Author: Mr. Brian Plummer for Amandala
Most, including me, are concerned about the violent crime in Belize. But we are unwilling to tackle corruption, one of the contributors to violent crime. I want to focus mainly on governmental corruption, because government is the number one employer and driver of Belize’s economy. I have been teaching at the high school level for over seventeen years. I have always spent money out of my own pocket on things the high school should provide.
The budget for education is huge, but yet most of our schools are ill-equipped, and therefore, our Belizean youth are not getting the best education possible. Unless our Ministers of Education, both past and present, are morons, there is no reason that should be, unless there is mismanagement or corruption.
I know several Ministers (past and present) of education and they are extremely intelligent. I assure you it is not just the Education Ministry that is plagued with mismanagement. I only use that Ministry because it is the one I am most familiar with.
Corruption is not just “Dehn thief the money.” If there is corruption in health, for instance, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital will be ill-equipped, and instead of saving lives, many people die because the hospital doesn’t have the equipment needed.
If there is corruption in human services, many families won’t get the assistance they need and might be induced into providing for themselves through crime.
Corruption is also spending money on Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV’s) while the basic equipment necessary to optimize education, health, etc., is not in place.
Belize has been independent for more than 29 years yet, we are still acting as a new-born. The level of corruption in both government and non-government personnel appears to be huge. Our corruption perception index rating by Transparency International is low, 109 out of 180 (2008). We are one of the lowest in Central America and the Caribbean, a region known to be extremely corrupt.
Regardless of which political party is in office, very little is done to tackle white collar crime; this is a sure indication of corruption. It is not only poor people who break the law, but only the poor seem to go to jail in Belize.
In all my 38 years in Belize, never once has the rule of law been fully practiced, not even one Minister of government has broken the law. Each government simply points out how corrupt and inept the other government was, but that is only lip service.
The proof of corruption: if any government is serious about tackling corruption, it should end in a conviction, or it is just a political game they are playing.
A law is indeed to be enacted and enforced that every Belizean needs to account for every cent or resource obtained. Remember in the United States, the mafioso Al Capone went to jail for tax evasion, so it seems that something can be done.
I love my country and I will do what I can to let it not come to ruin. This letter is one step in trying to address our willingness to be complacent with corruption. I am paying keen attention to the immigration scandal. No justice, no peace!
Mr. Brian Plummer