(This column was first published in the Amandala issue of Friday, February 24, 1995)
MINDPRINT B (for “Beta”) … bank …
Can you think of anything that you want or need, either physically or intellectually, that you don’t have to have bank money, dinero, penga? Everything takes money, and in this day lots of it. Food, clothing, shelter, health, education, entertainment, holiday, all require bank, and as long as you live, you will require these necessities.
Now you may get “bank” by working for it, by inheriting it… “Wealth distorts the value of people who do not work for it,” Perez Alfonso, co-founder of OPEC, or by stealing it, either big time as by wiping out of Mongolia’s entire foreign reserves of $900,000,000.00 recently by way of derivative trading, or through insider stock manipulations as played by Boesky and Milliken, or small time as practiced by the burglar, shoplifter, “jacker”.
In Belize (and other countries like it), it does not matter how you get the penga; it will ultimately end up in the branch banks to be exported. All the monies that are “given” in loans, grants, “free” donations, checks from relatives in the U.S., are spent buying imported foodstuffs, clothing, hardware, VCR’s, TV’s, to pay mortgages, house rent, light bill, water bill, phone bill, Johnnie Walker Black. The loans and grants given for agricultural development (still buying imported foodstuffs though) – for the improvement of the manufacturing industries (name two) to better Belize, to conserve Belize, skip across the nation like a stone a child skips across the river … U.S. check arrives for Gramma, who cashes it at a branch bank which charges a fee for the service. Gramma proceeds to buy her necessities, consisting mainly of the aforementioned imports. Branch bank exports profits to U.S., Canada, to parts unknown…clever way for Mother Country to get U.S. dollars, isn’t it? Gramma waits for next check. This is just Gramma’s check; can you imagine what kind of dinero is involved with the big project(s)?
In the meanwhile the politicians attend international meetings on trade; the NGO’s hold meetings and seminars; the millionaire “foreign investor” demands concessions; the local investor laments about lack of money, and legislation that works against his chances of survival. All the while the bank is skipping, skipping, and the country is getting poorer, its foreign debt is becoming insurmountable; it is being squeezed into the position of continued impoverishment by selling its most precious resource, the land, at bargain basement prices.
We are being used to exterminate ourselves, legislating our extinction.
We are “snorting” away our Reef.
We are “reserve(s)…ing” our children’s slavery.
We are “rapping” our forests away.
We are “Another World” into economic bondage.
We are consuming ourselves with the North’s obsolete technology, hand-me-downs, and philanthropic hypocrisy…Brethren, the North did not get wealthy by being philanthropic. There is nothing “free under the sun. This is an impossibility.
We seem immobilized by “lust, lottery and laziness” – Rev. Caleb Cousins.
Unless and until someone has the guts to demand the portfolios to establish the National Workers Bank, the Belizean is history. We are paying foreigners to buy our land and then begging them to feed us. In a country of virgin rain forests, a world wonder living Reef, of fantastic harbours, gateways to the oil fields of Peten and the mineral resources of southwest Belize/Guatemala, to have to depend on the “handouts” of the North is inane.
If the Social Security system cannot be the Bank, if it is threatened or intimidated from doing so, then the credit unions should pool their resources and build their own vault so that some of the penga can stay at home for our own beneficial advancement.