Maybe a couple hours north of the Gulf port city of Vera Cruz, still in the state of Vera Cruz, there’s a little town on the Gulf of Mexico coast called Casitas. Restaurants line the main street, and when you visit one like El Pirata, where our travelling party had dinner both going to and coming from Texas in May/June of last year, you can look out the windows and see the small river which splits the town in two from east to west. This is the river on which the fishermen bring in their catch from the Gulf. And the fish at El Pirata is as fresh as fresh can be. It’s a treat.
As a man with a fishing background, and as a man who is of grandfather’s age, I like going to sleep early and rising in the pre-dawn darkness. But, I would still like to have it so that Belize City has a night life, if I should like to go out, for whatever reason I choose.
We used to have a night life in the old capital, and the fact that we now really do not, is one of the precise differences between life here before and after independence. What night life we have now essentially involves our young people going into enclosed clubs after midnight. But the air in the city is usually fresh and clean, with the tang of salt, and sometimes the moon is beautiful in the night sky. We would do well with small businesses of an outdoor nature, like cafés and restaurants, which could ply their trade in the night.
As I said before, I am not personally a night person, but on my two trips to Mérida, in 1976 and 1993, the night life was what I enjoyed most in that city of light. There was a relaxed, peaceful feeling, and musicians would be playing in parks and restaurants. Chetumal is also quite enjoyable in the night, although the pace is faster than in Mérida.
What is the problem in Belize City why there is no real cosmopolitan night life? This is a subject on which I would be interested to hear people’s opinions. It would add so much to our quality of life in the old capital if one could move about casually and freely in the downtown areas after dark.
My personal opinion is that the biggest problem with our night life (or lack thereof), and perhaps our day life too, is the number of crack cocaine addicts. A crack addict is different from a beggar. A crack addict is an agitator, someone who disturbs wa. Suppose we invested in a program and rehab center where we could get the crack addicts off the streets? Research would have to done so that the people in authority can accomplish this in a humanitarian manner. It’s going to cost money for sure, and there is no guarantee that it’s going to work.
Because of different factors, prominent amongst which is corruption, the difference between being in and out of power is huge for our two major political parties. It seems as if political campaigning has become an all-day every-day thing. Anything which a party in power proposes, is automatically and stridently criticized and rejected by the party which is not in power. Any change in the status quo requires great creativity, energy, and commitment. And so, we crawl along in the population center, seemingly victims of our own puerile politics.
It was not always the way it is now. In other countries, they would employ the professional academicians and researchers to find out exactly how we moved from where we were to where we are. After the requisite research, the academicians and researchers could then submit recommendations to the people in power for their perusal.
Things are usually more complicated than they appear to the casual observer. This is a given. The constitutional status of political independence, nevertheless, should be empowering us, the Belizean people, to change domestic situations which displease us. One assumes that most Belizean adults who live in our population center would like for there to be a night life. Since there used to be such an animal three decades ago, it is not impossible, theoretically speaking, for us to return to the status quo ante.
I pause for a reply.