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PAST GOVERNMENTS STOLE OPPORTUNITIES

PAST GOVERNMENTS STOLE OPPORTUNITIES
December 11
10:39 2018

BY:  Nefreterry Marin, –  

The blatant corruption Belize has suffered since Independence has put our economic development, ethical values and justice at very high risk and has undermined our entire democratic process.

The poor and the working class are the ones at the bottom of the destabilized, crumbling pyramid economy, created by corrupt politicians. It is they who suffer the harmful daily effects of political corruption. It is they who we must now protect.

Due to very bad economic planning and investments, Government has become the largest employer in Belize. Our poor depend on Government for jobs, for housing, for health care, education; this makes the poor, the young, the elderly and our women most vulnerable to corruption.

Massive investments in infrastructure development with over 20% kick-backs to various ministers, disgraceful concrete quality and lack of honest supervision are all due to political corruption.

Corruption in Government, along with transnational crimes, have been damaging to Belize’s reputation abroad and have created obstacles to local and foreign direct investment and to our global competitiveness in the tourism and agriculture industries. Government has ultimately destroyed the development and upliftment of our people.

Public money should be for government services and projects. Taxes collected, bonds issued, income from government investments and grants for poverty alleviation are meant for social projects, education, hospitals and clinics, roads, the supply of electricity and water and to ensure the personal security and safety of our citizens. Yet our people are being deprived of all of these.

Corruption and bad management practices have seen our national wealth and economic opportunities go to only 30 families in the country. Our elected officials have grown accustomed to channelling the people’s money away from such projects and the very people most dependent on government for support. They grew accustomed to depriving our poor so they can sustain lavish lifestyles and their only investment in the poor is buying our votes on Election Day, Christmas cheers, cheap school bags, etc. These types of corrupt actions are their main investment into their sustained and secured political careers.

While they have robbed our people of their integrity and have effectively made beggars of a once hardworking, proud people – what is much more alarming are the increasing levels of poverty and income inequality.

Corruption has reduced the spending power of our country by reducing the economic resources at the disposal of the working class and the poor.
If Belize continues to vote in the same corrupt people that have failed us, it will worsen poverty directly by reducing access to goods and services because our wages are stagnant and the price of fuel and goods have skyrocketed.

Corruption also affects our people directly when they are unable to pay the bribes demanded of them and so, are denied basic justice, for example at the hands of the Police and the Courts where the Government does not provide legal representation for the poor; or at the Lands Department where we must pay bribes and kiss politicians asses, offer our young daughters and sons for sexual favours to ministers of government in order to get a piece of land that should have been ours in the first place! This is the ugly reality of our people, and we need to stop it at once!

Much corruption is experienced also at the local government levels. This happens when contracts are awarded for sector projects such as road construction, parks, and such municipal projects. Contracts are awarded to cronies and family members of politicians without calling for tenders. Several contractors (whose names are withheld on their request) whom I have questioned said that funds are lost due to kickbacks demanded by politicians, even before contracts are granted. When asked about wastage of materials and poor quality of concrete by the contractors and their men, they said that they must cut corners because of the high percentages of bribes they must pay out to politicians.

Our people suffer in all aspects through these acts of corruption. Remember that these are loans for road construction, and not only do we have to pay back in cash; but the potholes and rough roads along with low quality concrete on roads and bridges is also costing us damage to property and loss of lives in the increased number of traffic accidents.

It is, indeed, our frequent experience to come across roads which have been recently built or repaired, being partly washed away or full of pot-holes after a shower immediately afterwards. This necessitates the diversion of funds to their repairs all the time – funds which could have been used for new investments or better increments to our military, police or teachers. These monies could be used in education or health care instead of filling the already overflowing coffers of our elected officials.

Belizeans – we must decide and decide fast. Who do you love more? Your corrupt politicians who feed you with $100.00 on Election Day and starve you for the next five years? Or do you love your family and your children?

It is not hard to turn our country around. It’s rather easy. All you need to do is put your X in the right place on Election Day and let the chips fall where they will.

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