By Ray Auxillou, ( in Florida ) Trustee of the Belize Development Trust and coordinator and writer of many of the Belize Development Issues Reports.
There was a much better complete article in the Belize newspaper the Reporter on the speech that President George Bush gave in Monterray, Mexico recently on his visit to the Americas. From this I am going to comment on some of the points printed in the Belizean main newspaper "The Reporter". ( a shortened version is found on-line)
Basically, President Bush and his fellow Republicans seem to be breaking with tradition and formulating a much wiser and possibly ultimately, a more effective policy in dealing with the rest of the 34 American countries of this continent.
There is a $5 Billion promise to fight poverty, but tied to specific provisions; which yet have to be worked out. I sure would like to be on that committee that decided those country by country requirements to get some of this AID! You can see our opinions formed over 50 years of experience expressed on our reports of Development Issues; which are meant to be a catalyst and provoke debate for social change by those with the power to make such changes.
At heart, I think the Sept. 11 th tragedy and the subsequent isolation of the USA, by cutting off all air traffic and shipping to the USA served a wakeup call, for any Third World War coming in this century! The American Continent might be the biggest market for USA goods in the world, but it is more than that. Come a Third World War in which biological weapons became distributed, the ability to isolate the whole American Continent would become paramount. The 34 American countries could go it on their own, if they had to, should the rest of the world be destroyed by some sort of plague used as a weapon. In all of this the USA is the American leader of the continent composed of 34 countries. We are mutually inter-dependent for survival.
Bush and his fellow Republicans have in his Monterray rhetoric, stated; that a strong commitment to good governance, the health and education of the people of the Americas and economic policies that foster enterprise and entrepreneurship are going to be necessary to get any piece of this $5 billion promise. Indeed, there is going to be insistance that concrete indicators of the effectiveness of assistance programs will make sure as best as possible that the AID goes to countries and programs that show positive results. Letting loose creativity and enterprise from bureaucratic and centralized party controls in countries will ultimately lead to prosperity in the Americas for most. I agree generally with this evaluation if it is carried out! The biggest stumbling block in the American countries is the lack of dispersal of local political power and funding, as practiced in the 50 state government system in the USA, the Federal role and the local County and municipality role of government. This does not exist in most of the American countries.
You can see our opinions on this in more than 450 reports on the "Belize Development Issues" on line. Most of the development issues are universal throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America.
President Bush called for a new 'COMPACT OF DEVELOPMENT!" To a point I agree with him. What I am afraid of, is that Ph'd bureaucrats will run away with his program and wreck it! Here at the Belize Development Trust, we are front line warriors on the social and political changes necessary to fight poverty and give good governance. We have over 200 volunteer people contributing an assortment of viewpoints from six countries. There are Phd's in our volunteers of assorted disciplines from all countries. But when it comes to social change, development and fighting poverty, the political scientists of the USA whom we read and study, who hold Phd's are basically worthless. They write and regurgitate endlessly tons and reams of paper that are pure obsolescence. They plagiarize like crazy! Very rarely do you find any original work, or capability to dissect what is actually happening in cause and effect out in the real world. We find from here, that the papers and theories they put forth are not practical in the real world. Without a Phd., I like to think we do a much better job of political science than many of those high salaried and highly educated bureaucrats. Maybe it is because they get paid to produce paper as justification?
President Bush seems to be indicating that he is going to use the IDB (Inter Development Bank) as a funnel for the $5 Billion. I surely would like to have some say in how that was done, without a Phd, and being a practical minded person. ( Common sense is not so common and it seems to get educated out of the brains of Phd's. Though they make good support technicians if given assignments.) Let's skip the rhetoric and the feel good stuff of politicians and bureaucrats and roll up the sleeves and lets get to work country by country in the Americas and identify how we can accomplish these goals. Using this $5 billion in AID, in a carrot and stick approach to accomplishing the necessary local political and social change goals.
This time, this USA administration, lets really do something! Let's accomplish something! It is in the interest of the USA to make the standard of education and living rise in the other 34 countries of the Americas. This means more exports for the USA. This also means security against worldwide catastrophe, when our continent if necessary could rely on itself. It is in the self interest of the USA to make the rest of the American Continent democratic and strong. Let's do it and let's do it right this time!