I write today for two things: one to congratulate the people of the Maypen community for their spanking new bridge and two, to talk about the discrimination against the Maya people here in Toledo.
You see, while I applaud the opening of the new Maypen Bridge, which costs well over $100K, I also want Belizeans to be aware of the discrimination that is taking place against the Maya people of Southern Belize. If this is not discrimination, then I don’t know what to call it.
For more than ten years now under the PUDP administrations, two culverts which are valued at less than $20K have been washed out because of the inferior work that was done to put them in just before elections. Because of this neglect the Maya people of San Jose now have to travel an extra fourteen miles daily on some of the worst roads in this country! On most days there are at least five buses because there are school buses as well that have to travel these bad roads and in the process are made to burn thousands of dollars in fuel. A quick calculation estimated that over a half a million dollars of fuel has been burned, travelling these extra miles of bad roads over the years since the culverts have been washed out.
To make matters worse, the Minister of Defence himself went to the village and promised the people the culverts; both Area Representative and Caretaker also promised to fix the culverts. But even worse, on national television in the House of Representatives none other than the Prime Minister promised the Area Representative that the people of San Jose would get their culverts! This promise was made last year, and to date, nothing.
But the people of Maypen, which has less than a hundred people, got a spanking new bridge, which cost more than twenty times the amount of a culvert that would make life easier for more than 1000 people. The sad reality is that really and truly the culvert can be fixed in less than a week. But then again, who is to blame? The people of San Jose for listening to lies over and over or the PUDP?
Over the past two elections the PUDP candidates went to the village and promised the villagers culverts, and up to the time I am writing this letter none of them have delivered on their promises, which is two measly culverts. What is even worse is that San Jose has a lot going for it. They have great tourism potential, and they are one of the biggest cacao producers in the country of Belize. The BDF use the San Jose road every two weeks because that is how they access one of their substations in the Columbia Forest Reserve. But to date no one has seen it fit to replace the culverts. If the BDF alone fix the culverts they would then cut their travel time and fuel bill by a whole lot.
Before I end I want to point out to Belize and to the people of San Jose that they had a choice in the last two elections. They had qualified non-PUDP candidates, but they chose to go the old fashioned way…the PUDP. They settled for a caldo dinner, sponsored by the PUDP, on the eve of the elections and voted the same as always…for the status quo. Let’s hope that by now the new generation of San Jose residents and people of the South will see that PUDP has totally taken them for what Belize City people would say, Kunumunu!!
Deputy Leader of the Belize Progressive Party – BPP