejo Creek, Toledo. Sunday Wood, San Benito Poite, or Dolores.
7) For accomodation, they can stay at a school building, a community center if there is one, a clinic if there is one, or in some villager's house if invited. There are no hotels, so that is automatically out.
8) They cannot import food with their baggage. They must eat from village resources and shops.
9) During this workshop of 'hands on' experience in the problems of rural villages and the services by the government in infra-structure to these Belize citizens. They are required to catalogue all the amenities and services that they enjoy living in the port of Belize City, that they do not have in the village where they must spend the first three weeks of July, 2000.
10) They then must define in essays, how they are going to supply the same amenities and government services to the citizens of Belize in each village, if they are elected to government.
11) For instance, it would be interesting to see how they run through the first $50 in cash and then try to turn their Treasury Voucher for $150 into cash to purchase food.
12) They may want to make a telephone call.
13) They may want to get a drivers license, a passport, pay a court fine, buy a newspaper, watch some television, go to the bank, pay their income tax, get an income tax refund, send a letter, receive a letter or parcel, pay the property tax, require the services of a nurse, a policeman, transportation, etc.
You get the idea. Some practical 'hands on' widening gut- feeling, real-life experience of the discrepancy between the government services they experience in the port Belize City and that they will experience in a rural Belize village community.

The assignment for the workshop is to figure out how they are going to supply the village they choose to live in for three weeks with the same services they receive in the port Belize City back home. Things they take for granted, but which poor rural people are burdened with lost travel days and huge financial burdens to obtain.

To be a 'leader' first you have to walk in the other persons shoes. The obligation of a democracy is to provide all government services equally to all citizens in the most rural village. The current system makes citizens go to the government. Figure out how you are going to bring government to the people for their convenience, not yours. Barrow is assigned Dolores.

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