“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
I guess my concern about Belize’s political culture is this persistent message telling Belizeans to ignore the past actions of political parties or just pretend the past does not exist. Focus on today. Undoubtedly, a necessary message when the pool of candidates remains the same. We just change seating positions in the House of Representatives. Election Day should be renamed Ground Hog Day.
I can no longer advocate going forward in Belize without looking back and taking a serious account and evaluation of our past. In my past writings I had advocated the present party focus on today’s issues and stop blaming the past administration, but today I am not too sure. Maybe I have been oblivious to the entire “super” bond debate. I did a bit of research and read some online opinion pieces. The payment schedule for the next 17 years is quite alarming. This year alone, Belize must pay 65 million dollars towards INTEREST ONLY. Next year, Belize payment will increase to 95 million dollars and will be accredited to INTEREST ONLY until 2019. It is truly troubling that we would even agree to these debilitating and impossible terms. Even more troubling is that we continue to re-elect the same people without a thoughtful process. The payment this year will do absolutely NOTHING to offset the 1.1 BILLION dollars borrowed. Our creditor will continue benefiting from interest only payments for the next 5 years or so. In fact, based on the payment schedule, we will be paying roughly 800(eight hundred) million dollars in pure interest, before we even start chipping away at the 1.1 BILLION dollars loan.
I worked in the foreclosure industry in the United States for over 5 years. Most people who became victims of the foreclosure crisis were victims of the same predatory lending. People making modest salaries, were allowed to borrow money to buy extravagant homes with an interest only rate for 5 years. It appealed to people’s dreams and aspirations and little to do with their reality. It was great living in a 5 bedroom house, with a three car garage and a swimming pool, but after 5 years elapsed, interest and principal payments became due and families were crippled and destroyed. Today, I live in one of the worst US States affected by the crisis. I can drive through many neighborhoods boasting extravagant empty houses, standing as white elephant reminders of very bad decisions. Is that the future this bond will have on Belize?
As I read about the “super” bond, I realize that we need to look at Belize holistically and outside the tainted glass of the political parties. I need to know what caused such a bad decision to be made? Who benefited? Where is the evidence of 1.1 billion dollars pumped into our economy? Why does my country look so dilapidated? Why has the poverty rates increased so dramatically? How many of our families have fallen victims to our leaders’ bad decisions? And once again, Who benefited from this 1.1 billion dollar loan?
Our spiraling fragile economy has more to do with the consequences of thirty years of politically bad decisions, wanton corruption and a refusal or maybe timidity of our people to demand accountability. How many people today are sitting in silence while the destruction of our society continues unabated? I have become apathetic almost disgusted with political party faithful members, who would allow our country to self destruct, as long as their team blue or red wins. Our children will suffer for generations because we lack oversight and foresight in Belize. The gap between rich and poor will continue to grow and crime will be unstoppable until we appreciate that voting is more than just a popularity contest. Tough decisions need to be made and we need leaders with unquestionable integrity.
In our very homes, the success of any family is a direct result of years of conditioning and environmental factors. The well being of families depend on money coming in and out of the home. As a family, one cannot go around giving away everything to charity; ignoring bills; allowing the home to fall apart; taking care of brothers and friends homes before taking care of responsibilities. Families do not allow children to run amuck. Good families set rules and guidelines; make sound decisions for their children’s future such as savings; investing in education and ensuring the well being of that child. With that said, why don’t we have the same expectations for politicians? Our politicians are racking up bills we can’t pay, hooking up their family and friends and becoming super wealthy instead of taking care of the nations needs. As for investments in the future, the future is a super bond crippling payment which is eroding our economy and eventually will destabilize the very fabric of our society.
Belizeans, we need to sit down, stand up and open our eyes. We can no longer function on empty promises and corruptive behavior. Take off those party lenses and start making demands for accountability and have expectations for integrity. I urge you to be proactive in your community. I foresee a bankrupt state and devaluation in our future. Do it now, otherwise generations of children’s future will be grim as our country struggle to tackle this debt.
Please read some opinion pieces below regarding the “super” bond. The bond was signed in 2005 by the then PUP government. The PUP formed the government from 1998-2008.