Dr. Chris Bennett learnt from early on what it took to get to the top. From schooldays up to university he had to hit the books. I felt the pains he did not record in his journey. I know it was not easy for him. His three-quarter smile and gentle demeanor were signs of his determination to stay the course.
I believe that the only enjoyment he might have experienced was from his ‘”home stays” whilst boarding abroad. My father always invited my mother and seven children to go and visit him in Scotland, where he was treated with respect by his hosts.
The students from British Honduras were gentle folk. They spoke proper English, were excellent dancers, had very good manners and their humility and poise commanded respect.
This was my impression of the person, Dr. Chris Bennett, when I put “two and two” together from the letters I received from my dad and Mr. Simon Martinez after World War II.
As in the Biblical story of David and Goliath, Dr. Chris Bennett strategised his success on a long-term year-to-year basis. His projects were well planned. He obviously observed that his well-planned budget was slashed without a Plan B. The annual morbid reports meant nothing to him. At this stage he realized that he had to “make a dollar out of fifteen cents”. The task was that each year the diminished allocation is vulnerable to the recurring diminishing allocation.
As a conscientious public officers, Br. Bennett pursued his dream of a 100% cavity-free Belize. Though it cost him sleepless nights trying to find a way to improve his department with an inappropriate appropriation, he kept on pursuing his goal.
Over time there was a pompous, arrogant and flamboyant Minister of government who delivered a very convincing report on the budget of his department. Like the king with the invisible suit, he “crescendoed” on and on. His speech hit a high point when the target for the first quarter of the year was reached. Those that knew not that the Minister knew not of which part of the budget he was made to read, applauded in a full outburst congratulating His Highness on a well planned budget – for the year.
The only person in such an audience would be the public officer or professional who planned the budget. In his effort to decipher such a meager budget, Dr. Bennett is the kind of man who had his eye on a 100% cavity-free Belize. Year in year out he kept harping on his professional dream, the dream that we in Belize would die with all our teeth still intact and forgetting about tooth extraction.
Budget time is now in full swing and though he is now retired from the village tornadoes, Dr. Bennett may try some of Tyson’s antics to make the devious souls pay attention to our smiling teeth. After all, our teeth come only twice in our lifetime.
A friend of mine, 107 years old, told me she could not wait for a third set of teeth to sprout. So, protect both the milk teeth, which are important to the mouth of our babies and more, to the permanent ones. Do not doubt me. Contact Dr. Chris Bennett. He will lead you on the smiling path.
Article courtesy Amandala