“Belize is not a real place.” I was born within the embrace of eight thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven square miles of fertile green earth, as Rufus X likes to call it. This pristine plot of land, however, is plagued with political lethargy for many complicated and interconnected reasons. It seems that our leaders are juggling a Rubik’s Cube while not being able to discern colors with hands calloused and ravaged by years of autoimmune-induced arthritis.
One of my favorite series is Narcos, which is a series that outlines the triumphs and defeats of the people of Colombia during the reign of King Narco — Pablo Escobar. In one episode, the character Cesar Gaviria in a speech to the citizens states, “Colombians say, God made our land so beautiful, it was unfair to the rest of the world. So to even the score, God populated the land with a race of evil men.”
I think to some degree the same can be said for our country, which has been branded “Mother Nature’s Best-Kept Secret.” My friends and even some of my elders talk about the perceived fact, based on anecdotes, that Belize was never like this, and well, my counter is that the only way the atrocities that we see today could happen is that, for decades, a foundation has been built and precedents set so that leaders in government administration and the everyday man can feel and say: that “that’s just the way it is.” I can also postulate that things have maybe always been wayward here in the 501, and the advent of technology that eases the access to information has it up close, personal and in our face. Carelessness and shamelessness abound.
I’m uneasy for my Belizean beauty as she harbors much dismay. High-level security personnel that serve at the pleasure and indulgence of Ministers. Ministers that have not shown up for House sittings in ages. The nepotism that is blatant and that continues to be perpetuated, since everything is done “at the discretion of the Minister.” The use of excessive force and a style of interdiction that ended in the termination of a life by certain members of the Police Department against unarmed citizens in the heart of Belize City. Not to mention the style of policing that desperately throws legacy darts at a bull’s eye hoping that they stick when really it only hits the most vulnerable — our youth. The claim of ignorance and lack of urgency in addressing financial scams that shake the economic stance of an already debt-gouged nation which we know was facilitated by the system and those that operate within it, overtly or covertly. The press conferences by government officials that serve as opium pacifiers.
The list of ailments goes on and on in every sector and at every level, with impending implosion. Yet, no collective garners the required velocity to act upon the power that negatively acts upon us. We are in danger and it behooves me that neither the fight nor flight primitive choices kick in for us. We stand in the fire ants’ nest, just with no reaction whatsoever.
So the #BelizeanTwitter slang of Belize not being a “real place” fits here, at least in my eyes, because of the unimaginable things that not only happen here but also that we as a people let slide right under the rotting Swing Bridge.
The preamble of the Constitution of Belize:
WHEREAS the people of Belize affirm that the Nation of Belize shall be founded upon principles which acknowledge the supremacy of God, faith in human rights and fundamental freedoms, the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions, the dignity of the human person and the equal and inalienable rights with which all members of the human family are endowed by their Creator.
Who is your God? Stay curious.