“Know Yuh Rights” lecture series on Belize Constitution comes to San Pedro

Thursday, August 17th, 2023


On Wednesday, August 16th, the ‘Know Yuh Rights’ lecture series, a nationwide campaign to better understand the Belize Constitution, occurred at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium in San Pedro Town. The public event is an ongoing effort by the People’s Constitution Commission (PCC) to present a comprehensive review of the Belize Constitution, consult the population, obtain feedback, and submit a final report on the findings to the Prime Minister. At the end of the process, the National Assembly will decide if Belizeans must move to repeal or amend the current Constitution.
The gathering at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium was possible with the support of the San Pedro Town Council. Attorney Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley was one of the special guests and led an informational session on the Constitution. The unique gathering saw a head table with some of the PCC’s members, including Chairman Anthony Chanona, appointed by the Prime Minister. Vice Chair Glenfield Dennison represented Belize’s National Trade Union Congress, Kristina Romero from the National Women’s Commission, and Maria Zabaneh from the Belize Council of Churches.
Master of Ceremonies Natalie Arceo invited Mayor Gualberto’ Wally’ Nuñez and Area Representative Honourable Andre Perez to share some opening remarks. Nuñez said that it is essential for every Belizean to understand the Constitution. Thus, a revision is needed to break it down for everyone to read and easily digest. Perez said that the informational session was significant because it spoke about the rights every Belizean is entitled to. According to him, everyone needs to know such information, as in other countries, people do not have the same freedom as Belizeans.
Before Bradley offered his lecture, PCC Chairman Chanona shared a few remarks. He said the ongoing exercise introduces the Constitution to everyone in the country. At the different presentations nationwide, they focus on different chapters. The session in San Pedro Town dealt with ‘The Preamble,’ which Chanona said is the bedrock of the Belize Constitution. Another area touched on in the presentation was the different rights of Belizeans. Chanona invited the audience to participate in the activity and to share their suggestions regarding a possible amendment to the Constitution.
Bradley explained that The Preamble affirms that the nation is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God, faith in human rights, and fundamental freedoms. This also includes respect, recognizing that men and institutions remain free, and installing state policies that protect and safeguard Belize’s unity, freedom, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.
Bradley then spoke about the fundamental rights Belizeans are entitled to. He mentioned the right to life and family, the rights associated with liberty of the person, such as freedom of conscience, religion, and expression, to name a few. Other rights Bradley touched on included the right of each person to protection of the law and those related to the security of citizens. Bradley expressed how important this exercise spearheaded by the PCC is. “This never happened in the history of Belize, whereby everyone is called upon to provide your suggestions and make the Constitution better,” said Bradley. “Here is a fabulous opportunity that the government is making available to everyone,” Bradley continued. He encouraged as many Belizeans as possible to participate in this countrywide activity to have better laws governing the nation after a potential amendment to the Constitution. After his presentation, those in attendance were asked to fill out a sheet with their recommendations and were also allowed to voice their contributions to the presenters.

The Know Yuh Rights series will continue in other parts of the country. According to the PCC, the presentations and consultations on the Belize Constitution will end around the middle of 2024. After that, the Prime Minister will be provided with a report with suggestions from the people. As such, the PCC encourages Belizeans to attend these important meetings to improve the country’s governance.


 

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