Friday, February 18, 2011

Labour Pains

The more I read and hear about the new Labour law, the more I wonder what glorious, illicit and mind-altering substances our politicians are on. No, that was facetious of me, and I apologize for saying it. But I'm pissed, and as you should know, anger leads to ugly thoughts. On the surface of it, I should be thrilled with this new law, since I'm an employee and it's all about keeping me in my job and making it more difficult for me to get fired. Oh yes, and guaranteeing me an available toilet when I need to visit one. It all should make me want to climb a ladder up to the highest rooftop and shout for joy so that all may hear my gratitude, right? Instead I'm angry because the jesters in Cabinet are insulting my intelligence.

You see, unfortunately for the people I made the mistake of voting for, I'm one of those employees who ensures my job security via the old-fashioned method of working hard and having my employer appreciate my efforts. I'm comfortable in my job, happy that I have one in these hard times, and I'm weird enough to think my boss is pretty cool. See, he assists us with education costs, gives us excellent health insurance, and I have ways to earn extra holiday time, and so many other benefits. His business isn't huge, but he tries to share the good news with us. And do you know what happens with the benefits he gives us? The Government of Belize, currently run by the same sad clowns who say that our welfare is their only thought (yeah, they all say that), makes us pay taxes on those benefits.

Now, if you are heartless enough to tax me for getting help in my quest for higher education, how the hell am I supposed to believe that you care in the least about my welfare? It seems to me that what's in play here is the endless political goal of keeping us poor and ignorant. This law isn't for me or for anyone else who wants to improve themselves, to excel in their chosen profession. Because the moment we do that, the moment we climb above a certain level, as my employer is trying to help me do, the tax man's waiting to pick us off. So what I should be doing is sitting in a packing crate with the sign 'Home, Sweet Home' over the door, which opens onto swamps and London bridges, and waiting till the day of the week when I go to see my area rep for my weekly handout, correct? Beloved area rep then feels the love, and I remain happily ignorant in my fetid swamp and financial slavery, indebted to 'the man' for my daily bread. Yes, Mr Amandala, slavery is alive and well in Belize -we are all whipped, beaten, fed crumbs for good (servile) behaviour and kept subservient by the political party du jour. 

Then again, this law is about jobs, so to be fair the picture I paint above, though all too real, isn't applicable to the situation under discussion. Okay, that's true, but what we're talking about here isn't too much different. What this law creates is a tidy balancing act that can't be healthy for culture or economy. Employees who barely do their jobs are granted security of tenure, while those of us who are ambitious and want to rise to the top are punished through taxation. Excellent way to develop this developing country of ours, I cannot but admire the sheer genius of it.

Mr Prime Minister, please don't do me no favors, I can't afford it. But then, you aren't doing it for me, I'm not your slave.