Saturday, November 5, 2011



There was a program on TV local cable last night, that was discussing the application of the SOCIAL Partnership program with the poor in Belize. The bureaucrats have spent a lot of time and money, collecting census data and quantifying the very poor in Belize. A PARTNERSHIP program was started. Mostly, like all such programs, it was slated first of all, for Belize City the port. Most of the controlling politicians of the country come from the port and they feather their own nest first. It has gradually spread to towns in the districts. I am not at all sure it has reached the rural boonies yet? At any rate, the budgeted money has been found to be not enough, once you start to try and deliver a social partnership to the rural people in other districts.
First off, we have to realize BELIZE itself is BROKE, BANKRUPT. We are getting by as a nation, but most of the work and infra-structure is being done by foreign governments and different FUNDS by GRANTS. We are continuing to borrow some more to help ourselves, but that is a self defeating way of doing things. Not much we can do about it. When you are poor and lack the abilities, education, or lack the money, you have to grit your teeth and tighten your belt. The government is doing that. There are priorities and other priorities. Weighing the priorities for the little money available to go around, means somebody else gets nothing.
The ambitious SOCIAL PARTNERSHIP program, which was designed to help the poor, or poverty level people and below, has run into financial shortfalls. The program worked by giving a single mother, or poor person with children, a small stipend, contingent on attendance of the children going to school. Many children in Belize have no shoes, no electricity, no running water and often no food. Fortunately we live in the tropics and there are fruit trees and growing seasons are at least twice a year and sometimes three times a year. So while, you may not eat well, in the rural areas at least, you can eat oranges until you are tired of them. Or breadfruit the same. Something in the food line is always in season. My own children and family lived that way on Caye Caulker, when they were young. We ate what was available. Anyway, the SOCIAL COMPACT was that those below the poverty line in Belize could get a stipend.
The government budgeted money has been found not to be enough, to serve all those people with children below the poverty line. What the evening TV show was about, were the bureaucrats dealing with this SOCIAL ASSISTANCE PARTNERSHIP were doing, was going to the houses of the very poor with children, in the rural Belize River valley. The bureaucrats are eating of course and have shoes, as they get a salary. Their new job is a census, trying to identify, the poorest of the very poor. The most needy are being surveyed again, to eliminate half of those below the poverty line, so the SOCIAL COMPACT can assist the worst cases only, with the money available. C´est la vie! Sorry to hear that. We would dearly like Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, or anybody else for that matter, to help this program with money. The amount given to a mother with children, is not a living amount, it is simply meant to feed the children, and thus create the conditions that they attend school compulsory, with the aim of educating them, so they will not repeat the problems of their mother. Most live in hardship conditions anyway. At any rate, the poorest and most needy of the poor are going to find by the new census survey, that they are going to lose even this little bit of life line. That is the way it is in poor countries. There are always priorities, and the politicians have the job of deciding what gets attention, when there isn´t enough to go around. What program can produce the best and most results per dollar spent. Difficult decisions always, I don´t envy them.
Old people get something similar from Social Security. It certainly isn´t enough money to pay for an electric light, or anything like that. But at least it is hoped they get enough to eat every third day at least. All Belize is not like this. Just about a half of the population.

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