December 11, 2012
It would appear as if the justice system in Belize is failing the Belizean people. It is not clear if the justice meted out is really fair or not. Case in point: A man steals 3 packs of cheese and is sentenced to 3 years in prison. Another individual is caught with (x) amount of marijuana (drug trafficking) and gets 3 years in jail. What message is this giving the Belizean people?
Next point: a single mother is caught stealing food for her hungry children at one of the richest stores in Belize City. She is arrested, taken to court, ridiculed, and then given probation. OK. We know what she did was wrong, but the way the economy is in Belize right now and the high rate of unemployment, can we really blame her?
She was caught stealing from one of the richest stores in Belize City. What they could have done if they had had the right marketing people, was to take this golden opportunity and turn it to their advantage. They should have pardoned this lady on live TV instead of taking her to court, and given her a big food hamper for her hungry children. Next, she could have been given a job to continue feeding her hungry children, this being the Christmas season and all. Do you know how good this company would have looked?
The way they handled the issue made them look like the mean, Scrooge, vindictive company they really are. What was the manager thinking? Some people just don’t have it, when it comes to marketing.
My next beef is with the teachers, especially in the Corozal District. I have personally seen/noticed that the majority of teachers are taking advantage of their position as teachers. I have six nephews and nieces, and not a day goes by without the teachers asking for this or that. My nephews and nieces come from poor families and their parents are barely struggling on $60.00, $80.00 or a hundred dollars a week.
Yet, for Children’s Day, for example, each of them was asked to bring (eg:) a chicken, (x) amount of rice and beans, (x) amount of masa for tamales, cheese for dip, ingredients for pizza, etc. If they wanted to go to Children’s Day, they had to provide these things. How in the world could the parents of these children provide these things? Nobody went to Children’s Day. Period.
Scarcely a week passes that teachers don’t take a day off. Workshops, meetings with staff, union meetings, or teachers getting sick. These teachers just need a small excuse not to hold classes.
Yet they are the ones making the big bucks and even demanding pay raises all the time. They are the ones who get the most holidays per year than any other worker, and they get paid for all their vacation time. Yet you hear their lament of how they work so hard – yea, right!
I used to teach a long time ago and my pay was $168.00 per month. I had to walk 4 miles through a picado trail to get to my school. Any meeting was held after 3:30 pm, after school. Any union meetings were held on Saturdays, and any charts or visual aids were made by myself with monies from my own pocket.
These days teachers give children big projects to do at home, where the parents end up doing the project and not the child, just so the teacher looks good in his or her classroom.
Don’t ask about parties: the teacher always gets the best plate of food and ends up taking a good-sized plate home. Teachers these days are getting the best pay and do the least amount of work. Is this fair?
And the most important question: are the children getting a top notch education? Try getting a fourth form graduate or even a sixth form graduate to write you a letter or a few paragraphs, and see how these come out. You would be surprised!
Eulogio Itzab, former teacher
San Narcisco Village
(Ed. NOTE: Eulogio was really rough in this letter, but he signed his name. Teachers are sacred cows in Belize, and we can’t recall ever seeing them attacked in print before.)