Dear citizens of Belize,
I am presently writing to address a resurfacing issue. While I am only fourteen years old, I have realized there needs to be a change amongst Belizean citizens. In the past several years, there has been a repetition of misjudgement and fallibility, which has resulted in the selection of representatives who have been unproductive. We have become caged within our generational perspectives and thus are unable to prosper with new, innovative and distinctive solutions. Influenced by multiple opinions of society, we have developed a habit of choosing corruption, whether through ourselves or our leaders. There needs to be a change in our representatives and in our people. As Aristotle once said, “Dignity does not consist in possessing honours, but in the consciousness that we deserve them.”
If we want to improve our future generations, we must begin by correcting our past mistakes. There needs to be an establishment of morals and virtues amongst the Belizean people, so that we are able to evolve into wiser beings. People are so easily swayed by money and power that they are willing to accept bribes for voting or bribes for manipulating the law. There is no culprit; we are all equally at fault—representatives for their corruption and dishonesty and the Belizean people for blatantly ignoring such corruption and remaining in silence. We need to develop a stricter standard for those we let run for office; they need a high level of education, a record of contribution to society, no history of illegal activities, and they need to be honourable, law-respecting citizens. We need to remove the privileges and immunity given to those with power, and give adequate punishment to all citizens who commit offences, as stated in our Constitution. By changing our rules and standards, we may eliminate inadequate politicians and improve our line-up of candidates. If we are to stop this corruption, we must first work with ourselves, with our morals and with our perspectives.
Belizean culture is very traditional, and most generations are moulded entirely by their ancestors. Our personalities are imitations of the past. There might have been some parties which contributed in the past and were of service to many families; because of this, the families remain with these thoughts engraved in their traditions and refuse to change or evolve. We are unable to progress because of our flock mentality; some even make decisions entirely based on the personal ties and influence they might have within a party, rather than considering a progressive future. Most politicians do not enter with the mentality to improve their country and contribute to society, but instead with the idea of benefitting themselves and their family. As citizens, we must consider their character, humility, integrity, honesty and leading example before we choose them to be the face of our people. They need to be compassionate, caring of their people and devoted to serving God. We need to open our mind to change and participate in our elections.
During elections, many Belizeans are reluctant to participate and thus abstain from voicing their opinions. If we don’t all come to an agreement together, there can be no progress. We do not converse on politics enough, nor do all of us practice our right to vote. We are unable to identify a problem and work together to fix it; instead, we go against each other with nonsensical political disputes, which is why nothing gets resolved. There is no unity amongst our people. This causes division between citizens and families because of their obsession with their party. Decisions aren’t being made productively or consciously, but based on tradition, fanaticism and personal benefit. For us to move forward, we need to learn from the experience of successful nations; there needs to be a higher level of education and morals amongst our people. We need foreign authorities to audit our politicians and hold them accountable.
As Belizeans we should make our country proud; we should fight to improve and thrive, both as citizens and politicians. We need wisdom from higher levels of education, in order to be analytical and calculating so we can make the best decisions. We must evolve our traditions and no longer be biased or egoistic with our opinions. There is so much to improve, like our health system, defence and military force, education system, agricultural system, tourism and our infrastructure. If we unite as Belizeans, willing to take a step towards the future, we might still be able to save our little country.
Sofia De Paz