Thinking Out Loud

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By: Kevin Bernard

As I write this, we are coming to the end of 2018, and we prepare for whatever the New Year will bring. Many of us are setting goals, as we do every year. Some of us will want to lose weight, or gain weight. Others will resolve to stop drinking, or to party less and focus on family more. Others will determine to work harder, to make more money, to buy a car or build a house. Some of our resolutions are simple and easily achieved with determination. Others are complicated and complex, and will take more work.

Resolutions are personal things and are your business – but I will say this. If I’ve learned anything this year, it is that the family structure has become perhaps more important than it ever was – sacred even. I have seen way too much bad this past year caused by the breakdown of families. I think we have all seen too much grief and tragedy. So whatever your resolution – add another one in there somewhere. Hold tight to your loved ones. Resolve to be kinder to those around you. To guide your children in the proper direction and to show them good examples. Love them and nurture them, because family is everything. On a personal level, that is my resolution, and I invite you all to share it with me.

Every time we enter a new year, we do so with a spirit of hope. We always hope that things will be different, that things will be better. As a politician who cares about the people, I’ve come to realize that sometimes we sit back and wish for change, and cry out for change, but never make a move to make change happen. We always expect somebody else to do it.

I’ve watched on Facebook as hundreds and hundreds of Belizeans rant and rave about one thing or the other. On Facebook we condemn corruption and greed by our Ministers. On Facebook we are furious when there is a fuel increase, or an increase in some tax or the other, or an increase in our light bills. On Facebook we talk about standing up and taking to the streets whenever there is a scandal involving some Minister of the other, or some crony or the other, or whenever money goes missing from public coffers and ends up in somebody’s pocket.

But organize a demonstration, and five people will show up. That is how we Belizeans do it. And I firmly believe that it is for that reason that this Barrow administration keeps taking advantage of all of us. We have persons in office who have committed criminal acts and have faced no justice. And we complain on Facebook, but nowhere else.

That is why I will always hold the teachers of Belize in high regard – those teachers who regardless of political affiliation and regardless of victimization have taken to the streets to demand better governance. Yet, there are many teachers who stay home silent. And when the teachers march, too often they are alone – the other unions are silent, and our social partners sometimes seem like they’ve gone dormant.

In this New Year, let us do more than hope for change. Let us all demand the good governance we deserve. Let us all call for an end to corruption and greed in government. Let us call for them to put structures in place to limit their own power. Let us ALL call together for equal opportunities, for empowerment, for jobs, for a lower cost of living, for quality, affordable healthcare and education. We can do these things if we all stand together – but not on Facebook.

As we end this year, I join my Party Leader and People’s United Party in denouncing this foolishness about another increase in the cost of electricity. Haven’t our people been burdened by too much already? Look around, and you will see that Ministers and their friends and family and cronies have gotten rich and fat, while the quality of life of ‘normal’ Belizeans has gotten worse. We are tired of being taken for fools.

This year in his New Year message the Prime Minister promised that he has gotten funding for the paving of the Sarteneja/Progresso/San Estevan Road. Do you all know how many times we have heard this promise through the years? The Government had the money in hand and diverted it years ago. And now every year we have to listen to the same old promises.

Let us stand together for accountability and for better for all of us. This New Year, I wish all of us the courage to be the change that we all want to see, and the courage to get rid of those who have oppressed and victimized us for too long. Happy New Year.

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