… Prioritizing Social Infrastructure
By: Omar Silva, Editor National Perspective Belize
Belize City: 17th September 2023
In recent times, the Belize government has proudly touted its economic achievements, basking in the glow of impressive GDP growth and favorable assessments from international organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Undoubtedly, these accomplishments deserve recognition, but we must ask ourselves, at what cost?
While the government celebrates its economic prowess, there's an undercurrent of concern that's growing stronger by the day. It's a sentiment held by a significant majority of Belizeans, who feel that their social infrastructure is being left to wither away, neglected and battered like dry leaves scattered by the four winds.
The economic achievements are commendable. The emergence of the BPO sector employing over 8,000 Belizeans is a testament to the country's potential for growth and diversification. However, we must remember that a nation's true wealth lies not only in its economic indicators but in the well-being and prosperity of its people.
The Silent Crisis
Behind the scenes, there is a quiet crisis unfolding in Belize. It's a crisis where public debt servicing takes precedence over investments in many other areas including education, healthcare, and social services. It's a crisis where the government chooses to look good in the eyes of international financial institutions while neglecting the needs of its own citizens. The people are feeling the pinch, and they are not impressed.
The Voices of the People
"He who feels it knows it." This saying resonates deeply with the Belizean populace. They know the challenges of sending their children to underfunded schools, of struggling to access quality healthcare, and of witnessing the fraying social fabric in their communities. They feel it in their everyday lives, and their voices cannot be ignored.
A Call for Balance
We do not advocate for an end to economic growth or fiscal responsibility. Rather, we call for a balanced approach, one that prioritizes both economic prosperity and social well-being. It's time for the government to listen to the people, to engage in a genuine dialogue, and to reassess its priorities.
Investing in social infrastructure is not a drain on resources; it's an investment in the future. A well-educated, healthy, and socially secure population is the cornerstone of a prosperous nation. It's time for the government to measure success not only by GDP growth but also by the contentment and progress of its citizens.
The IMF may be impressed with Belize's economic performance, but it's the people of Belize who matter most. It's their lives, their children's futures, and their well-being that should guide government policies and decisions. The time has come for a recalibration of priorities, a balancing act that places social infrastructure on equal footing with economic achievements.
Let us remember that a government's ultimate mandate is to serve the needs and aspirations of its citizens. As Belizeans, we must ensure that our voices are heard and that our government's actions align with the values of empathy, inclusivity, and the genuine well-being of the people it represents. In the end, a government that looks good in the eyes of its own citizens will shine brighter than any IMF report card.