Sunday, September 22, 2013

Belize PM Independence Speech Supports Equality for "all" citizens

22nd September, 2013



 Belize became an independent nation in 1981, but it was in 2013 that she finally matured in a way that was inclusive, principled, rational and constructive. I am sure the Belize Evangelical Association dropped off their seats when Belize's Prime Minister Dean Barrow spoke so eloquently about the achievement of the state, but more precisely, his belief in what is the role of the state when he stated,"
Government will therefore fully respect the right of the churches to propagate their understanding of the morality, or immorality, of homosexuality.What government cannot do is to shirk its duty to ensure that all citizens, without exception, enjoy the full protection of the law."  Furthermore, he reminded his audience that while the constitution speaks to the Supremacy of God, it does speak about to rights and dignity of the individual.

He reminded his audience that we have always been a culture of diversity, but expressed concern about the current divisions and its related dangers. He said,  "A version of the culture wars has come to our country and it is souring the harmony and disrupting the rhythm of Belizean life. The golden knot that ties us all together, is in danger of coming loose..." Said in a back drop of marches and rallies against the gender policy and section 53, the public statement has never, been said from any Caribbean leader in CARICOM and marks a mile stone in the public discourse.


 











With the decision in the Crossing dressing case in Guyana made, and no less than two cases in Jamaica and the pending decision for section 53. PM Barrow statement offers all side an opportunity for constructive, rational and responsible dialogue. The comment, " we cannot afford for Government and the Churches to be at odds. The filigreed chain that links the two is a proud part of the national ornamentation, and it cannot be allowed to break." Highlights a message of balance and fairness. Time will tell, if his independence statement will be given concrete life or a broader discussion about rights enforcement and protection of all citizens.  In the meantime, one of our opponents on the far right, Patrick Andrews said in a facebook comment the following:


Seems we have along way to go in our desire for constructive, rational and responsible dialogue. 

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