It would interest our readers to know that for seven of the last eight months the Southside of Belize City has remained under a State of Emergency (SOE). This means that the rights and freedoms of those citizens have been suppressed, because of the authorities’ inability to curb crime. This last SOE has been introduced as the punishment for two recent murders. In the same period of time there have been murders both in the North and South of the country but those have not triggered similar SOE in those areas. We have heard our Commissioner of Police call troubled youth “little monsters” and blame parents for the lack of discipline in their children. It bears a strong resemblance to the lack of discipline in the Police Department where repeat offenders are allowed to continue serving with but a slap on the wrist and little if any administrative action. Over the same course of time we have witnessed many instances where the Police Department that should be “Working in Partnership with the community for a better Belize,” actually infringes with increasing violence and impunity the basic human rights of those they should serve and protect.
We are left to wonder then if indeed the Southside of the city suffers from an acute and chronic case of racial and social profiling. They have been hardest hit by the economic hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NHI has had its funds drastically reduced and so services have been limited for those who can least afford it, on the Southside. The education assistance for children moving from primary school to high school has been reduced by a third, again affecting those students who need it the most. There has been no effort to attract industries to the area that would provide stable and permanent employment for the residents of Southside. Neither has there been any program that offers certified technical training for jobs currently available in the job market.
A few days ago the member for Pickstock, after twelve and a half years, suddenly had an attack of conscience. He admitted that his government had done nothing to alleviate the situation of the people of Southside which include the people of Pickstock. We would like to remind the honourable member that he sat in Cabinet for these twelve long years and did little else for Picstock but scratch his… ahm beard. However as a member of Cabinet he bears collective responsibility for all they did and more to the point all they failed to do.
For years the PUP have clamored for reforms that would bring us closer to social justice. Those reforms include the approaches to at risk communities like the Southside and also the reforms and better equipment of the Police Department that would bring back trust for a department which does not have the confidence of the public because it is rife with corruption, cover ups and impunity. While his moment of clarity came just a tad late, Minister Elrington’s statement was a damning confirmation of the UDP. “It has to be some failure Madame Speaker on the part of government…it is our responsibility to make sure those children are well cared for and looked after.”
This is the first time we are in agreement with the member from Pickstock. He and his UDP have been a failure to the poor and marginalized of the old capital especially. The government has failed the people of the Southside, and now they are being punished simply because of the geographic area where they reside. Just this week a talk show host on Hablemos in the West summed it up best. Marissa Alamilla said “PUP always look out for the poor people!” It is with people centered initiatives like the raising of the minimum wage to be on par with a living wage that monies will be directed specifically to Belizeans who most need it.
The UDP gave tax breaks to the rich land owners, let us not forget the $90M in land taxes that were forgiven by the UDP. Almost immediately a loan was received in the same amount, on the one hand debt forgiveness to rich landowners and then a $90M loan we must all pay through taxes. The PUP believes in social justice, it is one of the founding tenets of the party. Poverty, injustice, corruption, impunity have no place in our society. We must all work together to build a Belize that works for everyone!!! #planBelize…Everybody fi Win….Todos Ganamos