Grade “F” – by Aria Lightfoot

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. ”   Leo Tolstoy

I was watching a reality show on TV where a business expert , goes into failing businesses, observes the business, evaluate the weaknesses, implement changes and most importantly, attempt the difficult task of implementing the changes with people. As the expert goes through each suggestion of change, it is glaringly obvious to the viewer (me) what the weaknesses were, however, the failing business owner and employees, prior to the expert advice, barreled obliviously to imminent failure. This show made me think – What is it about change we cannot grasp, even when we know we are failing?


The hardest person to criticize is ourselves. Even though we seek approval from our peers and colleagues, it seems that seeking approval translates into seeking out people who agree with our positions. I was captivated as each owner and employee fought the idea of change even though failure was certain. The expert was subjected to name calling, discounted, accused of bias, and outright rejection. Some people took her expert criticisms as a personal condemnation and instead of grasping the opportunity to change, using the advice of a well renowned expert, they preferred termination and personal failure. The idea of change was a concept some could not appreciate, even though failure would undoubtedly change their lives.


I look at our political arena and all the people who are in running the business of Belize. Whether from a social, economic, spiritual, politically, legal or voter perspective, it is safe to surmise that we are failing as a society. We are not only failing, but we believe the fault lies somewhere else and with someone else.


The political parties that form the governments have failed to adhere to campaign promises and mostly delivered to friends and family members. They have allowed the demise of Belize by shortcutting , cronyism, special treatment, and using the public coffers as their personal bank accounts. The churches are failing to address our moral decline and have limited their powerful voice to the issue of homosexuality. Poverty, murder, theft, corruption is not addressed with the same “fiery hell” approach. Public servants have failed to serve with integrity. They have partnered with the politicians in the demise of Belize by taking bribes, ignoring protocol, not giving the tax payers a good days work, and allowing the politicians to act with impunity to the state. The Bar Association of Belize has failed to be an important check and balance to the injustices that permeate our society. The doctors have failed to educate the masses about health and be healers in our society. They have become vulture like businessmen who feed off people in their most desperate moment in life -sickness. The business people are failing by selling inferior products at superior prices and not partnering with the Government to create jobs and contributing to the elevation of our society through community development initiatives. The banks are failing with predatory lending and crippling interest rates. The NGOs are ineffective. The media is failing by not asking the tough questions and becoming organs or sympathizers of political parties. The parents are failing by not partnering with the teachers to discipline their children and teach them the true value of citizenship, value of spirituality and value of being decent human beings. The voters are failing by not holding politicians to a high standard. They are part of the problem by accepting bribes and expecting all of life problems to be solved by a politician. And finally neighbors no longer know each other. We have lost a basic respect of treating people how we want to be treated. We have not reached out the family who are in need, to the children who walk the streets, to the homeless in need of food, to the elderly that need assistance…


And before you say, this does not apply to me, I do not fit this description, we need to take a long hard critical look at the way we conduct the business of Belize and ask ourselves…How have I contributed to the demise of Belize and what can I do to change the direction of impending failure?


One thought on “Grade “F” – by Aria Lightfoot

  1. All of these assertions are true and any one of them is problematic and stymies true growth. Together, they become overwhelming obstacles. When looked through the lens of post-colonialism, however, the entire situation makes absolute sense. It is unfortunate, that in our zeal to become independent, we attempted to distance ourselves from all vestiges of anything resembling dependence and frankly, we didn’t have our big girl panties on. We hacked at the branches and tried to kill that tree but our roots were too deep and eventually, we were once again shadowed by colonialism’s canopy. On the outset, we appeared independent but what needed to become most independent didn’t. That, was our way of thinking. We are still waiting for someone to do it for us; we are still waiting for the second coming – a saviour who takes away all this chaos and solves our problems for us. How is that working for you? Daddy Colonialism and Mommy Commonwealth has done us a great disservice. They have created a situation of learned helplessness. The British Empire treated their subjects like children, incapable of making good decisions, incapable of being self-sufficient and in an attempt to break away, we cut off our noses to spite our faces. We have to revisit the impact of colonialism if we are to find the strength to overcome its devastation. Instead of being ashamed and embarking on denial to the point of destroying our heritage and history (referring to rewriting history or eliminating it completely to actually tearing down parks, bridges, monuments, anything that was British, under the guise of renovating/remodeling), we need to embrace that part of ourselves. Like it or not, they are our ancestors and I really think our great great grandparents would not appreciate that we are not only denying the British presence but we deny their struggle and survival too. We are survivors of the rape of our country, our people. We can’t pretend it didn’t happen or else we will never disembark from this self destructive path we find ourselves careening down. Let’s stop blaming the victims but lets also stop being the victims.

    -Fayemarie, the other half of Twocanview

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