Charting a Path to Self-Determination by: Aria Lightfoot



I was very transparent with my support for the current Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, during the 2015 elections and I continue to support him.  I believe that the current PM is the leader who is poised to put Belize on the right path to self-determination.

Belize is a young democracy compared to many nations in the world and unlike many nations, we did not fight for our Independence; on the contrary, Independence was transitional. Belize was slowly provided decision-making powers through decades of indoctrination after centuries of colonialization- the right to vote, the right to self-government and eventually Independence. Not only did we not fight for Independence, there was significant opposition to the notion of Independence.

On September 21st, 1981, Prince Michael of Kent ceremoniously declared Belize Independent and Belize was re-born, with Stockholm syndrome, celebrating independence, Columbus Day, asking God to save the Queen and idolizing the paper and coins with images of the Royal Family. The Belize legal and political systems were and are orchestrated to perpetuate the British Empire- a class tier structure promulgating elitism. Independent Belize assumed the same political and legal system, the same Queen as head of state and judges with white wigs and black/brown faces. Independence in words only, but quite dependent militarily and financially on England, the US and EU. Belizeans were never given the opportunity to think outside the British box nor develop laws for Belizean cultures. Belize’s history books and constitution were pre-written; our inherited educational system engineers self–hate and brainwashes us to uphold Eurocentric idealism.  Like Pontius Pilate, England washed it hands of Belize on September 21st and kicked us out the proverbial nest.

It is ironic that after the first world perpetuated the worst human rights violation against African and Indigenous races; after they raped countries like Belize of its resources and brain power; after they have burdened Belize with predatory loans and investors; they now create laws to tell countries like Belize what constitutes corruption. Sadly, we live in a world of realities and not necessarily justice. Justice is an abstract concept simply because those who suffer at the hands of injustices never really experience justice. We cannot bring back the dead, we cannot undue the victimization or colonialization; so we create this idealism of justice which are promises to never repeat the sins of our ancestors. We create ceremonies that honor men and women who can no longer breathe; console ourselves that justice will prevail and then ignore the needed fixtures to undo the centuries of derailment.

I know…. I went off the deep end, but I only mention things so that people can understand that corruption does not have one definition nor is it one thing, entity or person; corruption does not exist in a vacuum, corruption has enablers. The government is not the only entity that should be held accountable for corruption as there are too many organizations and individuals in Belize who are corrupted and lack of necessary oversight and accountability…

Political Parties

Medical Profession

Insurance Companies

Legal Profession


Public Officers /Local and Central Government

Religious Organizations

Business Sector



The People of Belize

The cries against corruption have reached fever pitch and I applaud those who have the courage to speak out. People are fearful to speak out and those who decide to openly share their opinions are subjected to ridicule, accusations of ulterior motives, and even bodily threats. Corruption has created a moral decay in Belize. The ill-gained wealth; the rampant drug use and facilitation of drug shipments; the theft of public funds; the lack of a functioning criminal legal system; the media that sensationalizes and misinforms; the business sector that cheats the state of taxes and sells the masses inferior goods at expensive rates; the attorneys who undermine the laws with loopholes; the insurance companies that drop their clients when they make claims; the realtors who facilitate illegal land transactions; the doctors who treat the wealthy and let the poor die; the public officers who accept money to facilitate illegal deals; the police officers who selectively enforce the laws; the churches that allow pedophiles to rip away our children’s innocence; the political parties that field corrupted candidates; and now the teachers using innocent children as pawns…

The Belize National Teachers Union broke away from salary negotiations under the umbrella organization, National Trade Union Congress of Belize, and unilaterally, without consultations of any other affected bodies or citizens outside their membership, decided to take a very shortsighted, non-strategic stab at corruption. The BNTU made eight demands to address corruption. To many the cause is noble, but obviously these eight demands that BNTU is making does not even begin to address what ails Belize. The BNTU’s demands are very simplistic, broad and would be an ineffective solution to corruption. Mr. Elrington, may have been harsh in words, but the truth sometimes is a very bitter pill to swallow. In Belize we don’t like truths, we prefer to hold on to unsubstantiated and poorly examined and ill-informed beliefs. BNTU’s frustration is real, but their demands are knee jerk, emotional and poorly conceived. BNTU’s fight is more passion than reason at the cost of our children’s education.

Without a doubt government requires oversight, limitations and public trust. The problem with Belize legal/political framework is that it is not designed for oversight. When our very Constitution allows “ministerial discretion” with no scope or limitation then our system is greatly flawed and most of the solutions must be at the constitutional level. The solutions must be comprehensive, well researched, formulated, presented and executed.

The opposition has seized on this popular but ill-conceived advocacy because they know that the demands are elementary to a very complex issue. I don’t believe that the opposition, or any entity that has benefited from corruption truly want to activate real change in Belize. It would mean that they would have to start looking inwardly, and start cleaning house. Imagine if every organization would present a plan as to how they would tackle corruption internally, it would be a real step in the right direction.

Belize has devolved into a Trump-like America, where decency and respect is the exception, rather than the norm.   We prefer to accuse, insult and demean rather than dialogue. We prefer noise to solutions and we refuse to listen to reason when it doesn’t align with our stance. You would be lying if you claim you have not contributed to this corruptive environment; simply turning a blind eye or remaining silent are all contributive factors, being disrespectful and undermining are corruptive behavior, ignoring truths are corruptive behavior.

The solutions to corruption have to be a concerted effort involving the sitting government, the opposition, unions, social partners and citizens of Belize. Belize’s evolution to corruption-free self-determination can only be done with a sitting government with the constitutional authority to introduce the legislative changes in the House of Representatives. In the 35 years of Independence, Belizeans have heard many promises from every opposition that they would tackle corruption, only to be ignored once power is gained. Belize is at a crossroad and after 35 years of poor policy decisions and outright theft of public goods, services and funds, this is the first time in Belize’s history that a sitting government is open to systematic changes. I believe that the current Prime Minister will make the right decisions with contribution and dialogue and I challenge Belizeans to offer solutions rather than posturing and rhetoric.