22 Ways To Be Politically Active in Belize
We know many of you will agree: politics in Belize has become vile, venomous and dysfunctional.
Because of this fact, more and more Belizeans want no part of politics or any political party.
However, believe it or not, it is you, the very Belizeans, who have grown jaded and disenchanted with politics, are the ones who need to be involved the most.
"Why is that?" you may ask.
It is because:
you know exactly what is wrong with this dysfunctional system;
you know how to think for yourself;
and you know that if nothing is done, nothing will ever get better.
As we can all see, it has been one corruption scandal after the next.
One disaster after the next.
Crime is out of control.
Nothing is working how it's suppose to...
...and we are leaving our children with a mind-boggling debt.
BTIA stood up against a disastrous budget, and Belizeans from all over the country are standing up against this dysfunctional system.
It is time for us to learn what we can do to be politically active.
We need to support each other, those of us who know that we need a new system that will benefit all.
One that will start to get us out of this hole we are currently in.
Here are 22 ways you can elevate your activism:
Local Politics & Activism
1. Know who are your local leaders, what constituency you are in, who is your area representative and what other political parties have members planning to run in your constituency
Note: cross reference House of Representative members with the Constituencies map of Belize to find out which constituency you are in and who is your current elected area representative.
2. Know how to get in touch with them (and actually make them listen)
Call them. Yes, they are public figures, call the phone operator and get their number, call their office for their personal number, call the Belize Press Office.
Remember, these people work for you. Your tax dollars pay their salaries, buy their vehicles, put fuel in those vehicles, give them pension plans...your tax dollars basically pay for their very survival.
Call/text and tell your area rep, for example: "We want fuel prices to be lower. Cost of living is too high. Do something about this, now."
Trust us, when they know you have their personal cell phone number or you can easily reach them (which should be made very public, and it is not), they will listen.
To contact Ministers who are in charge of a particular Ministry, go to the Government of Belize website, and go to the "Ministries" tab, and click on the Ministry you want to contact. A list of contact persons and information is there.
3. Identify an issue you care about and run with it
Hopefully you don't need too many resources on this, though here's a good list of social issues to get you started.
4. Attend public meetings - village council, town council, city council, consultations, special meetings
We know most of the time these public meetings and consultations are mind-numbingly boring and monotonous, but they are designed this way for a reason - to frustrate you.
However, these meetings are extremely important, because significant decisions are usually made by local and central government, based on the feedback from these public meetings.
These meetings also gives you the opportunity to make your actual voice heard, in front of local politicians who can actually do something about it.
5. Get to know your local school board
If you have kids in school, you probably need to know about your school board.
6. Join your local PTA
Not only can you have a direct communication with your school, you can also volunteer and participate in other ways that directly impact your community.
The number one reason to join your child's school PTA is to benefit your child. You also help your school in doing so.
7. Join a local and/or national NGO group. There are several that are doing great things in Belize
Find out about these local groups and chose which one you would like to join.
Here are a few:
Rotary Clubs: there are several local chapters in Belize.
Find more here
8. Join an activist group or a political organization
Days of Healing
9. Join a campaign
If you find a local politician who represents the change you want to see in your community, contact their office to figure out how you can get involved in the campaign!
Maybe they'll have you compile registered voters in your constituency or put up signs or some other boring task, but the boring tasks is what actually gets stuff done.
Please remember: anyone running for office outside the two major political parties in Belize are making a massive sacrifice.
They usually have little financial resources, however, because most of them run from an un-compromised position, which means they are not owned by any special interest groups.
Political parties such as the Belize Progressive Party has built into their constitution and foundation documents that any member running on their ticket, answers to the people in their constituency and not the party, and can go against the party if it means standing up for the people of their constituency.
No crossing-the-floor nonsense.
Examples - recent history of this retrograding law:
George Price Recommends Mark Espat's Expulsion from PUP because Mark Espat dear to "repeated public attacks on the party..."
Crossing The Floor: needs to be removed from our Constitution: Section 59(2)(e) of the Constitution states that a member must choose to resign from a party or cross the floor.
10. Volunteer at their headquarters
Find your political party's headquarters near you.
They are just waiting for your time and energy.
They WANT you to help out, so it's not that hard to find.
If you'd rather stay at home, you can most likely take part in digital activism: Sending newsletters or text messages or organizing online campaigns.
You can find Belize Progressive Party's:
Facebook page: www.facebook/BelizeProgressiveParty
Headquarters Office: Corner of Partridge and Vernon Street in Belize City - 202-2448
11. Attend or organize rallies and events
Just make sure you're safe and lawful. Alternately, visit any political talks and events going on in your area.
12. Pound the pavement
If you want to influence people, you're going to have to actually go out and, you know, MEET the people you want to influence. Go say hi to your neighbor, spark up a conversation about their concerns in the community.
Here's also a good article from the New York Times on why this method actually works.
13. Volunteer to work at a polling station
On election day, political parties need people to help them count ballots and collect other types of data.
Sign up to volunteer to work a shift. Most parties pay a stipend and provide meals, since this is a long process.
14. Volunteer to register voters
Believe it or not, many Belizeans simply do not know what to do to get registered to vote.
Talk to people and ask them if they are registered to vote, if not, help them.
Where to Register:
Visit the Registration Office of Elections and Boundaries Department in your Area. Thirteen District Offices countrywide are manned by Registration Officers.
Who is eligible to vote:
Every person who is - A. 18 years or over B. A citizen of: - Belize - Any Commonwealth Country who has resided in Belize for not less than 12 months - Any Commonwealth Country who is domiciled in Belize, AND C. Resident in the electoral division not less than 2 months
How to become registered:
A. Make a personal application i. Take proof of eligibility to the Registration Office in your area- - Birth Certificate - Passport - Naturalization Certificate ii. Fill out and sign Application Form and Record Card iii. Take a photograph for the ID Card and the Record Card B. An Investigation is carried out by Registration Officers to verify residence and other particulars. C. A temporary list of applicants called "Supplementary List" is prepared by the Registering Officer for public scrutiny from 15th to the 25th of the month. These are posted at all Registration Offices. D. If there are objections during the 15th to the 25th, the following is completed before proceeding to Revision Court: - The persons objected to, are informed by registered mail - The names of the persons objected to, are published in one newspaper and the Gazette E. The Revising Officer in a Revision Court approves the Supplementary List at the end of each month. F. A Revised List is prepared. Only those on the Revised List become Registered Electors. The Revision Court is the sole authority to decide who will remain on the monthly Revised List. G. ID Cards are issued to those on the Revised List approximately one week after the Revision Court.
Make sure you're registered. And vote in every election, not just general ones.
Education About Belize Politics
16. Subscribe to a paper or other publication you believe in
Many of us are disconcerted with journalism and media coverage in Belize.
However, find a publication that represents good journalism to you. Click on it often. Pay for a subscription, if you have to. Support it any way you can.
The Belize Progressive Party has started The Progressive Newspaper, and 99% of the articles are about solutions to the problems affecting Belize.
This publication is free, however they are looking for people to sponsor each issue.
17. Read up on Belizean history and civics
You can find vast amounts of information about all aspects of Belize's history, here.
18. Share that knowledge
Have discussions with your friends and family.
Engage in respectful debate when appropriate (and no, that doesn't mean on Facebook timelines, believe it or not - this is a great place to get into unnecessary arguments).
Spread the word.
19. Volunteer at a place that benefits your community
Ideally, you can align your volunteer work with your most important causes.
Volunteer at church, at the local hospital, at a homeless shelter or at a school.
20. Volunteer at a museum, library, cultural center or historical society
Volunteering isn't just about serving others, it's also about making sure the organizations that are important to you can continue to serve others.
At the very least, let your wallet do the talking.
Find a local or national charity and make a donation.
The Belize Progressive Party will never compromise by taking money from special interest groups like Ashcroft or other groups who wants special deals under the table.
Because, they know, once that is done, then the entire nation and all Belizeans are compromised...
...as is the case now after 35 years of the PUP and UDP leadership, which is undeniable.
22. Get off the internet
Complaining on social media only gets you so far. Get out, meet people, use your hands and your time.
Belize is small, you can meet a lot of people in one day simply by going to the local market or park.
Belizeans love to socialize. There are always great opportunities to meet people.
Spread these ideas so that they catch on. You are encouraged to download, copy and distribute this article by any and all means.
Please support our work by donating to the Belize Progressive Party Developing Fund.