REPORT #214 March 2000
SOCIAL PROBLEMS FOR GIRLS, POVERTY AND SOLUTIONS IN BELIZE!


Produced by the Belize Development Trust

The values of different ethnic groups within Belize vary. While the Spanish or Mestizo family girls on Caye Caulker do not go swimming off the end of the pier anymore in full blown dresses and slips, they are still fairly modest in all. The normal post puberty experimentation goes on, but getting pregnant is not usually one of the things they do, no matter how poverty stricken they may be and some are indeed. They are aware that sexual intercourse makes babies. But like all of history, when a girl wants to catch a young man and nail him down, she may get pregnant to make it happen.

Each ethnic group in the country of Belize has its own value system, or traditions. None of them are exactly like they are in the port town of Belize City. This is predominantly a Creole population. The Creoles have their own traditional ethnic values when it comes to families and sex. Most of these problems we hear about, are reflective only of the port town Creole population. It is not so widespread nationwide in other ethnic groups with differing customs. Because of the concentration of the media because of advertising, and government ads paying for media, most of the publishing is done in the old port town. So we hear about these Creole problems the most. This is not the actual reflection of the 288 to 300 communities nationwide, just one town predominantly reflecting Creole mores and traditions.

One should not judge the problems of Belize the nation, simply by the splurge of articles and news coming out of the old port town Belize City. While they think their values and problems reflect all of Belize and they are Belize, in fact they are only one town of a dozen towns and ove 250 villages.

Creole port town social, family and poverty problems are theirs. Sometimes a few cases similar to those in the port town exist in other communities, but usually the extended family system handles it. With the expansion of the growth of the port town population environs, the problems they are having with family and breakdown of poverty groups in ghettos is a localized Town Board problem. Not necessarily a national problem. You don't hear of any of these "National" structures of the government like social services, poverty training programs for girls and such taking place in almost any of the over 250 villages of the nation of Belize. The government services literally do not exist outside the port town, except with isolated exception in some of the district towns in a very cursory minor manner.

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