Features — 11 July 2014 — by Audrey Matura-Shepherd

We cannot become insensitive to the horrific increase of violence and, murder and human suffering in this country. This new high cannot become our norm and our threshold. We just cannot allow our minds and hearts to become tolerant to this level of and degree of violence and inhumanness. Amongst ourselves we must soul-search and make a pact to humble our hearts and pray for our nation.

Belize since last year and into this year has been visited with some of the vilest news, immoral and unethical conduct from our leaders in different spheres, not just government and in many instances our church leaders have compromised the law of God to accommodate the law of men. Our moral standards have been under heavy attack by the LGBT agenda who want to legalize their abominable behavior and if allowed even our basic identity as male/female would be neutralized to satisfy such an agenda… imagine even the Special Envoy of Women and Children has abdicated said post to be special envoy of LGBT, accusing our nation of being homophobic. Such an attack is only possible because over the years our churches have never united against governmental corruption, social abuses, especially against our children, injustices of all types and nature against individuals and groups. They turned a blind eye to much of the immorality and must now draw a line in the sand and revert to seeking ways to heal a nation!

A review of the past twelve months will remind us that Elvin Penner is still not fully investigated for the passport scandal and that no other than the once righteous and pious Godwin Hulse is the gate-keeper of that investigation. Likewise it will reveal that no one has been punished for the mishandling of funds by the Belize Airport Authority and monies stolen form the NHI program of the Southern Regional Hospital. It’s at all levels, from the rank and file to the Ministerial, that we can list all the wrongs and in some instances illegality, yet there is no indication that our people want to do the right thing. Not only the unions, but the churches too must denounce such conduct and seek solutions from their angle as well.

Those blinded by evil are unable to see the correlation between our immoral conduct and the crimes and illegality plaguing our nation. We find ourselves in the web of deceit, where a government moves to stamp down a grassroots movement such as BGYEA for demanding equitable access to land, yet they sell for pittance thousands of tracts of land to Green Tropics for enrichment, and refuse to seek injunctions against illegal Guatemalan squatters all over the country including and especially our border with Guatemala. A deceit where one political party justifies its conduct because the other did it before… instead of setting higher and better standards as part of its legacy.

By our fruits

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. LUKE 6: 43-44

I don’t know if long ago Belize was an individualistic society as I see it now, but I grew up in a small town and my recollection of it was a communal one, where neighbors assisted neighbors, and children were raised and disciplined by the entire community and crime was almost non-existent. I have seen where our community spirit has changed. I recall as a child traveling to Belize City and the biggest crime you could fear is a man running and snatching your chain from around your neck… It was a bit rampant, but no one killed you for it. Now Belize City is the murder capital and the embracing of the new age lifestyle on television has brought us all the most violent and immoral behavior right into our living room. Cable stations are not censored and it seems the state does not feel it needs to filter out the filth from North American television, so with the good the garbage comes too.

However, what as a nation we are evolving into is from the collective hearts of our people. Yes, it is led in many ways by our leaders, but so led because we already had the inclination and disposition and have settled in comfortably into a decaying lifestyle and calling it modern, rights, equality… But none speaking of morality and responsibility… our sense of justice is not balanced and we have become complacent in the disparity it creates.

I believe our people have not sat back and contemplated how our collective moral compass that we established and are establishing is pointing us in the direction we are going and so all the crime, abuse, violence, governmental unaccountability, family break-up and the likes are simply a manifestation of the seeds we have sown.

The evil we see in our country these days has a direct correlation with the posture of our hearts individually. We want to emulate the USA so much where they fight to keep God out of everything… especially their schools, business and court houses and wonder where God is when the violent shootings occur in their schools, of where God is when corporations become enriched on the backs of the poor, and Ponzi schemers go without criminal punishment or where justice is not served and murderers walk or judges legalize the immoral!

I pray Belize as a nation wakes up and get on their knees to pray and then each start to make a difference by choosing at least one person for whom they must do a good deed and care for in a neighborly way and let that seed spread. Let us teach our children to help others, share with others whatever we are blessed with and not speak of love but live in love for others. All those political media houses that spread hate and influence the hearts of others need to be closed down as they have become a curse to our nation. Let the constructive criticism flow, but not those mean-spirited hate speeches, which our Envoy has turned a blind eye to when denouncing hate speeches!

A time for change

I believe there are different layers of leadership in our nation and that political leadership has been given more dominance over the years because of the resources it controls, yet it creates much imbalance because the other arms of leadership, such as civil society, the unions, the body of Christ, the business community and the local community/grassroots leadership have failed to claim their rightful position and have allowed themselves to become subservient to the political leadership.

Too often these other streams of leadership decide to compromise with the political leadership in return for concessions, contracts, handouts, position, deals, land, or some other benefit that will be self-serving. In so doing they give up their duty to stand guard as a check and balance and when things go out of balance chaos ensues. It is that chaos we are dealing with now, and so there has been a need for some time now for an ROC – Rod of Correction on which to anchor ourselves and regain our balance.

I like the principles upon which ROC is being formed and organized and I pray it does not ever fall into the category of the infamous ACB – Association of Concerned Belizeans, which turned out to really mean Association Colluding with Barrow! The betrayal of such an Association that really was a wolf in sheep’s clothing led by no other than the ex-wife, Lois Young-Barrow, has left a bitter taste in our mouths and when we need them most they are defunct as they have served their purposes already!

I say, my people, if we do not get involved in the change of our nation with a heart in line with the right position, posture and principles, we will fail. But all we really need is for a few of our own to take up the mantle and build our movement from the start on the proper foundation and it will serve the country and people as it should. I want to think that ROC is such an organization and it will garner the support it needs, because there are still enough people in this country who want to see real good and positive change… people who don’t pay lip-service to rights and equality but are willing to implement it, people who don’t call for accountability and free-flow of information, but who unlike Godwin Hulse will hold office to make the change and not the office hold them to be changed… People who will be a light in darkness and not allow the light to be extinguished and be the darkness.

Light in darkness

As Belize battles with the prince of darkness [no pun intended and let that prince be who you think it is] let us choose to be light that will extinguish said darkness. Let us use our God-given talent to return to promoting the basics… such as neighborly help, food for the hungry, words of comfort not criticism; let us not be divided along political lines, but united along national issues and the list can go on. However, most of all, let us go back to being humble before God, especially those of us who profess our faith. Let it be more of a manifestation by our prayers and conduct, which will draw others to God and not away… since His church is not a building but the communion of those who live by His word and His example. Let us not be afraid of the Pharisees in our midst and let us not believe being God-fearing equates to being weak and downtrodden, because it does not. Rather it is being bold and a warrior for God and it means standing up to stamp out corruption, injustices and hypocrisy…

Let us remove the darkness over our nation and pray for our Belize!

God bless Belize!

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