Letters — 09 May 2014 — by Brian Plummer

Dear Editor,

A green paper or even a white paper is needed on education reform. I have been asking several Ministry officials about the education finance reform. I have gotten vague answers to some of my questions, so I have come to the conclusion that a policy document which is available to all stakeholders to comment and improve on the policy is needed.

I am not sure if they believe Parliament and Ministry officials are omnipotent and omniscient.

“White Papers are used as a means of presenting government policy preferences prior to the introduction of legislation”; as such, the “publication of a White Paper serves to test the climate of public opinion regarding a controversial policy issue and enables the government to gauge its probable impact”.

By contrast, Green Papers, which are issued much more frequently, are more open ended. Also known as consultation documents, Green Papers may merely propose a strategy to be implemented in the details of other legislation or they may set out proposals on which the government wishes to obtain public views and opinion.

I want to make it clear: I am not against the education reform. I am not even clear about exactly what the Ministry will do. All they do is issue platitudes on the media like I am a moron and don’t need to be bothered with the details.

As the cliché goes, the devil is in the details. Being a registered voter, an educator and a citizen of Belize, I have a right to know exactly what is planned for the future of my country. I believe in the scientific model where a hypothesis or theory is subject to improvement based on data therefore their policy is subject to improvement based on the collective wisdom of the Belizean public. Maybe it’s not in our culture to practice participatory democracy but cultures are also subject to improvement. I am formally requesting a green or white paper be published and spread throughout the Belizean public for discussion with an aim to get the best policy possible.

Yours truly,
Brian Plummer

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