As you may know, this Friday, BNTU is hitting San Ignacio, Cayo, for the third leg of the scheduled rallies. However, this time, the rally takes on a much broader perspective as they are joined by community activist, Mary Cariddi, who is calling for a District wide shutdown of all businesses in Cayo. According to Cariddi, the people of Cayo are fed up. She claims that for all the taxes they pay, the people of Cayo are not seeing any returns
“It’s an anti crime, anti corruption and anti marginalization shutdown. We are looking to have the businesses shutdown Cayowide, not just San Ignacio-Santa Elena. The business people are tired of crime and corruption, of not getting enough for the people. Cayo is the largest cow-cash any government has and we are not getting for all the money we pay and collect”.
Of course we were then left with the question, is this demonstration one in the same with this week’s BNTU rally? Cariddi told us that even though her demonstration is a separate movement and brings to light other national issues than that being fought by the BNTU, she sympathizes with the teachers and claims that their fight is fundamentally the same.
Mrs. Mary Cariddi: “The teachers are fighting for the exact thing we are fighting for. If you notice your schools, we don’t have any more co action; we have to many students per teacher, there is this heavy curriculum put on the teachers, but no teaching aids to go along with that. Whether you are pointing on a projector or on a Youtube videos or so on or whatever, there is nothing to facilitate the teachers to be able to succeed in the new curriculum; there is not enough classrooms. In our village we have seen no change whatsoever, and this is for the past 15 years”.
One of the major issues that Cariddi is bringing to the table on Friday is the issue surrounding the Census which she claims has been misrepresenting the population of the Cayo District for the past 15 to 20 years.
Mrs. Mary Cariddi: “One of our focuses in going to be the census in Cayo. When your census is incorrect, you are not going to get the funding you need for your community, nor the right police for your community, nor your proper medical facilities for your community, and the census has not been done correctly for the last 20 years. We need to know how many people live here, so that we get proper representation. In mi mind, I think, we need to change the Elections and Boundary System where we have representation according to population and not according to registered voters”.
Mrs. Mary Cariddi: “Actually we have been receiving very good positive feedback. I can tell you, when I got on the street and I handed out the strength of the motion coming from the people has been so strong that my first instinct is to step back from it. They are angry at the crime, at the corruption; at the lack of funds trickling down to the people”.
Reporter: “In regards to the business people that are going forward with this movement, are you seeing any particular trend?”
Mrs. Mary Cariddi: “The majority of the business people say yes, they are going to shut down, and it does not matter if you are talking to the Hindus, the Chinese or the Belizean local businesses. They are fed up of being targets and not having protection”.
The rally is scheduled to start at 9:00 am, in which Cariddi’s supporters will have a solidarity march with the teachers, after which they are to congregate at the Macal River Park, San Ignacio, Cayo, for the final delivery of speeches that address several national issues.