REPORT #326 June 2000

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

The Belize Enterprise for Sustainable Technology (BEST) has done it again. This is one of the better NGO's in Belize. Along with CREI, the Citrus and Education Institute they have facilitated a training course lasting two days, for rural farmers in the Orange Walk District. Farmers are coming from five of the six districts for the workshop in the "Safe Effective Use and Handling of Pesticides" Certificates will be issued and eventually, anyone using pesticides are going to eventually end up having to be certified and licensed. This particular course is dealing with pesticides used in the pepper industry. The Meditteranean Fruit Fly is a factor.

The PUP political party gang from the port Creole town of Belize City, who dominate the nationwide membership of rural PUP members and control the process, are clearly evolving a situation of status quo, in regards to Political Reform. Over the last eight months, it is becoming more and more clear by the actions of the Cabinet made up of these fellows from the port town, that they have no intention of losing the gravy that comes with controlling a political party in just one town of the nation and the opportunities for graft, jobs and perks that come with it. While seemingly adopting many of the suggestions from the Belize Development Issues Reports about good governance, the way they are organizing things, is to do so, in rural districts; but maintaining an iron fist on the web of policy making, political control and centralized dictatorship in their own sticky fingers.

De-centralization without rural district national policy making ability equal voting rights, local financial controls and such are worthless in the long run. Just band aids on the fundamental problems with the political structure and the need for Constitutional Reform to give more geographic district national equality. Good Development requires shared governance on equal basis by each district.

Recent complaints on Development Issues Reports about how the port town population are hogging all the revenues of the country, and one example would be the $100 million or so spent on WASA for the port town, with a need by equal fund sharing of about $12 million for water purification in the Toledo Hills Communities of Mayan subsistance farmers and tourist operators were met by an announcement of the formation of District Water Boards; as an attempt to decentralize but keep political control in the hands of a small gang of men from the port town of Belize City.

There are other examples, if you care to go through the Development Issues Reports, but the latest move in this sneaky, insidious political charade of decentralization reform comes with the announcement of the Ministry of Economic Development announcing a Southern Development Summit ( Ha! Ha!). The gobblygook doubtletalk propoganda says this is a stakeholders consultation process for Southern Belize. The word "consultation" says it all! The final decisions will always be dictated from a handful of men running the political party in the port Creole town of Belize City. Consultation means no policy making power sharing, no financial independence, no open debate and no consensus by parliamentry procedure. It simply means colonial sefdom status for the Toledo District to the PUP port town gang.

It says, the Summit is designed to offer local stakeholders an opportunity to continue their active involvement in shaping Government's development priorities for southern Belize. This long mouthful of blarney, is vintage Said Musa. It says nothing, means nothing, other than continued servitude of the Toledo District to a port townie gang of party dictators.

What really is needed, is a national government made up of legislators and senators from each district, all elected in equal amounts for each district. Then you would see fair debate, proper distribution of funds, better fiscal management and better national development consensus. The Southern Development Summit is pure hogwash! A pacification campaign, to quell rising complaints of lack of civil voting participation in government, to stop cries for more control over local affairs, both political and financial and an equal voice in the national government with the other districts. It is meant to cover up, the lack of participation and the SERF status of rural districts and peoples who vote, to a small handful of opportunists in the port town of Belize City, who by nature of an outmoded colonial constitution get to rule the whole country as a private plantation.

Primary school training reform, may be taking a turn for the better over the next six months. The results of the PSE tests hopefully giving sufficient statistical data, to segregate various sub-populations, individual primary schools in trouble, and those individual specialized teachers who are failing and accelerate rural teaching workshops in each district. The problems of the primary schools in the nation of Belize in all six districts are formidable. In many schools, the teachers have no training at all. Recess play is used frequently and over long periods to take up the school day as a baby sitting function. Materials are in short supply and nobody seems to care in the centralized government.

A Teachers Training College alleviated some problems of twenty years ago, but nowadays there is obviously a serious lack of ability by those in Education in the government to organize mobile workshops for those rural primary schools in desperate need. The PSE tests are going to pinpoint the worst cases and hopefully limited resources will start with the worst cases and work there way up the trouble spot list.

How you are going to get higher education officials to travel to the boonies of the nation and do on the spot concentrated training seminars, check on the distribution of school materials and supplies by absentee church school managers and then follow up on a regular monthly basis is unknown? The centralized education department have never been able to do it yet and I don't expect they will be able to do it now under the current system. What they need are elected paid Town School Boards, District School Boards and funnel materials, finances and grants for training and school repair and building through the School Boards. This is another problem with the Creole port townie domination of the political power Constitutional structure by the population representation system. There is no workable solution going to come from these PSE statistics and studies under the current organization. Belize is a scarce populated jungle clad land, it is not the United Kingdom. Sooner or later those townies, if they travel at all within Belize, are going to realize mimicing the U.K., is out of place in our pioneer frontier land. Different problems require different solutions.

Belize is not yet in trouble with chicken diseases, but we are in danger! Quarantine measures are in place in most of Central American borders for chickens and their products. Avian influenza or Newcastle disease, if it spread to Mexico from Guatemala would mean a loss of 15 million chickens in Mexico by euthanization. In Honduras, they had to euthanize more than half a million birds. The loss was $2 million. Currently there have been no new cases in Honduras over the last 45 days.

An Investigative Report by the Economic Correspondent of the REPORTER newspaper of June 18, 2000, in the port town of Belize City into the Social Security operations and TRUST Fund shows serious irregularities. The conclusion one gets after a few months of reading all the actions of the Social Security Board members, and Head of the Social Security Board in the local media, is that they must be incompetent retarded nincompoops, or are arch criminals. Take your choice! The Social Security Funds should register about $500 million. The Reporter article says there is only about $16 million in the fund. What happened to the other $484 million is anybody's guess? Speculation seems to say, that the political party in power, the PUP have been draining the fund for pork barrel projects. There is at least one action of alleged embezzlment by a past political appointed Head in the amount of $3.34 million.

The worst thing is, there are no accounts. Nor reporting at all for several years, the Investigative Reporter says. Not only are the Social Security Trustees apparently covering up alleged stolen millions from media reports, but are doing so in violation of LAW. They are not even keeping books according to the ACT, says the article in the Reporter. In this day of computerization and software accounting programs. Fifteen minutes a day on a keyboard should be able to give you a daily printout of all funds in the Social Security TRUST and balances and status. It is so simple as to be ludicrous as to believe they have no accounts. They could use QUICKEN, or PEACHTREE or one of a hundred standard accounting softwares. Daily printouts of the status should be simple with the computer on instant demand.

The Social Security funds seem to have been a piggy bank for political party hacks! The money is gone, no one knows how much, or where, or when? About an estimated $484 million seem to be missing. A more accurate figure will be made, if and it is a big if, there is ever an independent audit outside of the political dictatorship system we use. Not likely to happen though! Do you think there will be criminal charges and Board Members end up in Hattieville Prison for 25 years. Not likely! They should, but this is Belize mon! We got a one party elected dictatorship, under a crooked colonial constitution. Good management is not part of the lexicon.

Guess who is the Minister of Finance? You would be right! Ralph Fonseca, the spider in the center of the financial web of government mismanagement. Con man, rap artist extraordinaire, with a vocabulary of financial jargon, to bamboozle any ordinary citizen and a lot of his fellow politicians. Belize is in a financial mess, I wonder why?

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