REPORT #394 September 2000

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

(where will the new campaign end?)

Kenrick Francisco wrote a very articulate letter to the Ministry of Education through the Reporter newspaper of Sept. 10th., 2000. Mainly his complaint was the lack of assistance rural teachers in primary schools were receiving from the Department of Education in training programs and qualification type tertiary level institutions in the way of GRANTS, and SCHOLARSHIPS for undergraduate, postgraduate degrees in their education field. The same could be said of ALL the rural six district primary schools. About 288 of them in total.

Most often primary school teachers are children themselves. Barely out of primary school for a few years themselves sometimes. Even the more elderly are still basically self taught, what they know. Teaching of primary school is more trial and error than anything else in Belize. The statistics show the dismal showing of the rural six district primary schools from this lack of support from an absentee centralized education department and government.

While there are no local school boards in the six rural districts of Belize, there is now the Association of Village Councils. It would be helpful if those foreign donors of such type GRANTS for help to poverty and education, would funnel some GRANT money for training of teachers to the Village Councils directly, to see what they can arrange in the way of teacher training? Certainly, the Centralized Government concept has failed dismally in Belize. It just may be, with a little assistance in learning how to write and handle GRANTS, that the National Village Council Association, might be able to contract out to independent NGO's and groups of educational professionals various local training courses in their particular division of rural districts, something more regular and productive for teacher training programs? It seems from Belizean history, both colonial and independent over the last 60 years, that a centralized methodology of education department training has failed to meet the challenges. They seem more concerned with payrolls, a few supplies for the easiest to reach schools and regulating the education format, without the ability to make any sort of performance upgrades in rural primary school teaching and learning programs. Congratulations to Kenrick Francisco for a well written articulated letter of the problems facing rural district primary school education.

Meb Cutlack in a letter to the editor of the Reporter of Sept. 10th., 2000 explained the latest personality attacks against Belizeans debating viewpoints on party controlled government policy.

It seems CENSORSHIP is now official government PUP political party policy? In recent weeks there was a verbal attack on the editor of the San Pedro Sun in that tourist town by a National PUP representative, with the usual threats and intimidation efforts to silence free speech and debate on a new land development policy. That attack took place in the local Post Office before many public witnesses, it was reported.

Meb Cutlack points out that the Government spokesperson speaking for the Cabinet PUP party officials recently published inflammatory articles as official public party policy in the PARTY ORGAN newspaper, the Belize Times.

The article was vitriolic and racial, it is quoted. The government PUP Cabinet apparently are taking square aim at people presenting debating viewpoints that may be contrary to local Cabinet Minister's pet projects. Whether the pet projects are going to be full of kickbacks, backsheesh, or deposits in numbered offshore bank accounts is not known. But it is suspected from contemporary history with the PUP political party, this is probably behind the vitriolic attacks. In Belizean history, the PUP usually are effective for about two years of their five year terms and the last three years of their five year term become escalating war on perceived enemies of the private cabinet fiefdoms of various ministers practicing nefarious under the table bribery and malfeascence. Just check the newspaper archives at the National Library Service over the decades for details. The PUP party have controlled the government now for about two years and the next three years is expected to see a steady tempo of increased suppression of free speech, the silencing of dissenters and those wanting to conduct a public debate on development issues.

Milosevic of Serbia destroyed the beautiful working model of the Federation of Yugoslavia with his similar tactics, that actually degenerated into the slaughter and genocide of millions of his own citizens to retain power and the corrupt proceeds in foreign bank accounts of their siphoning off great sums of money in the Balkans. The Federation was destroyed by such actions.

In Belize, we do not have a Federation of Districts, just the autocratic one party model with no different levels of government layers and various checks and balances in the system. So it is much easier to reward friends with BAKSHEESH and punish enemies with loss of jobs, Grants, and favors in the system, even false imprisonment, court cases and police beatings were the norm in past decades. George Price the past PUP party leader was a past master of this type of governing and polarized Belizean society for decades into blue and red colored camps of party flags, of tyranny and fear during his rule, forcing thousands of Belizean citizens to shut up in fear, suffer, or to migrate to other countries.

Apparently, the government spokesperson for the PUP political party in power are upping the ante in their newspaper organ, with phrases such as "These people... must now be put into our cross hairs as enemies of the state". These are the usual PUP party organ articles inciting the gullible party faithful and those in the police and civil service who want fast promotions to curry favor with the PUP party in dictatorial power, which will start the usual chain reaction of lower level bureaucratic victimization of those perceived to be in opposition to elected representatives in the cabinet, whose actions cannot suffer the light of free debate and exposure.

With the smear campaigns escalating, I suspect YOURS TRULY and this forum will soon become another item for personality attacks by the PUP political party huge cabinet.

It's a shame it has to be this way, but one cannot put this down anymore to the actions of an ignorant, racially prejudiced person in high levels of government, or sensitive cabinet minister trying to hide stupidity, or unwilling to listen to opposition viewpoints in debate to find a public consensus. The same names keep coming up over the last two years in the PUP party controlling the government of Belize and no effort to rein them in has apparently been made. In fact, the smear campaigns are going into new gear with a higher profile level of 'approved' PUP party actions, that can only be deemed to have OFFICIAL backing in the party organ.

One has to keep in mind in this new Belize and new World, the fast means of communication. The example of the Rwandan political party orchestrated massacre of half their citizens over in Africa comes to mind. I don't think that will happen in Belize, but the path to division of the country into two camps of hard line opposition is just a step away. With the new PUP party intolerance, accompanied by a wider world exposure to examples and news and oodles of guns and automatic weapons available in California and coming into Belize; these type of actions of George Price's generation can only sink into guerilla war, political assassinations like in our neighbors, Guatemala and Colombia. I'd hate to see this scenario happen, but we are sure headed that way. I don't think Belizean citizens for the most part will sit still and be victimized into silence anymore! I suspect they will fight back, making things worse. The Chinese central party communists are facing the same problem with the widespread use of the internet in China. Belize badly needs a more geographical representative consensual government of the six districts with a cabinet acting like a cooperative Managing Committee, instead of cabinet minister fiefdoms with rule of decree.

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