Gone are the days when Belize was considered a friendly, family-oriented society. When you were your brother’s keeper. Today it’s all about self and our own individualism. This has now manifested itself in the stalemate between the government and the unions. It seems we have missed the big picture, which is the total destruction of our economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic just over a year ago. Unfortunately, to the detriment of the entire nation, the unions have lost trust and faith in our government. I have always believed that the population of this country, which is less than half a million people, cannot continue to sustain a big government. The country cannot afford to have 15 Cabinet Ministers and be the largest employer with such a small populace. This is the perfect time to start trimming the waste and shrinking the size of government to make it more effective and efficient.
On the other hand, I believe that the unions are being selfish, unreasonable and inconsiderate. How could you even consider industrial action at this most difficult time in our history? How will protesting, destroying our infrastructure and striking help get us out of this economic calamity? Apparently, only the private sector should carry the brunt of this devastation. When all the schools were closed because of the pandemic since March of last year, teachers and public officers continued to take home 100% of their salary. Due to the same reason, the salaries of myself and over 60,000 Belizean salaries were cut 100% — to 0. In our case, we were never given an option to negotiate what percentage of our salary should be deducted. It was just boom, 100% salary cut, with no questions asked. This is the private sector — the backbone of this economy.
There is no time to point fingers and play the blame game. It’s time for all Belizeans to sacrifice as one people to do their part to help recover our economy and beloved country. So what will be the end result of your industrial action — have you ever thought about that? Are we really in this together? The time has come to re-examine ourselves as citizens of this country and the role we want to play in rebuilding this nation. Nobody asked for this coronavirus pandemic; it devastated the entire planet. This is a national issue, not political, and we need to address it as such. Industrial action will only have dire consequences on an already rough and difficult time of austerity. It’s time to step up, Belizeans, and get off your political high horse. Your country, Belize, needs you now more than ever before.