By Rayford Young

I’m not a big movie fan but boy when I fall in love with a movie I watch it often. One such movie is “Titanic”. Mein, I loved that movie! It’s a bit long but who cares it holds my attention for the 3 ½ hours and it’s worth it. The other good thing about it is that it’s a true story. It all started on April 10, 1912 when this large ship, the largest in the world at the time, left Southampton, England on her maiden voyage to New York City. No expense was spared – every luxury available to man was onboard. Her passengers were a mixture of the world’s wealthiest, basking in the elegance of first class accommodations. She was classified as the safest ship ever built, so safe she couldn’t sink. She carried only 20 lifeboats for her 2,200 passengers and crew.

The party started immediately with dancing and drinking all day into the morning. The best liquor was onboard.  This was life at its best for the rich and famous. Who can forget the love story of the society girl “Rose” and the penniless artist “Jack” as they fell in love on the high seas? What a party. Life could not be better. Then four days into her journey at 11:40pm on the night of April 14, she struck an iceberg but what’s to worry? This ship cannot sink we were told, so the party continued. Soon it became obvious the ship would go down. Each passenger was issued a life jacket but life expectancy would be short. The water was four degrees below freezing and very few if any could survive this cold water.

Two hours and forty minutes after the collision the ship that could not sink was on its way to the bottom of the sea for its final resting place. 705 passengers survived, 1,522 passengers and crew were lost.

Many in Belize are on this same kind of journey.  The party is alive – many are having a great time and things could not be better. This ship cannot sink, let it roll. Our titanic ship is named “Petrocaribe” and we are told by Capitan Deano that this ship can’t sink. Let it Roll, what’s the problem?

Clearly Petrocaribe is a loan that has to be paid back but Capitan Deano and others are saying it’s not really a loan so there’s no need to take it to the House of Representatives for approval and we could do whatever we want with this slush of money. The petrocaribe money is everywhere. Our Government ministers are driving in brand new SUVs – so many new SUVs they are even hitting pedestrians and killing them. Things are so wonderful that Capitan Deano had a brilliant idea to bus in thousands of his supporters to come to Belmopan to thank him for the great work he’s doing with the Petrocaribe money. So Capitan Deano offered his supporters a red T-shirt, fifty dollars and a bus ride to Belmopan just to say how much ‘I love you’. The ministers receive a new SUV at about $80,000 apiece and the supporters receive a T-shirt and fifty dollars and a bus ride and we are happy.

No one is saying some good is not being done with the Petrocaribe money. The argument the Opposition party is making is that the Belize law says you must bring any loan above ten million dollars for approval from the House. My understanding is that it’s about a hundred and fourteen million US dollars Capitan Deano has to play with and boy they are having the time of their lives. The fact that some people are working repairing the streets and other things being done with the money is beside the point. We are either a nation of laws or a nation of outlaws. No one knows for sure what Captain Deano is doing with all this money and who it’s going to. No one should have this kind of power over a nation – accountable to no one. So while Capitan Deano and his followers are on a drunken binge a loan is a loan that has to be paid back.

Venezuela is in dire straits now. The low price of oil is affecting their budget and all their grandiose loans to Caribbean nations will have to come to a stop soon. This is the time Venezuela needs all these countries they help to come to its aid and repay those lucrative loans. That would be the right thing to do instead of squandering lots of money to say I love you. I don’t think Venezuela was thinking of political rallies when they were making these loans to help these countries.

At some point the country of Belize will have to repay all these loans. For a country this poor and only three hundred and fifty thousand people we are in debt up to our eyeballs. Swimming in red ink. Will Belize be able to make all these payments when they come due? Seems all that matters now is re-election.  Let’s keep this party going – but what happens when the Petrocaribe money runs out?  Will those who were not invited to the party have to pay the expense for the chosen few who were invited to attend? It seems so unfair.

Consider these words from “…It has been said that “a fool and his money are soon parted.” (A proverb originating with Dr. John Bridges in 1587) While a fool and his money are soon parted, contrarily, a fool and his folly are not easily parted. What is a fool? A fool is someone who is thick headed and arrogant. He cannot be instructed in any way. His motto is: “Don’t confuse me with the facts; I have my own opinions.” In fact, the fool delights in airing his opinions. If challenged on his opinions, he is often quick to lose his temper. His hard- headed, foolish ways shame his parents. In Proverbs 14-15 and in other chapters, wise King Solomon warns his audience about such people. How do we deal with someone who is a fool…?”

I say, vote them out of office…

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