It’s hard to offer ideas to our local leaders, because they traditionally block out all views that don’t emanate from within their camp, but in this desperate time we would hope that they change their ways and process quickly every idea generated in this country to see if it has merit, and, if it does, that they implement it posthaste.
Belize shouldn’t be clutching at straws, but we are: we either become better, or we will suffer more than we need to. All of us know that we are wasteful, that we waste electricity, water, food, butane, gasoline, everything, to the detriment of the environment and to ourselves.
The portions of vegetables and fish that are typically discarded can be utilized immediately to increase wealth in our country. As much as 25% of vegetables and fruits end up on the garbage heap. There are numerous ways these wastes can be turned into food and other useful products, but the most common is to turn it into valuable organic fertilizers. We must enlist students across the country, from kindergarten to tertiary level; every school, every campus, must have a compost heap, and the rich fertilizer from those heaps should be used in school gardens, or sold to farmers to enrich their soil.
A 2013 FAO report says that Belizeans consumed 13.8kg of mostly locally produced fish per year, roughly 10 million pounds. The waste from domestically consumed fish wouldn’t be more than 10% or 15%, but researchers estimate that as much as 40% of wasted fish is generated in by-catch, as well as during the production and packaging of fish, lobster, conch and shrimps for the export market. This waste could make a valuable industry.
There is some fascinating research taking place into the uses of fish scales, but for the most part waste from fish can easily be processed to make fish oil and fish meal/cakes for animal and human consumption, and organic fertilizers for vegetable and ground food production. The heat energy to turn this waste into usable products could be generated from wind or solar so that we don’t have to become more dependent on the present sources of energy production.
A sorry lot of UDPees
Clearly Omar is a reluctant candidate, and green in regards to experience. Ah yer the Prime Minister and his family don’t like Patrick; John, among other things, gets mixed up with friends who are full-blown bandits; Darrell has Ms. Miller’s albatross contract around his neck and nobody will give him a seat; and if that lot isn’t miserable enough, imagine Sedi as Prime Minister after spending a lifetime saying bad things about George Price, and then declaring that the line our heroic surveyors drew between Belize and Guatemala was an artificial border.
Not much more than six weeks for neighbor to present their case
The Guatemalans have been saying for over a hundred years, spanning three centuries, that we belong to them, so it’s hard for them to turn back, even though they know they don’t have a case. I won’t go into the details about how we arrived here, going to court (International Court of Justice (ICJ)) to settle our differences. In summary, they decided that very kind proposals from the minds of a couple of men called FACILITATORS were not sufficient.
The people called FRIENDS kind of pushed the court solution, and the Guatemalans bit into it, at least that’s what we saw. My belief is that they were pulling a bluff, playing gung ho to trot out their lawyers, all the while knowing that Belize couldn’t bite on such a preposterous piece of bait.
They did not figure on the increasing senility of our Foreign Minister, and factor in that a present leader, to a great extent, and a past one, to a lesser extent, while wining and dining for years with the FRIENDS, had boxed themselves into a court solution. Ah, how could I forget the dangerous comrade, at this time safely ensconced from the virus in Cuba? If you didn’t notice, Cuba has so many doctors and nurses they are lending them to every country that needs help to fight the disease.
Ah, it is said that this comrade is a glory seeker, and a solution to the problem, any kind of solution, became his Holy Grail, his raison d’etre. What a four — an over-the-hill Foreign Minister (it is no shame to have your grey cells regressing – just a thing of nature), a retiring PM, a retired PM, an old guerrilla fighter, and Guatemala got hooked by a bait we weren’t supposed to bite. Ouch, we got disgraced, but Guatemala got fixed to a hook.
I got a partial read that their new president, Alejandro Giammattei, was leaning toward us making another try at resolving matters without going to court. That’s the sense I got from a Rowland Parks story in the Amandala in January.
“We are proposing…to speak to the Government of Belize, be it in Belmopan or in the Adjacency Zone, so that we can put aside the issue of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), starting with re-establishing the ties we have with Belize, in areas such as trade and tourism. There are many things that unite us, aside from fighting. So what we want is a good relationship…we are very interested in having good relations with all our neighbors,” President Giammattei was quoted as saying.
The world has changed so much since this year started — yes, ah di taak bowt the new coronavirus. Some things that were important last year seem so trivial now, but this claim on our land is not one of those. On April 15, 2018, over 95 plus percent of the 26% of registered Guatemalans who voted on the question of taking their claim to the ICJ, said ‘vamos’, and on May 8, 2019, 55% of the 65% of registered Belizeans who voted on the question, said: Wi agree fu settle dis da di ICJ.
As per the rules of this engagement, Guatemala has one year to present their arguments to the ICJ in The Hague after we formally notified the court that we had voted yes. Today, Friday, March 27, 2020, if Guatemala is on schedule, we are not much more than 42 days away from seeing their claim and game plan, but there might not be anyone at the court to look at it.
To get a job at a court as acclaimed as the ICJ, one has to have many sterling credits to one’s name. The Oxford Handbook of International Adjudication says that in 2012 the average age of judges in that arena was 64. That is not the age group that is the most under attack by COVID-19, but it is too close for the group’s comfort. We can’t expect these judges to focus properly on a matter as removed from them as ours is, not at this time.
Some CDC facts on H1N1
Just a decade ago Belize was bracing for H1N1, a deadly flu that was infecting people across the globe. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), a United States federal agency, estimated that from April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010, there were 60.8 million cases, 274,304 hospitalizations, and between 8,868 and 18,306 deaths in the US from the H1N1 virus.
The CDC estimated that across the world between 151,700 and 575,400 people died from H1N1, and 80% of the deaths occurred in people less than 65-years-old.