Belize: 38 Years Since Independence,
But The People And Nation Still Remain Dependent
By: Wellington C. Ramos
Adjunct Professor History and Political Science
Our country of Belize received its independence from Great Britain on September the 21st 1981. Yet, many of our people are living in a state of dependency, our government keep borrowing money from several countries and institutions to survive making us more financially dependent and our nation’s independence is still haunted by the Guatemalan claim to our territory.
According to the Miriam Webster dictionary the word independence means “not dependent”, or not having to depend on anyone or anything else. It also means being strong and able to survive alone. Anything can be dependent or independent. We the Belizean people are educated and we know that we are not independent in reality because the definition is clear for us to see. Yet, we have failed to demand of our PUP and UDP governments, their plans for us to experience living with true independence. The failure to plan is planning to fail and that we have witnessed since September 1981 under these two political parties.
When the United States founding fathers were demanding their independence from Great Britain, they all assembled in Philadelphia in 1776 and wrote; “The Declaration of Independence”. At that time the British were against granting them their independence and had troops in their country to stop any activity for independence. In addition to writing that document, they assigned members of the convention with various tasks to prepare for war with Great Britain and to achieve their independence.
We were given our independence by Great Britain because the British Prime Minister at the time Margaret Thatcher, saw us a financial burden to them after they had exploited our country for a total of 343 years from 1638 to 1981. Not only did they exploit our country but they also enslaved some of our people and had them working free of cost as slaves until slavery was abolished on August 1st 1834.
No compensation was received from the British for the labor that was provided through the use of force, unlawful imprisonment, human rights violations and genocide. Still, many of our people are still proud to be British and cherish the names they gave us which were not our original names. The purpose for achieving our independence, was for us as a people to forge our own identity as a nation, love each other as fellow citizens of Belize despite our various ethnicities, be committed to fight and die for our country if asked to do so and to be economically, socially and politically developed. Due to the failure of our founding fathers and our governments to plan our future prior to and after independence, we are still in a state of dependency.
We the people of Belize go to vote every five years and expect changes to come within those five years. When we elect a UDP or a PUP government for five years, and we do not see any constructive development, we hear blames and excuses coming from the UDP and PUP. Because of our loyalties to one of these two political parties, we continue to accept their blames and excuses. Our people have not held these two political parties accountable for our state of living and our nation’s deplorable conditions. We just continue to accept their excuses and blames and now it has reached the point where we cannot bear this burden no more.
The time has now come, for us to give another political party the opportunity to manage our people’s affairs and our country. Why? Because we have given the UDP and the PUP too many chances. We cannot play around with our children, our family, our future and our nation’s future. There is too much at stake. Look how quick we are celebrating our 38th anniversary and nothing much has improved since.
What are we really celebrating? Are we celebrating our independence, when we know that many of our people and nation are still dependent? If that is the case, then we must stop and think. We can do better than this and I know we will do better. Not only can we do better but we must because our backs are now against the wall. Our country belongs to us and not to any political party or a select few families and friends. Time to give the Belize People’s Front ( BPF), the opportunity to govern our country because UDP and PUP have and is failing us day by day.