Having been swept into office back in November by a massive and resounding mandate, this current administration has now passed its first 100 days in office. With very little fanfare, the day marking their first 100 days came on a rather quiet sailboat and discreetly passed us by. One was privy to hear a little shuffle here and there, and in between the rustle of the wind, we learnt about a few purported “accomplishments”, but no official launch or big fandango to mark this big day!
I believe it was said that some sort of official briefing would come, but still not entirely sure. So, in the midst of a pandemic, where it appears we are inching toward herd immunity, and there is an ailing economy and a people suffering and in strife, the perplexing question on everybody’s mind is “how are they doing” after the first 100 days? Or, better yet, the biggest question after the first 100 days of this new administration is, “are you satisfied?”
Well, that’s a very pointed question. In all fairness, I cannot and will not seek to knock them for the state of the economy and the economic crisis we find ourselves in. Nobody can make me believe that the economy was “healthy” when this new administration assumed the reins. Numbers don’t lie, and the fact is that the economy was badly degraded well before this new administration took over and that the economy was merely clutching to straws and was being held up by “old line sticks”.
So, as it relates to the state of the economy, I won’t knock them for that. Well, I mean the inherently terrible conditions which they inherited. However, after the first 100 days, arguably, very little was done to stimulate the economy or turn things around. We still find ourselves ascribing to some of the same failed economic practices of the past and by and large, in terms of the gaping economic holes we face, we are merely trying to plug them one by one without a clear plan to level up and rebound.
Health-wise, there is much skepticism and cynicism over the drastic decline in the COVID-19 numbers. However, this writer believes the numbers to be true, but does not subscribe to the reasoning and the rationale that they are presenting. I don’t believe that since they took over in November, that they presented a form of panacea that led or contributed to a drastic decline in the COVID-19 numbers. I believe that the rapid decline that we have seen is as a direct result of the global decline in cases that may possibly point to a potential herd immunity.
Furthermore, as it relates to poverty and social alleviation programs, they have found ways to continue these programs, but by and large these programs are running on life support. They have been significantly scaled down and have dwindled very much. Now, while admittedly there was some questionable distribution of these packages in the past, by and large the bulk of the people who were receiving these packages were truly in need. As these programs continue on a reduced basis, truth be told, there is no telling when they will end and for how much longer they will last.
The numbers in relation to unemployment and underemployment are staggering. Almost 60,000 people are battling either unemployment or underemployment and find themselves in dire straits and are struggling to make ends meet. While progress has been made in export of cattle, the promotion of buying local and the reopening of the Corozal Free Zone, very little additional stride has been made in putting Belizeans back to work. In this light, I say thank God for call centers, ‘cause there’s no telling what would become of us if we didn’t have all those call centers!
That aside, noteworthy is the sporadic infrastructural and road developments that are underway along the various thoroughfares across this country. It’s a much needed sigh of relief for commuters traversing the major highways and roadways. Also noteworthy is the open platform in which the acquisition of land is being made readily available to Belizeans all over this country. That is very laudable, and of course, it is yet to be seen when the actual lands will start to roll out.
All in all, I come to one conclusion. The first 100 hundred days hasn’t been one that is stellar or one that should be lauded. It was merely basic and flat. I mean, yes, there is the pandemic and the economic crisis that I will readily agree were inherited. But when they sought out this office, they should have known what awaited them. But all in all, in my humble opinion, very little to no achievement was made in really boosting and bolstering the economy, reducing the unemployment and underemployment rate and moving the poor and marginalized across the poverty hump.
The situation remains dire, and the prognosis is grim. For the past 100 days, we embarked on quite a bit of witch-hunting in an effort to point to ails of the past and dig up old bones. While in parts and parcel this is necessary, truth be told, if this was a football match, we have been playing the game in defense for the entire first quarter! We have failed in all regards to advance the ball to the offense and strike at goal. And the thing is this: those in the bleachers won’t continue to wait and cheer forever. They need to see the ball moving, or else they will get impatient and may very well switch sides. It is rather imperative that we get the ball rolling… and get it rolling fast. The clock is ticking, and the umpire stands prowling the periphery, waiting to blow the whistle.
Unchained Reflections Of A Liberal Pragmatist.