Letters — 13 December 2013 — by Chriss Roggema

Dear Editor,

When I read this letter in the Amandala about the foreign retirees, etc., I felt that this was a perfect example of an issue that needed to be answered by a foreign-born Belizean, a “white bway” who has been living here for 25 years with a Belizean family, who has seen all these foreigners come and go for all those years.

To make a statement that a group of foreigners will move back to their countries and will take Belize tourism back home with them is an insult to Belize and its people. It is the beauty of Belize and its population that brings tourism to Belize, not this segment of the foreigners who started their businesses in tourism. Yes, they might be privileged, having funds to invest or having access to cheap financing from abroad; while Belizeans pay 12-18% interest, they pay 2.75- 5%, and build some nice places. Or maybe, they have better skills to attract their foreign customers through the internet, because they have better computer skills, but to state they are tourism in Belize … please!

This brings me back to a conversation I had with a fellow islander on the San Pedro Express Bridge. He wanted to encourage me to write about exactly this attitude by a lot of foreigners coming lately into Belize who have a very condescending, degrading attitude towards Belizeans. I know him to be a pretty balanced, straight, hard working family man, a great craftsman, well-spoken and intelligent, and I was very surprised by the degree of insult he was talking about, or maybe not, because when I did a construction for a friend of my wife, I got a similar treatment.

It is this attitude, this new colonialism, which is very insulting towards Belizeans and might be partly the factor why there is aggression towards foreigners in those places like Placencia, Corozal, San Pedro and Caye Caulker.

I do not ignore that there are people in Belize who try to take advantage of white people or any people. But are there no conmen in your country? No crime, no liars and people with no integrity? If I am right, the president of the USA just last month tried to pull your country and the rest of the world into WW3 with the same kind of lies they used to invade Iraq.

A whistleblower from the hip-hop music industry came out with the information that the industry partly had been bought up by the corporations who run the prisons in the USA, and were forced to glorify the gang thing with more “bling,” so more kids would become more criminalized so they would be ending up as their corporate customers.

So instead of talking war, we in Belize had better find a way to more peacefully coexist with each other, and they (the foreigners) might start to have more respect for the Belizean people and their ways, instead of always imposing their own culture and ways on people, because that can often come across as very condescending and insulting.

My old Mennonite granny always said: If you always want to squeeze the last drop out of the can, the lid will fall on your nose. And that’s how of lot of foreigners treat Belizeans. I have seen that a lot, and even experienced it myself. That brings a lot of resentment.

I also see that a lot of foreigners drink a lot of alcohol and do a lot of drugs, and that does not really promote a lot of discernment. That attracts more than usual the wrong people and situations towards themselves.

Most Belizeans are very disturbed by the crime situation and would like to see improvements of the situation, but to say it’s them against us, that’s where we have to change, because it’s us together: we can change things in that way.

Chriss Roggema
CocoPlum Gardens, Caye Caulker


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