What the Rich Countries teach their citizens about money – That the poor and third world countries do not!

Belize’s neo-political system is shamelessly designed for dependency because it is only where the conditions of dependency are ideal that exploitation and oppression can flourish.

The truth is that this little strip of coveted swamp and reef-curtained seas is in a volatile place. This is a world of multinational sharks who thrive on the realities of third world flaws.

Belize was part of the nation boom which exploded in the second half of the twentieth century. That generation of nations shifted the demographics of international politics and economics away from predetermined colonial restrictions to a truly global market.

The leveling factor is not the paper award of independence but rather the fact that technology has made it possible for nearly every newly minted country to participate in events in every part of the world in real time.

The un-factored weapon of third world countries is the quality of our people and the leaders we must produce. The story of all successful third world countries in the postcolonial era is punctuated by focused, revolutionary leaders. So stands in the ink of history Itamar Franco, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Lee Kuan Yuew.

The critical point is that international geo-political economy is absolutely intolerant of the distracted. The political success of Belize as a nation state is singularly characterized by the unparalleled dedication of the Father of the Nation, Mr. George Price. He remains the immortalized standard for political vision. The PUP’s modern incarnation of his spirit, carries a mature economic vision which must rescue a competent deprived Government and revolutionize our economic appeal on the global stage.

The unforgiving reality is that countries whose political directorate are preoccupied with localized greed and subsistence corruption are sure to fall helplessly into the jaws of profit-obsessed corporations.

This brings us to the inadequacies, deficiencies and disappointments of the Budget for the FY2013/14. A budget is a “putting your money where your vision is” kind of action. The budget should have been a road map to a revolutionary entrance into the global economic market. It should have been honest yet equally poised to be bold. The budget should have outlined the framework to move Belize from third to first world status.

As the Hon. Francis Fonseca constructively pointed out, there is no substance, vision or hope in that budget. Looking at the UDP Budget of FY2013/14 for direction and substance is tantamount to letting our children watch Sponge Bob for intellectual stimulation.

In a heated conversation with a well-respected political scientist from the region, he stingingly declared that the international global reality has made third world governments obsolete. The UDP do not need global reality to relegate them to paltriness and insignificance. In the face of such global reality, their incapacity leaves behind a much grimmer picture for Belize’s hopes to discard its consumerism addiction and enjoy some semblance of an economic boom. The truth is that we can only move from dependency if we were to transform Belize from a consuming nation to a producing nation.

Fast forward to Thursday when during a candidly critical conversation with a contingent of career educators, one of whom boasted a doctorate in curriculum development, the lights were turned on. Unabashedly the fault was shoveled on the continuing failure of the Minister of Education and his unilateral and misinformed policies. At first a radical element in the group lambasted the unsterilized import of “universal primary education”. This he argued was misconceived because in Belize it is executed as “social promotion” or “promotion based on seat time” determined by the age of the student rather than academic competence. Educational psychologists designed it around the belief that the student’s self esteem was of some academic importance. Under the old system of “grade retention”, if you were not ready, you stayed in that standard until you were competent. This freehanded change, he condemned, has made a mockery of the education system where university students sit in class unable to think critically or even spell.

These are the people in the Banks and the hospitals and in the courts he said. But his views were diluted by the input of another educator who fingered the “stupid” policy of paying schools based on the number of substandard students attending the institution. Schools from the rawness of survival then take in any kind of student and launder them through their systems to bloat their subsidy from Government. It all ends in no substance.

They all agreed that in the present track that the current Belizean educational system is in, we will experience full, irreversible collapse in less than 10 years. This is frightening.

Education then is the key to the resurrection, if not inception, of our economic existence. They argued that we must move away from slavery inspired economies. How can we still be dependent on bananas, cane and modern plantations in 2013? Insulting as it may have sounded, they continued to administer heavy doses of hard truths by quickly attacking tourism or oil as any “Saviors”. Both, they argued, were propelled by the infection of prostitution and exploitation, not development.

They pointed instead to technology, math and science. First by saying that it is criminal to allow a student to get any kind of qualification at any level without science. Applied science they argued was the only means of teaching problem solving and comprehension. Currently, there is only one subject which is remotely teaching comprehension skills and it is more an grammar subject than problem solving.

The support for the elevation of science, math and technology was highlighted by a confounding but simple question: who propels an economy: businessmen or scientists? Before a guess could be offered, their rant swung into the fact that our business students are really robotic bookkeepers “farmed” to work at banks. The sciences, which include computer, engineering or other traditional sciences, create industries.

Before any resistance could be had to this proposition, the surprising policy statement of US President Barack Obama in his Inaugural Speech 2013 and his remarks on Comprehensive Immigration Reform on January 29, 2013 at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, were quickly cited.

Obama, they quoted as saying: “No single person can train all the math and science teachers, we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores.”

So important was this technological revolution that he waived off the fact that many immigrant students studying these sciences had broken the immigration law. This it seems he would live with.

The words of his Remarks on Immigration should tell us much was their chorused refrain.

Barack said, almost speaking directly to Belize’s persistent brain drain: “Right now, there are brilliant students from all over the world sitting in classrooms at our top universities. They’re earning degrees in the fields of the future, like engineering and computer science. But once they finish school, once they earn that diploma, there’s a good chance they’ll have to leave our country. Think about that. Intel was started with the help of an immigrant who studied here and then stayed here. Instagram was started with the help of an immigrant who studied here and then stayed here. Right now in one of those classrooms, there’s a student wrestling with how to turn their big idea — their Intel or Instagram — into a big business. We’re giving them all the skills they need to figure that out, but then we’re going to turn around and tell them to start that business and create those jobs in China or India or Mexico or someplace else? That’s not how you grow new industries in America. That’s how you give new industries to our competitors.”

What is Belize doing? How are we moving from third world to first? How much more failure will we tolerate. After being scolded and inspired by the corps of educators, we must realize that to turn things around we have to spend in the right places and on the right policies. The UDP have done neither. So as the teachers meet this week we thank God for their commitment and support their bid for a “raise” 100%. “Teaching after all”, as a Facebook ad reads, “creates all other professions.”

The Belize Times