REPORT #434 October 2001

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

As a rural villager, I surely get annoyed with city people in Belize City. There are roughly 287 villages in Belize. If a government department cannot offer a permit, or license from a Village Council, clerk, secretary, policeman, schoolteacher, or nurse; then that license or permit should not exist.

Government services HAVE to be available at the village level. If you can't do that, then you should not be in the bureaucratic business.

Take the Tourist Board guide licenses. I don't know much about them, cause I don't have one, never had one, and expect I never will. But if you can't get such a license from your Village Council clerk, it should not exist. If a requirement of such a tourist guide license is that you have to take some course first, then that course should be available in the village. If as in Belize, they bring these courses to SOME communities, once a year, then provision has to be made for the issuing of a temporary license, or permit, until the government is going to run a course sometime during the next year. But you do not deny somebody the right to make a living, because the centralized government cannot provide a service.

GOVERNMENT has to go to the people! It is not the other way around! In Belize, those city people think that the villagers and rural people are there to serve their bureaucracy. Not so! They are supposed to be serving those people. You do it the first way, you are constraining and hampering economic growth and penalizing people. Government is supposed to be for the convenience of the citizens.

Some young kid up in the jungle village of Dolores in the Toledo District makes friends with some tourists, who are attracted to the kid's personality, and primitive adventurous nature of the life style; invite that kid to become a guide to take them and in the future, some friends of theirs in later months, or years; down to the mouth of the Sarstoon River, by dugout canoe to go snook fishing. Then that kid should be able to get his license from his Village Council clerk. If there is a regulation invented by some absentee bureaucrat living off the tax dole in a political patronage job up there in Belize City at the Tourist Board, that he first has to take a course of some kind. Then they have to offer that course in his village. If not, that requirement/regulation should not exist! If it is an annual course in his village, then provision has to be made that the Village Council clerk issues a temporary license subject to confirmation the next time, the government comes to the village offering the courses to qualify. This idea covers all manner of different departmental regulations.

Government regulations, requirements and services have to be offered at the village level. All of the villages, all 287 of them. You can't do that, then you don't deserve the job working for government in Belize! Political connections or not.

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