Letter to the Editor: Improving Ambergris Caye
Tuesday, November 24th, 2015
I have lived on Ambergris Caye for 15 years. I have seen the caye change from an easy-paced, sandy street Caribbean island to a noisy, traffic-clogged, trash-ridden tourist mecca. These are problems that can be solved with money and determination and the will to resist political and financial corruption.
But there is another problem I encounter that also needs to be addressed. The non-Belizeans who have chosen to relocate here (from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, and other “first world countries”) are extremely critical of the traffic and the trash and the cost of living on the island and lay the blame at the feet of the Belizeans and the Belize Government.
I think all of us gringos need to consider that we came here with first-world expectations. We want personal vehicles (golf carts, motorcycles, trucks, SUVs). We want a selection of consumer goods (frozen foods, 50 kinds of cereal). We want convenience (soda in plastic bottles, Budweiser in cans). We want “American style” housing (condos and villas). We want paved roads. We want convenient parking. We want zoning laws. We want, we want, we want.
What we don’t acknowledge is the lack of infrastructure required to support our wants and the lack of funds to create that infrastructure simply because we demand it. Nor do we recognize that there are higher priorities (hospitals and schools) that should be funded before a paved road to the north and an international airport on Ambergris Caye.
So, I have a suggestion. Let us gringos “ante up” and put our money where our demands are. Let’s finance a recycling plant. Let’s fund a beach-cleanup crew to deal with the trash that comes to the island from the sea. Let’s create a public transportation system and leave our golf carts/cars/trucks/motorcycles at home.
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