REID BETWEEN THE LINES
Friday, January 27, 2012, 14:22
Our beautiful little “jewel” of Belize sits strategically located at the crossroads between Central America and the Caribbean. For a long time Belize was touted as a possible bread basket for the entire Caribbean and for even much of the outer region. We have eggs in many baskets, including citrus, banana, sugar, fisheries and aquaculture, tourism and now oil. We are blessed with prime, arable land and pristine marine resources. We boast a wide variety of exotic wildlife, (probably more per square mile than anywhere else on the planet), flora and fauna galore, (over 4,000 different species of native flowering plants), a mystic and richly rustic Mayan heritage, and I can go on and on and on. In fact, with your permission and indulgence, I will.
“70 percent of the country is under some kind of forest cover, and almost half of our primary forest is still standing”. Twenty six percent or roughly 2.6 million acres of Belizean land and sea is preserved within a total of close to a hundred natural reserves. At last count, some “700 species of trees and several hundred species of other plants” along with fish and birdlife as varied and plentiful as anywhere this side of paradise. “The pamphlet entitled “Checklist of the Birds of Belize” lists over 530 species including more than 200 migratory birds from North America who winter in the tropics”. Just a tad bid more if you don’t mind.
Our famous barrier reef, rivaled only by the Great Barrier Reef of Australia is home to some of the most exotic fish, other underwater life forms and spectacular coral formations. It offers incomparably scenic snorkeling and scuba diving. Lauded as one of the most diverse ecosystems of the world, Charles Darwin once described Belize’s Barrier Reef as “a most remarkable reef”. Now bear with me folks, this is not a tourism promotion, I’m getting to something here. The fact is that we are blessed with something very, very special; Belize is truly heavenly.
Then there are the people! Belize is a melting pot of different cultures all co-existing, if not fully harmoniously, then certainly without the type of strife and racial discord found in other places; at least to this point! Mark my words here though, for if this current administration continues the current and oh so asinine policies, all this will be likely to change in the blink of an eye!
For many years, the UDP and their predecessor the NIP, tried to convince the Belizean people that the “Father of our Nation” George Price was trying to sell or give Belize away to Guatemala. They clung desperately to the cloak of colonialism and it was not without much prying and wresting that we were able to free ourselves from the nest and fly; albeit on shaky wings. Given that no nation is ever truly independent, Belize has not done too very badly after thirty years. We have all our territories intact, our border is anything but artificial and we have maintained our sovereignty. Can we now say that they were telling us a lie?
Recent developments though, have left the begging of a very serious question. “Who is really putting this Jewel up for sale?” The blatant transgression of rules and regulations to garner votes by the UDP has left many Belizeans; blue, independent and even red, sick to the stomach. Thousands of immigrants, the majority from Guatemala, are being ushered in, processed, nationalized and registering to vote in our upcoming elections. Many if not most are not going through the necessary and mandatory vetting process. Police records and medical forms are soaped through, foregoing all normal and vital processing procedures. Citizens are being force-ripened and given nationality, in less time than it would take to reach from conception to birth while the rest of us must wait a full eighteen years. The natives have true reason to be getting restless.
There is a grave danger in what Dean Barrow and his hapless band of dodo birds are doing here. We already have a record 23 percent unemployment rate, over- crowded classrooms and a heavily burdened social services network. The Prime Minster has admitted to paying as much as $50,000 per week to local gangs to “hold it down”. To his credit, it has been somewhat effective but the question is, how long will we be able to sustain this? And what happens now if many of these new immigrants are themselves gang members or get recruited by the local dons? Have they heard of the dreaded MS-13?
What happens when our local homebred homeboys see these new citizens gobbling up the few jobs that exist? See them cutting down our forest reserves where we can’t even go. See them devouring our precious resources, eating anything that flies swims or runs. See them flooding our hospitals and health services with their infirmed. These are not highly qualified individuals. Folks, these are mainly unskilled, menial laborers. What in the hell are we doing here? Why was not a proper screening and vetting process not demanded and put in place here? There is going to be a very serious and completely different sociological noumenon at play here and it will have irreparable consequences and severe repercussions. The elections will be gone and decided but this problem will linger and will forever change our way of life and much for the worse.
There are those who claim that Belize needs numbers to grow. Really, how big would you like to get, and how quickly and how desperately? What are we willing to sacrifice for a few pennies more or in this case, a few votes more?
I started this article on a positive note and I would have loved to have maintained the same level of discourse throughout. These events would not permit however and life is real. This situation is troubling, it is concerning and it warrants serious discussions. I cry for you Belize, I cry for you!
Research taken from the following websites: http://www.turq.com/belize/belflora.html, http://www.belize.com/belize-sport-fishing.html#ixzz1kNEhGcaE
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