Some ideas are more valuable than silver or gold. Most people spend their whole lives without conceiving one such idea. But a precious few are blessed to have more than one.
I first heard of the idea that the establishment of a national bank by the government could transform our economy, from Dr. Leroy Taegar and Bill Lindo, at about the same time. They were associates, so they might have conferred. Bill went further; he has been studying the subject for the past fifteen years, read the books of, and corresponded with one of the foremost experts in, the field of national banking. It took a long time till a government saw merit in the idea and had the courage to take action. It is to the credit of our present government that our national bank is a reality.
The government is advised by people it considers experts, but Bill is saying that they are making some mistakes which might be avoided. If they listen to what Mr. Lindo has to say, it might be less expensive.
I like Bill’s latest idea even better. He gave an outline/sketch of it in a recent Sunday Review program on KREM TV. The idea is to stabilize our Western border with Guatemala permanently. This is as I remember it: Take a strip of land a mile wide along fifty or more miles of the border line. Plant coconut trees twenty-five feet apart in the whole length and breadth of this belt, using spaces for housing, other structures, the growing of plants, vegetables, etc. for those who will settle and work on the coconut plantations.
Bill has produced a whole scheme, which would solve two problems: stabilize the border and provide a healthy environment for our marginalized young people to live and work in. This is just the type of development project that could be financed by our national bank.
Let someone who will be paid do the logistics of the scheme, if it is ever undertaken. I will enjoy looking at the figures. They are very encouraging. There are 64 acres in a square mile and roughly 4,000 sq. ft. in an acre. That is a plot of land 200 ft. by 200 ft., which you can cut into 64 x 25ft. squares. If you plant a tree in each square, you would have 64 trees. Let’s deal in round numbers. Let’s make it 60 to an acre and make it 600 acres to the mile. That would make it 3,600 trees in a square mile x 50 miles and we have a plantation of 180,000 coconut trees, with lots of space for housing, a factory, and food crops, etc., etc. If all goes well (and it never does), pests and diseases would be taken care of and the plantation should be worth ten times the size of the original investment.
By the time the project is complete, an industrial chemist will have found commercial uses for the fibre in the husks, coconut shells, and the leaves and branches of the trees. Of course, this will depend if we can produce more of our finest young minds to study science instead of law. You will make more money if you become an attorney but, will make a greater contribution to your country if you become an industrial chemist like George Washington Carver or an economist cum entrepreneur. Our country needs someone to discover the uses that the coconut tree can be put to; or how oil can be extracted from the cohune nut. We will never become a great nation if all our citizens think only of how to become rich and very, very few consider how best they can serve their country.
A project this big, if undertaken jointly with Guatemala, would cement friendly relations with our neighbor to the West for a millennium. Just a thought. It would have to take place after the ICJ’s decision of our difference allowing Guatemala to drop its claim to Belizean territory with honour.