Letters — 27 September 2013 — by Kenny Jacobs

Dear Editor,

We all know that in an ever-changing world, Belize needs to adapt quickly, or the country and its people will lose its grasp. Our Government understands this, for sure. But they need to reinforce dynamics into its young people. The young people today are fast adapting to technology, the internet and cable TV, for instance. However, they need to learn to apply it usefully and properly to accommodate education, entrepreneurship, and community service. These are areas which must be “worked into” the mentality of the young people in Belize to ensure that the future is not only promising, but feasible for growth, and development of the economy.

Let’s take a firm look at education. Without a proper education, you can’t be properly employed. Getting an education that encompasses both academics and technical “hands-on” experience is a necessity. That is solid education. The majority of young Belizeans today are accustomed to going to school because they “have to” – because their parents send them.

That must change. Parents are sending their children to school to learn, and make the best of themselves. They invest considerable time, and money to ensure that their children can get the best of what they can afford, even if it’s just a little. Young Belizeans need to change their “lag and learn” mentality to “learn, improvise, and act”. We must take advantage of all the opportunities that come forth at school. We must learn, learn, and learn some more.

Education can help us, not to move mountains, but to learn to travel the rainforests in Belize, and face any challenge of the wild with vibrancy. Young people need to take full advantage of their educational opportunities because this is your foundation for the future. This is your foundation that could help to build Belize in the years to come. Don’t say you will do it tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow. Get up, stand up, take advantage now.

And some people might say that they are not good in a regular school setting, with academics, and all that. Well, then, you must have a talent. Probably it’s mechanics or construction? You must enroll in a trade institution that would give you more knowledge that’s needed to become an even better person, and have a brighter future. The time is now.

Now, it’s time to move into the big picture of entrepreneurship. I have always believed that our young Belizeans need to be properly nurtured toward entrepreneurship. It is very important that our young minds bring into action their vivid thoughts. I know many young people today graduating from high school who have vibrant, feasible ideas that could generate tens of thousands of dollars of income. But there are many obstacles that are in their way. Some are lack of financial support and business proposal support, lack of support from families/ network, and the list goes on. I have mentioned it before, and all of us know this fact: Belize is rich in natural resources.

However, we are not being properly “nurtured” in how to sustainably use these resources. Our young people have many different business ideas in fields ranging from agriculture, business, marine industry, forestry, furniture, tourism, youth development, etc. However, financial support has been minimal. What is needed here is more investment on the part of the Government, and international funding agencies in these business ideas.

I am positive that from Corozal to Toledo, there are thousands of ideas from young people that can help to build this nation. It is, of course, up to Government to give the nod, and for investors to come in and see what’s special about these ideas, and Belize on a whole. These young people also need technical support in terms of fulfilling their proposal design. They need to be given proposal writing workshops to teach them how to draft their core materials, and build a sound business and marketing plan for their project.

It will take time, yes, but if we start now, then we can bolster our economy. We also need the support from the community. Without community support, our project cannot move forward. It is optimal for our young people to be entrepreneurs. The economy of Belize is stiff. The people are waiting patiently on a change. They are waiting for our young people to be addressed.

Finally, community service is very essential in our country. Giving back to the community has always been a blessing for me, and my family, as I am sure with other young people in Belize. We must learn to give freely of our time to foster community love, and a spirit that is captivating and assists in the cordial development of all things. We must learn to help the elders, help the young people, help environmental causes, educational events, local charities, and the list goes on.

Having a good heart helps you to go a long way. And you never know, by doing community service, you might be “seen for your potential” and good things might come your way: a job, educational opportunities, etc. We learn greatly, from “volunteering”- as it is commonly known. We meet new people. We go to new places. Definitely, community service is a plus for all young people. And I am encouraging more young Belizeans to join hands, and lend support to community causes, as it helps to develop you, and your country. Let’s do our part in redefining Belize.

What matters is that in Belize, everyone should have an equal opportunity to unleash their potential, and become someone. Let’s throw out nepotism, and greed, and selfishness. Let’s fight for sustainable development of our natural resources, and its people.

Respectfully yours,
Kenny Jacobs
Punta Gorda

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