Promote citizen participation
in Government affairs including public oversight of Government management
This option proposes active citizen participation determining investment needs and priorities. This would allow the Government to better inform itself on the demands and needs of the people. Also, citizens will be informed of the scope and criteria used to target programs beneficiaries and how they operate. If citizens participate and know how programs are designed, funded, and executed to meet their health, education, and security needs, they could hold the Government accountable.
Following are some opinions on this option:
Sharon, from Orange Walk: This would be a good opportunity for the Government to better communicate with its citizens, since the Government regularly does not inform and citizens are unaware of their rights. Only recently we began to find out about the content of the Constitution of Belize only because there is The People's Constitution Commission that is analysing whether we adopt a new constitution or reform the current one.
Amaité, from the Toledo District: This would be an opportunity for indigenous peoples to be taken into account when defining development and investment programs for their community: This way we would know how much budget would be allocated to the programs in our community.
William, from San Ignacio: Citizen participation in public affairs strengthens democracy and allows citizens to influence public decisions. If we know what decisions we are making as a country, we can monitor and identify problems and solutions to improve programs. We can also be vigilant and identify corruption, abuse of power, and report them.
Kevin, from Belmopan: If citizens participate in the design of public policies, the Government could have many perspectives and know how we carry on with our lives. It would be great for communities to identify their strengths and use them to develop the social programs. Together we could overcome the planning difficulties the Government has from their offices in Belmopan.
Anna, from Belize City: By recognizing the needs of the community we can commit to solutions while strengthening our sense of ownership and ensuring that the benefits of the programs are timely, efficient, and that their goals are met.
Despite agreeing with this alternative, some have expressed difficulties in carrying it out:
Elizabeth, from Corozal: Many citizens cannot participate in public affairs due to a lack of time and financial resources. I have to focus on housework and take care of my mother who is sick at home, I would like to, but this would take all my time.
Richard, from Corozal: There is a risk of political manipulation by some groups that take advantage of the participation of citizens in their favour, forgetting the well-being of the community.
John, from San Pedro Town: If citizen participation is not carried out in an orderly manner, the whole process could end up in rifts, tensions and confrontations between community members, making it impossible to achieve objectives.