We found out this week, if the local Guardian is to be believed, that the negotiations with the TNC (Blue Bonds) started six months before the UDP was kicked out of office. We were also told that the negotiations were all but completed, so they deserve more credit than the other side. Bah, if the UDP hadn’t left such shambles behind, they’d probably get some of the thanks they’re clamoring for.
I say, Mister and Miss UDP, it’s so wonderful that you weren’t around to sign the deal. You inherited the Petro Caribe, and when that giant largesse machine rolled out of town we had very little to show for it. All the winnings you got off the gushing oil wells in Spanish Lookout that you didn’t dig, there’s little to show for it.
What you left us with was a tripling of the unholy bill at the private hospital, the purchase of BTL at more than twice its value, no improvement in the justice system where it involves the world’s worst crime, and no transparency and accountability in government. If the pattern of the past predicts the future, the Blue Bonds would have been red, yes, and your lawyers would have creamed off, again, your cronies would have somehow gotten slices cut from the area set for preservation, and we the people would have been left wondering, again.
Play that record in your shadow cabinet; the verdict on the Blue Bonds goes all the way to the Blue Leopard PUP. No, I’m not so gullible to believe that a leopard can change its spots, but they get the thanks, and we’ll keep up the pressure—so there isn’t any dangerous slippage.
Standard government policy or PUP entitlement
The new PSU head is a smooth talker, and he has his points, but too often when I listen to him I get the sense that he is a politician. Maybe I’m asking for too much when I say I expect union leaders to tell us the whole story. Last week the PSU’s Dean was irate about the Ministry of Finance paying whopping healthcare bills for Covid care that members of the PUP hierarchy received at a private hospital. The complaint resonated because it’s glaring in Belize that there is a disparity in healthcare between public and private. It was big in the news last week that there was a shortage of basic medicines at all the public hospitals.
On Friday, Krem News said relevant authorities stated that it is government policy to give health insurance packages to government leaders, and the payments were routine response to claims put in by the private hospital. There might be a grey area there in regard to exactly what this insurance covers, but if it is standard policy, I believe Mr. Dean, properly, should have told us about it when he shared the story, so that we could have the entire picture.
Really, it is enough for us regular citizens to have to deal with all the spins of the truth from all the agendas. If the unions are in on that game too it will become a lot more confusing.
The business folk pushing for the causeway (really a bridge) will make their case to the government on why it is essential to the Port Coral project, and it will be very much an issue between business and the environment before the verdict is in. We were told that the green light was given, but the sudden departure of the head at the DOE has us wondering if the only bridge we’ll be seeing soon is the one called Haulover spanning the Belize River.
If the reality of a causeway from North Drowned Cay remains between environmental concerns and the business potential of the project, and the scale isn’t leaning in either direction, the balance would be tipped in favor of business if it was a public project and we could minimize our environmental footprint. If the causeway was publicly owned, we country folk could take a bus to the old capital, get our old bicycle from off the top of the bus, and pedal out, over the sea.
It isn’t public money that would construct the causeway, which is really a bridge. Looking at the physical structure, we understand this bridge over water would extend 4 miles, and that wouldn’t be cheap. One way the private interests could pay for it would be by charging a toll.
At the east end of the proposed causeway there are some facilities for tourists, and some acres and acres are supposed to have been set aside for folk who can pay a mint to buy or rent houses made for the rich and famous. You can bet that such a community would be gated, excluding we hoi polloi.
For much of the year, that area around Stake Bank and to the lee of Drowned Cay can’t take much human activity. Minimizing our environmental impact means we won’t be allowed to ride over in numbers every day. To get around that, the entrance fee will be set on the high side, so we have to save to pay. We’ll have to take a bath before getting on that causeway. And we won’t be allowed to drink milk before taking the trip.
Burkina Faso’s Blaise Compaoré on trial
The following excerpt is from the October 11 BBC News story “Thomas Sankara trial in Burkina Faso: Who killed ‘Africa’s Che Guevara’?”, by Jewel Kiriungi:
Thirty-four years, almost to the day, since the shocking killing of Burkina Faso’s then President, Thomas Sankara, 14 men are going on trial, accused of complicity in the murder of the man known as “Africa’s Che Guevara”. The charismatic Pan-Africanist was shot dead aged 37 by soldiers during a coup on 15 October 1987, which saw his close friend, Blaise Compaoré, come to power. Four years previously, the pair had staged the takeover which saw Sankara become president….
…”For us, Sankara was a patriot. He loved his people. He loved his country. He loved Africa. He gave his life for us,” said Luc Damiba, secretary general of the Thomas Sankara Memorial Committee…
…Sankara himself led an austere lifestyle. He reduced his own salary, and that of all public servants. He also banned the use of government chauffeurs and first-class airline tickets. (Thomas Sankara’s brother, Valentin, remembers being served beans at the presidential palace.)
Education was a key priority – while he was in power, the literacy rate increased from 13% in 1983 to 73% in 1987, and he also oversaw a massive national vaccination campaign. He also redistributed land from local chiefs and gave it directly to poor farmers, which led to a huge increase in cotton production.
I learned via social media of the passing a couple weeks back of one of Compre’s first heroes, my buddy, Ismael “Smilaz” Contreras. Smilaz was among the first students to attend Compre, he and his sister, Sandra. They commuted every day from the Central Farm area and that journey by bus (or truck) every day must have worn them out, because after Smilaz and his sister completed second form they quit Compre.
Smilaz was our top marathon runner, and in my estimation the second best footballer at our school, after John Lopez from Mahogany Street in Belmopan.
That man needs a black skin
A social media cousin put up this post that some of us need to nail to our walls, so we get the sense. The story is that back in the 1940s a class in the US was asked what they thought was the proper way to deal with Hitler after the war, and a 16-year-old student wrote: “Put him in a black skin and let him live the rest of his life in America”. The youth won the prize.