I was sitting on the San Pedro Express Bridge waiting for somebody having half an hour, enjoying the sun after all this rain, drinking some fresh squeezed orange juice when a fellow islander hailed me. : “Ola Chriss, you look like you’re contemplating the next article you have to write for the Caye Caulker Chronicles!” The following conversation made the decision to write this article which has been playing around in my head for weeks, actually for months all in relation to the headline of this article which I read in the Amandala a couple of weeks ago.
After I started publishing my first articles this year after years of suppressing my voice, I wrote the editor and publisher of the Amandala a small article about my background and suggesting them maybe time had come that the Amandala could use a white Belizean perspective as a columnist since there were now more different perspectives enriching the scope especially after Mr.Luna came in.
I never got an answer back and my next article/ letter was I felt treated with disrespect.
The result was that I wrote several articles only for the Caye Caulker Chronicles which gave me a lot of comments from islanders and from people abroad.
When I read this letter in the Amadala about the foreign retirees etc. I felt that this was a perfect example which needed to be answered by a foreign born Belizean ,a white bway, who has been living here for 25 years with Belizean family who has seen all these foreigners come and go for all those years. To make a statement that if a group of foreigners will move back to their countries and will take Belize tourism back home with them is an insult to Belize and its people .It is the Beauty of Belize and its population which brings tourism to Belize. Not this segment of the foreigners who started their businesses in tourism.
Yes they might be privileged having funds to invest or having access to cheap financing from abroad while Belizeans pay 12-18% interest they pay 2,75- 5%, and build some nice places. Or have better skills to attract their foreign customers through the internet because they have better computer skills but to state they are tourism in Belize .Please!?!
This brings me back to the conversation with my fellow islander on the bridge. He wanted to encourage me to write about exactly this attitude by a lot of foreigners coming lately into Belize who have a very condescending , degrading attitude towards Belizeans. I know him to be a pretty balanced, straight, hard working family man , a great craftsman ,well spoken ,intelligent and I was very surprised by the degree of insult he was talking about or maybe not because when I did a construction for a friend of my wife I got a similar treatment.
It is this attitude, this new colonialism, which is very insulting towards Belizeans and might be partly the factor why there is aggression towards foreigners in those places like Placencia, Corozal , San Pedro and Caye Caulker.
I do not ignore that there are people in Belize who try to take advantage of white people or any people. But are there no conmen in your country? No crime, no liars and people with no integrity. If I am not wrong the president of the USA just last month tried to pull your country and the rest of the world into WW3 with the same kind of lies as they used to invade Iraq. A whistleblower from the hip-hop music industry came out with that the industry partly had been bought up by the corporations who run the prisons in the USA and were forced to glorify the gang thing with more bling so more kids would become more criminalized and would be ending up as their corporate customers.
So instead of talking war we in Belize better find a way of more peaceful coexistence with each other and that might start to have more respect for the Belizean people and their ways than always imposing your own culture and your own ways on people because that can often come across as very condescending and insulting.
My old Mennonite granny always said: If you always want to squeeze the last drop out of the can, the lid will fall on your nose. And that’s how of lot of foreigners treat Belizeans .I have seen that a lot and even experienced it myself. That brings a lot of resentment.
I also see that a lot of foreigners drink a lot of alcohol and do a lot of drugs and that does not really promote a lot of discernment. That attracts more than usual the wrong people and situations towards themselves.
Most Belizeans are very disturbed by the crime situation and would like to see improvements of the situation but to say it’s them and us , that’s were we have to change because it’s us together, we can change things.
Comments from the Garden.
Skype # chriss.roggema.