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Belize City, Belize
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September 1, 2018
The Editor AMANDALA
I wish to provide some perspective regarding a recent article titled (“Taiwan’s Rice Donation Angers Farmers”, August 23rd) that appeared in your newspaper. Regarding this issue, there was a lot of back and forth saying that: 1.Taiwan should have donated money since Belize already produces rice, 2.The rice was plastic rice, 3.They used Belize for dumping rice and 4.If they wanted to donate rice to the NGO’s they should have bought from the local farmers then donated it.
Looking back now, yes, the Government could have handled it better by following the usual protocols that were to be enforced whenever goods are to be imported into the country. However, those protocols were overlooked and the rice is here. No insulting remarks should have been passed about the rice or about what Taiwan “should have” given Belize. A simple, quick and respectable solution for next time would be to just inform Taiwan that Belize already produces rice and by importing this rice, it would not be building our economy.
However, I must say that I was pleased to hear that the Government of Belize plans to donate the rice to the NGO’s feeding programs and recipients across Belize who need it, such as clients of the Ministry of Human Development, Kolbe Foundation, the Ministry of National Security, the Ministry of Health for its hospitals, Helpage, The Inspiration Center, Mercy Clinic, Salvation Army, Hand in Hand, VOICE, the Mental Health Resource Center, and NEMO, just to name a few. I can only hope that I don’t see this rice on the market for sale after the whole situation dies down and it was in fact distributed to those NGO’s who rely solely on donations in order to keep running.
I must commend Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez, Minister of Human Development, Social Transformation, and Poverty Alleviation, for looking out for those who are in need and making the best out of a bad situation because it is easy to find the faults and complain on what should have been done to better the situation but he still remained professional and handled the situation with utmost respect and appreciation for Taiwan.
Ashley R. Stanford