The current impasse with the informal exports of cattle and other commodities into Peten, Guatemala, unless resolved, will cause a fundamental impact on our domestic food security. In order to understand the reason for this informal trade, a review of the Partial Scope Agreement with Guatemala is important.
In this Age of Isolation, it means that in our own nation of Belize, we must reinvent ourselves. It means that Government, political parties, the private sector, and civil society must put aside petty squabbles and join hands in crafting a new nation that can operate and thrive self-sufficiently inside our proverbial national isolation ward.
As a people, locally and globally, we must become aware and remember our humanity and the need for us to ensure that all nations and everyone has enough, and that too much will do us no good if nobody else has any.
While we take for granted that the ubiquitous corner Chiney Shop, open anytime, is convenient, this shift in retail control has led to the virtual demise of traditional distribution channels and has significantly impacted the health of our population, taxation, building standards, and the environment.
Perhaps it is our pirate DNA deep in our memory, inherited from the very rulers that left us the legacy of corruption that makes us complacent, or perhaps our voices are misdirected. It’s about time we wake up and as a community we embrace a no-tolerance policy. This is our country now it no longer belongs to the colonial powers and we must set it right.
This problem, however goes far beyond just the protection of human rights, and goes to the heart of our society’s tailspin into the chasm of hate, divisiveness and mean-spirited, now using easily accessible and sharable media as a tool of harm against our fellow man, women, child, often in the name of political agitation, religion, or a warped sense of personal satisfaction.
The asymmetry of our interaction is one of the root causes of the stark difference in development between Belize and Chetumal; Belizeans buy higher-priced taxed goods and services in a welcoming mainstream municipal economy, while Mexicans buy low cost and untaxed goods and services in an ad hoc zone, isolated from our mainstream economy.
This segment of the economy, not in the shadows but open for all to see, represents a parallel existence of a separate culture, interacting with Belize purely for the profit that it brings, minus the burdens of tax, crime, or financial controls that the rest of Belize bears.