Letters — 29 July 2014

Dear Editor,

My beloved sister who resides in Belize sent me a link to a letter to the editor in which Major Lloyd Jones demands to know, “Diaspora, What have you done for me lately?” I will share with you what I shared with her.

Feel free to publish if you see fit. It seems to me that the Major is poorly informed and in order to sow the seeds of division among Belizean brothers and sisters, he was all too willing to misuse the quote of a famous historical figure who was rallying his people to stand their ground in unity, even in the face of great adversity.

The Major appears to be ignorant of certain facts regarding Winston Churchill – who at one time proposed a common citizenship between America and Great Britain and upon whom was bestowed American citizenship.

The Major apparently didn’t know that Winston Churchill’s mother was American-born. My sister was almost convinced by this silver-tongued military officer that I somehow do not love Belize as much as she does and would not want what’s best for Belize simply because I live abroad.

What utter nonsense and narrow-mindedness! It is more likely that a charlatan BDF officer will rise to power and do great harm to Belize than it is likely for a Belizean living abroad to return home (leaving his supposed life of comfort abroad) to wreak havoc upon Belize.

The Major puts forward a paper-thin argument as to why Belizeans with dual citizenship should not be allowed to hold political office. To him it seems self-defeating because he claims that the dual citizen Belizeans would not “have to remain in Belize to live with the consequences of their political decisions.”

What is self-defeating is the Major’s expectation that politicians only make decisions that have dire consequences for the nation, and therefore, he only wants politicians who are trapped to live with their ill-conceived decisions. But he ignores history. How many corrupt politicians and despotic military dictators haven’t wreaked havoc on their homelands and then fled to find refuge abroad – even without dual citizenship. Indeed, someone who has returned home to be of service to their country (which really is what he should be expecting from our politicians) has demonstrated a strong love and commitment by returning to her roots.

But, the Major doesn’t see this. He thinks they are returning home to rape the country because that is what he has become accustomed to expecting from politicians. Sad!
The Major slips a little in his reasoning. Although he acknowledges the important contribution of those in the Diaspora through remittances, he dismisses this because he observes, “this is a personal undertaking.”

Well, I can’t think of a better reason for anyone to become involved in political life and service to one’s country of birth. It should be a personal undertaking. Because I love my sisters, brothers, mother, aunt, uncles, nieces, nephews, etc., I care deeply about the future of Belize. If my life abroad has broadened my knowledge and given me useful experience that I can take back and contribute to the betterment of Belize, then why not?

The Major suggests that there are other ways to do so, and he cites a few examples. So, it’s not that the Major is really opposed to Belizeans in the Diaspora returning and contributing to the national development of Belize – he welcomes them to do so in some ways, but the role of politician is somehow special.

You see, the Major has the mindset that Belizeans in the Diaspora should come with handouts, not take from the country. He doesn’t see the politician as a potential servant: he sees the politician as a corrupt taker and potential abuser – a role he reserves for people like himself who do not have dual citizenship.

It is intriguing to me that the Major believes that the Diaspora has been silent in the face of the many challenges that confront the nation. Perhaps he is not listening, and has closed his ears off, or is oblivious to social media.

The battle against partisan politics in Belize is led by and strongly influenced by Belizeans in the Diaspora. The Major only sees the negative influences of American lifestyle and blames it all on Belizeans abroad, as if they are somehow forcing negative American values on Belizeans back home – he conveniently forgets about TV and the freedom of choice that Belizeans, fortunately, still enjoy.

The Major, despite his lament about the negative influence of American culture, steals a line from Janet Jackson, an icon of American pop culture and demands, “Diaspora, what have you done for me lately?”

What have you done for Belize, lately, Major? Quit looking for handouts and sowing the seeds of division. Let’s all work together for the betterment of Belize.

Respectfully,

Mario Lara, a Belizean living abroad who loves his friends and family back home and only wants what’s best for Belize. And, no, I have no interest in politics, just have a strong dislike for ignorance and people who preach division and disunity.

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