Letters — 27 October 2015
Colonial mentality Part 2

23 October, 2015

Dear Editor,

Election time makes it more and more evident that the country is fragmented, divided by the leadership into separate blocs of thinking, each with its own wish list. This has produced a people with no common vision, more concerned with what will be done for Toledo, Collet, Orange Walk, Caribbean Shores and so on and so on, as if each area is an entity in itself, separate from the country as a whole. Any development or advancement across the country (I invite you, reader, to name and place them) is consequently spotty, with some areas better, or worse, off than others.

The people have been reduced to modeling the attitude of the leadership, acting separately and to their own advantage, disconnected from one another. So much for national unity. We see it among both the employed and the unemployed masses. To the government they ask what can you do for me, for my department, my institution, my village, for my area? Left to their own devices, individuals take as much as they can, not giving value for like kind, getting something for nothing if they can, strangers to personal and business ethics. It’s about how much can I take today, especially from those they perceive to have a connection with the prosperous West.

The people have taken the path of least resistance, serving the decadency of the West (no fault of their own – it’s what has been handed to them) instead of, with the modeling and support of their leadership, beginning at the beginning, not the end. I must give a practical example of the likely outcome of beginning at the end: the cementing of one hundred plus streets in Belize City. During the recent floods Mayor Bradley explained that the streets were in very bad condition, and putting in the required drainage would have been far outside the Council’s budget, even with the 20 million-dollar Municipal Bond. Just as in the colonial mentality I’ve been writing about, the mayor was working a broken system he inherited instead of dismantling it and starting from scratch based on real-time conditions.

Godwin Hulse, Minister of NEMO, was quoted as saying, “I will simply say this that when I was in engineering school one professor said to me ‘floods are the best thing, because it tells you where your drains needs to go.’” Surely his professor did not mean after the completion of construction! The Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister, conceded they started playing catch-up after a while. That is still working a structure already in place. In the end, they will have to start over.

Like the leadership, the people are failing to be creative and inventive in business and entrepreneurship; to be the explorers and discoverers seeking economic opportunity, doing the hard work, taking the risks and suffering the inconveniences. Case in point, the selloff of land.

Many ordinary Belizeans should have been well off today as co-owners of tourist resorts. They owned the land. With the proper guidance they would have partnered with those who had the capital. We have become a population that mimics the West in whatever areas it can, from fast money to the names of businesses and streets and buildings (Pier 1, Western Ave., Marina Towers), to supporting broadcasts of foreign sporting events rather than the building up of national sports; duplicating Western ideas in a variety of thought and behaviors. So much for national consciousness.

Nationalization and nationhood in underdeveloped Belize demand by necessity the neocolonial capitalist leadership to abandon dreams of opulence and decadence like that of the bourgeoisie of the West, to step down from its elite colonial status and serve the revolutionary capital, the people who are the conduit of change, while learning from and passing on intellectual capital to the people. The crucial moment in the struggle for independence is not the attainment of that independence: it is what happens after independence. Independence is not an end in itself: it is a means to an end and that end is building a new nation, from the ground up, for the people. The crucial moment is now. To continue under a colonial mentality is against everything the people of the revolution initially stood for. It is counterproductive, even a setback. It flies in the face of nationhood. It is anti-Belize.

Sincerely,

Beryl Young

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