I hate to say it. I mean, who wants to seem judgmental? But lately I’ve been feeling like we ought to have a class on leadership that’s mandatory for all the guys who think they can run our country. You might want to argue with me, but here we are again with a minister who, right though he might be in his aims, is going about things the wrong way. I am, of course, referring to one Hon. Castro, who decided to ‘Clear the Land’ without following the proper legal procedures. Check out the story at http://www.channel5belize.com/#a1 or at http://www.7newsbelize.com/index.php#story8.
Minister Castro, no matter how well-intentioned your actions, you are in the business of making and changing laws, not to mention that by your actions you should be encouraging adherence to them. Instead, you proceed to break them to pieces, thereby becoming exactly the kind of person you were elected to replace. Yes, “an EIA sounds like a big word” but we’ve all heard that ‘word’ very often in the last few years. It’s difficult to imagine that in today’s Belize a project costing in excess of $4.5 million didn’t need some kind of clearance. You could have asked.
On Channel 5 tonight, you said “…I know that this would have had to come but if I had gone through all the different processes, it would have been, we would not be here. We would still be talking up to next year, next three, four, five years, we’d still be talking. We are not doing nothing bad in the sense that we are not disturbing the ecosystem. I am environmentally friendly.”
Leadership 101, Lesson 1: guess what, mi bredda, if the laws are that cumbersome, and I agree they are, you’re in the perfect position to change them. Make the procedures more efficient while still protecting the environment! You see, I keep saying it, maybe you are doing a good thing for your people here, but you broke the law to do it. This is tantamount to a vigilante killing a known criminal –it might seem like the right thing, but it’s against the law. Hopefully you haven’t killed the environment in the process.
Now that the horse is out of the barn door, and you and the authorities are working to put it back with minimal repercussions, hopefully you’ve learned from this experience. Your assignment then, is as follows: remind your colleagues as often as necessary that the NGOs and ordinary voters are watching, and that we expect better from this government than the treatment we got the last time around. Do the right thing each and every time, no exceptions, no excuses.
Oh, and by the way, Mister Castro, please change your license plates to the legal kind.