According to my interpretation of the Constitution of Belize, democracy consists exclusively of the participation of citizens in the election of area representatives. Thereafter, such representatives are appointed as Ministers who then, along with the Prime Minister, form the Cabinet. The Cabinet has a set of obligations and responsibilities that take up the time of its members, leaving them unable to fully carry out their mandate, which is to solve the problems of the inhabitants of their constituencies. It would be unfair of me to say that area representatives ignore the people of their constituencies on a whole. But, the Constitution of this country is set up in such a way that it leaves a path open for corruption.
Let me give an example: I’ve been living in Finca Solana for the past 28 years without electricity and have never seen an area representative at my door. I don’t even know who they were or are. However, there is an individual whom I’ve known for several years who had told me once that if I ever needed to solve a problem, to let him know so he can contact the corresponding personality in order for him to present my situation to him/her. He, my acquaintance, had assured me that he won’t charge me a penny, but that I can give him something to cover his traveling expenses. Where am I going to get the money from? I think persons like these should receive a portion of the area representative’s salary, because they are doing the deputy’s job. At times we ask ourselves, what is the responsibility of an area representative?
Well, independently from what we have learnt from the actions of the Father of the politically independent, monarchical nation of Belize, I also have my personal experience when I was president of my neighborhood, which had over five thousand people living there. In those days, I had my own business plus my job in the tourism industry, and in my free time I took it as my duty to visit house by house everyday. Every three months we had our meetings at our palapa. Our palapa was an empty lot that belonged to the neighborhood which was donated by the government. Those of us who could have donated some money, used it to build the palapa. No one was obliged to attend the meetings, except for the president. We discussed all kinds of things, including our personal problems with a neighbor, our children’s mischievousness, keeping the place clean, putting the rubbish in its place; we were all vigilant. No one entered or left the neighborhood, without us seeing or knowing everything. As the president, I had full information and support of the authorities. In cases where I was not taken into account, then I went higher and also used my column in the newspaper and two magazines. Of course, I was not acting on behalf of any political party. It was all about serving the people without receiving any financial compensation; it was voluntary and an honor to serve the people. However, for that, one needs to have a socialist, democratic, humanist mentality.
July 25, 2021