By Gilroy Usher, Sr.
“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved.” – William Jennings Bryan.
In his Independence Day address Prime Minister Barrow enthusiastically stated that his UDP administration will soon introduce electric vehicles to the nation. In getting that initiative under way the PM said, “BEL will lead the way, embarking shortly on a plot project to introduce such vehicles to its own Belize City fleet. The company has already secured funds for a study on how best to roll out the charging stations that will be needed to service the electric vehicles.”
The announcement shows that the PM and his Ministers are out of touch with the needs of the Belizean people for a better life.
Electric vehicles for the top management of the government-owned utility company and no doubt for ministers and their cronies will cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Nevertheless, like the $90M write-off of land tax owed by large wealthy land owners, electric cars at taxpayers’ expense will only benefit a small group of persons who can afford to live the lifestyle of the rich while the poor get poorer.
Instead of squandering millions of dollars to accommodate the lifestyle of a handful well-to-do persons, the people would like the administration to use those funds to reduce the high cost of electricity. High electricity cost is a tremendous burden on homes and businesses. Every three months the cost of electricity gets higher for hundreds of users, although the average use of the same number of appliances remain the same.
Belizeans want the UDP administration to use some of the millions it has budged for electric cars, to extend electricity in Pen Rd Extension and other fast developing areas of Belize City. Such undertaking is a necessity. Presently the lives of scores of families in developing areas of our two cities and towns are in grave danger. That’s because such families can only access electricity with a network of extension cords and joined wires dangerously near to the water and on sticks.In Port Loyola, Collet, Lake I, and Freetown divisions in Belize City as well other urban areas of the country, families are tired of travelling on London bridges through swamps and grassy areas infested with snakes to reach their homes. Their message to G.o.B. is simple. Use some of the millions of dollars slated for electric vehicles to replace these London bridges with proper all-weather roads. That’s what poor people care about. Electric vehicles are meaningless words to poor people, who have to worry about providing their families with food, shelter, education, and other basic things every day.
Belizeans are literally crying out for the UDP administration to use a part of the huge budget for electric vehicles to acquire land for the people in the extension areas of Southside Belize City. Those acquired lands should then be filled where necessary and given to local residents as lots to build their homes. Our tax dollars are being used to enable the privilege few to enjoy electric vehicles, why can’t our tax dollars also be used to provide us, ordinary Belizeans, with house lots that are filled to build our homes? People are tired of paying high, house rent and living in overcrowded homes and yards. We need our own place, Master.
The high cost of fuel is another huge burden on the people of this country. At almost twelve per gallon of gasoline, we are paying the highest cost for fuel in the region. Show us the love, G.o.B. Use some of the millions of dollars budget for electric vehicles to reduce the high cost of fuel and address our other concerns.