In molding democratic citizens most people argue that a good education system is needed. I would like to add another component to a successful democracy besides good education and people participation – courage.
Due to victimization and our colonial history most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have citizenries that are afraid of their government. This is a sad state of affairs because the people should give direction to their government. This is the only way history has shown you will have a prosperous and happy country that’s democratic.
We need only look at the Scandinavian countries of Europe. Many times it is not that the citizenry don’t know their rights and responsibilities: it is that they are afraid that if they exercise their rights they will be victimized by their government. Your newspaper has experienced such occurrences already.
It took courage to end slavery and indentureship, to decolonize, to gain civil rights, and it will take courage and sacrifice to build a just and democratic society. The question is, how do we build the necessary courage in Belize’s society? People who have power and wealth will want to maintain the status quo. People who are dispossessed don’t have economic capital, but they have the most important capital – human capital.
How do we motivate the citizenry to risk sometimes their life for a better society?
Brian. E. Plummer