Friday, August 18, 2017

Thinking Out Loud

Friday, April 14, 2017, 17:27
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By: Kevin Bernard   At the end of this week we will celebrate Easter, a much anticipated long weekend. For many of us Belizeans, it is a time for merry-making, partying, drinking and just enjoying four days away from work. For others, it is just about getting away with family and friends. But Easter is much more than that, especially to those of us raised in the Christian faith. It is said to be the time of Jesus’ resurrection, a spiritual time for many of us. I urge all of you, then, to party if you will, but spend at least a moment reflecting on our relationship with God, and for sure, spend a moment counting our many blessings because as a people, we are blessed.   I believe that just as we reflect on your relationship with God, it is also important to think about our roles as Belizeans, as members of the tight-knit Orange Walk community in particular, but as residents of this country we all love very much. There are so many things which are not going as they should, so many things that need to be changed. I have said it before and I will say it as many times as necessary. We need to get away from the divisive politics and we need to start looking at what is good for us as a people, and good for the country regardless of Party colour or party affiliation.   I was angry last week when it was announced by Minister of Education Patrick Faber that he would take $1M dollars and give it to teachers who did not go on strike in October 2016. I was not, and am not angry with the teachers who will get that money. We are living in difficult times. Of course, I wish with all my heart that those teachers would refuse that money and petition the Minister to instead use it to fix schools urgently in need of repair, or to provide schools with materials critical to education, or to fund feeding programs, or so many other things that need attention. But I am a realist. These are hard times, and very few persons would refuse their share of $1M just before Easter. But as a people – red, blue, green, yellow, whatever - -we need to stop this wasteful spending. Seriously! We are not a first world country with coffers bulging as they once were with Petrocaribe monies. In fact, just a couple weeks ago we were told, all of us, that we need to pay more taxes because the government has no money! Where in the hell is this $1M coming from?   While that $1M will make a few teachers happy for Easter, it is all of us taxpayers who will need to pay for that $1M. All of us.   Because Orange Walk is always my priority, I cannot help but think about what could have been done with $1M, or even half of that million…how many streets we could have upgraded or paved, how much infrastructure could have been refurbished. I think it is an outright shame, and I am angry at the UDP’s representative in Orange Walk East, Elodio Aragon, who seems to have no problem with that money being used as a one-time political handout.   I look around at all that we have achieved over the past months, all the streets that have been paved, and all the streets that are even now being paved. I look at all the work being done not for PUP, or for UDP, but for our people because at the end of the day we are one people. And to tell you the truth I am saddened by what is happening in our country. Even though these challenging times affect ALL of us, we are way too divided to stand together and stand united. Even though corruption affects ALL of us, we are way too divided to stand together against it. Even though abuse and misappropriation and mismanagement affect all of us, we are way too divided to fix those things. Many of our people are blinded to the many wrongs taking place because of party colour.   We need a change. We need to stop thinking Party, and start thinking about what is right and wrong, for us and for this country we love. As I prepare to celebrate this Easter with my loved ones, it is my prayer that we can somehow find a way to heal the political divide and chart one path of development.   As we all enjoy these days of Easter holidays, be safe and be at peace. I wish you all much contentment. There are dark days ahead.
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