Features — 17 August 2016 — by Clinton Uh Luna
19.9 million Americans live in extreme poverty

Arise! Ye children of Belize.

Arise, Belizeans, with our foreheads held high.

Proud of belonging to this blessed soil in which God had permitted us to be born.

Awake, Belizeans, from the lethargic sleep.

And grasp the baton of liberty for the homeland that has sheltered us under the blue sky.

Let’s continue the struggle of our ancestors for freedom against the oppressors, to fight unceasingly for our independence and let’s continue their work until we achieve equality amongst all our people.

Stand FIRM Belizeans, on the line of duty under the banner of democracy, liberty and social justice until victory or death.

Arise! Belizeans!

To the sounds of the beating drum and the blow of the conch shell.

There is an adage that says: “Once a man, twice a child.” In England during the Industrial Revolution the laws were brutal, we can say inhumane. Children from six years old, if not earlier, worked in the factories and mines, the same as women and men from six in the morning until six in the evening. For the employer they represented cheap labour. They were often beaten by overseers to keep them in order, or simply to keep them awake, for a sleepy child, the tip of their nail (s) and finger (s) were in constant danger of being pinched off once in every second, while they had their heads between the whirling wheels a few inches distance from their ear. Starving children were hung for stealing a loaf of bread.

In Belize elderly starving people are thrown in jail for stealing curry chicken and Kool-Aid to calm their hunger. Shame! Where is the love in the name of Jesus Christ? Those were the laws the former colony of Britain, in Central America on the Caribbean coast, has inherited which are implemented in this 21st century. It seems that the Belize/Westminster neoliberal system needs a white man to come and tell them that the epoch of slave trade has ended and a modern slave system has been set up where for the last 300 years we still have a starving people amongst our population.

Seventeen years after Belize’s political independence which was established in 1981, a document containing 19 pages under the title: “PLAN OF ACTION FOR THE ERADICATION OF POVERTY IN BELIZE” was presented by a joint commission including stakeholders which in the first paragraph of its introduction, says that: “The fight against poverty in Belize must have at the center two key intentions: sustained economic growth and an equitable distribution of the benefits of such growth. Sustained economic growth depends crucially on the ability to diversify the economy given the imminent end to preferential agreements. This diversification effort must ensure that measures are introduced to enhance the competitiveness of the existing key sectors. High on the agenda will be the need to improve the physical and technological agricultural infrastructure, create more secure tenure for small farmers and the urgent adoption of sustainable natural resource utilization processes. Additionally, incentives for the growth of emerging sectors such as tourism need to be provided.”

On this 21st of September, 2016, the nation state of Belize will complete its 35th anniversary of Independence from Great Britain with the Queen of England as the constitutional head of state with a Governor General as her representative. Belize comprises 8,867 square miles, with 174 miles of sea front, rivers, lagoons, cayes, islands, in front of the second largest reef in the world and a high wealth of national resources. It is made up of several ethnic groups, with a population of approximately 350,000 inhabitants of which unofficially 50% live under poor and poverty level and there are 20% unemployed.

It is not rationally possible that after 18 years with the poverty eradication project and with the economic cash donations from several countries, Belize has not been able to accomplish the objective of equality and the binding preamble of the constitution to the respect of human rights. But the leaders of the Belizean system need not feel ashamed of themselves for the situation the country is in, since the most powerful military nation of the world, while it prepares itself in its New World Order under the neoliberal capitalist philosophy to stand forever as the great empire, policing all the nations on planet earth and implementing their democratic and liberty system, the situation in there is deplorable when it comes to the following: “Poverty in the United States.”

The official poverty measure is published by the United States Census Bureau and shows that:

•In 2014, there were 46.7 million people in poverty. This is up from 37.3 million in 2007. The number of poor people is near the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty statistics have been published (DeNavas-Walt 2015, p. 12—also see table there).

•The 2014 poverty rate was 14.8 percent, down only slightly from the 2010 poverty rate of 15.1 percent and still up from 12.5 percent in 1997, although the recession has ended officially (DeNavas-Walt 2015, p. 12). (The poverty rate was at 22.4 percent in 1959, the first year for poverty estimates.)

•The 2014 poverty rate for Blacks was 26.2 percent, for Hispanics 23.6 percent, for Asians 12 percent and for non-Hispanic whites 10.1 percent (DeNavas-Walt 2015, p. 12-4).

•The poverty rate for children under 18 was 21.1 percent in 2014 and the number of children in poverty was 15.5 million. Children represented 23.3 percent of the total population and 33.3 percent of people in poverty (DeNavas-Walt 2015, p. 15).

•19.9 million Americans live in extreme poverty. This means their family’s cash income is less than half of the poverty line, or about $10,000 a year for a family of four. They represented 6.6 percent of all people and 44.6 percent of those in poverty. (DeNavas-Walt 2015 p.17.”

KITCHEN AND SHELTER FOR HOMELESS IN NEW YORK.

I’ll end this essay by asking one question: how much money has been donated to Belize for the poverty eradication from since 1981?

[email protected]
July 29, 2019
Finca Solana
Corozal Town

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