REPORT #238 April 2000

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

Deacon Cal Cathers in the Reporter of April 23rd., 2000 does an impressive article full of statistics on a proposal by townie "rulers/leaders" in Belmopan to build a whole bunch of primary schools throughout the nation of Belize.

The idea of a massive regeneration and building program of schools and classrooms and such over a ten year period is about the only good common sense thing that the townie ruler/leaders put forward though. From there on, it is all down hill. The implementation of such a worthy lofty goal is so shot full of holes and nonsensical planning, as to wonder if they would know enough to come in out of the rain.

The basic idea is to borrow from the World Bank ( the third world nation rip-off bank), you know the one? To borrow $80 million dollars over a ten year period to fulfill this lofty goal and dreams. This works out to about $8 million a year. Belize dollars too.

Now you think about that for a minute. With a $333 million annual government cash flow annually, you have to sell your soul to the devil to put aside $8 million a year to build primary schools around the nation? Somethings smells right fishy here. Dead fishy too!

Get this too, the World Bank has a bunch of restrictions and controls on any such piddling little loan. They literally want a freeze on educational expenses for a ten year period. No new teachers, no raising of the amount of money the government spends on education, nada more for education for ten years if they lend the Belmopan townies the money. Shouldn't that raise the hair on the back of your neck? Ten year freeze! How stupid can you get? BTL monopoly was really bad for the economy of Belize, but a similar thing under a different name for education in a ten year period. Give me a break! Any leader/ruler in Belmopan goes for that, this time around after the BTL fiasco, should be hanged from the nearest tree until DEAD, DEAD, DEAD! Metaphorically speaking of course. Metaphorically, what a nice sounding word. Wonder what it means? This fisherman has read it often enough, I'm sure I'm using it in the right context, but then I'm only a fisherman from the barrier islands of Belize. What do I know, no dictionaries out here on this sailboat.

Deacon Cal goes on to point out that this policy would increase student to teacher classroom ratios almost double over a long ten year period. Teacher - student ratios are already too high in most schools for much effectiveness. You could only really do this sort of thing for a two year period. Anything after two years is just too unpredictable in Belize. What with hurricanes, revolutions, civil wars, world markets and economies collapsing and stuff. So many things out of the control of the government of Belize. But all effecting Belize in one way or another. Take the recent USA Army helping out the Guatemala Army again; when the dead bodies start piling up again and refugees coming over the border again, what happens to their children who must go to school?

Deacon Cal is to be congratulated on sounding a warning on this grandoise plan. For more accurate mathematical details read the article in the Reporter newspaper.

And like townies who are ripping off the nation of Belize as always, they want to build a LARGER department of Education, centralization and all that. Wow! What cajones those townies have! The last thing Belize needs is a larger national government department of any kind. What education needs is local town school boards, a district government by volunteers if necessary and a voter elected District School Board to make local policy decisions and the money sent to them via grants from the national government in Belmopan to accomplish building, repairing and expanding schools and more teachers. The very last thing we need is a World Bank loan funneled through a centralized government in Belmopan run by townies. They get their sticky little fingers on that money, less than 20% of it would reach the villages. The cost of a government staffed and owned by townies is way to expensive for a small agricultural country like Belize to carry.

Haven't they got it through their heads yet in Belmopan, the World Bank is not a friendly bank? It is not even a helpful bank. Barclays, Nova Scotia, etc., they make relatively small loans locally for business and such, but the World Bank is different in that it makes huge multi-million dollar loans, but the goals are the same, which is profit. You telling me this educational loan would be a third world helping soft loan at 2%? If not, tell them to take their money and skeedaddle. You ever seen these New York World Bank types arrive to talk loan business, in private LEAR jets? They don't go budget economy on commercial airlines my boy. They got their own expensive jets, the best most expensive planes you can think of. One of those planes would build all the primary schools you need in Belize. One trip from New York to Belize by such a small business jet, costs enough money to build you a whole school. Who do you think is paying for this stuff? It ain't the Fairy Godmother, it is Belizean taxpayers when townie pseudo intellectuals in Belmopan borrow under such stringet terms. Go back to the drawing board townies!

Your goal is impressive, but figure out how we can pay for it ourselves. With $333 million annual government revenue, if you can't find $8 million a year to do this, you are not worth the title and salary you are holding. Keep your goal, just lets do it ourselves hey? Time to grow up boys from Belize City.

Maybe you could not buy new cars for Ministers one year and put the money to schools?

Reference: Education article, THE REPORTER, April 23rd, 2000, page A.

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