The feedback and input on the Equal Opportunities Bill has been overwhelming. Some are in favor and some are in opposition and neither will back down. Before we get into the story of an alliance recently formed, we will do some house cleaning first by apologizing to the CEO in the Ministry of Human Development, Judith Alpuche, for misquoting her in one of our recent stories. We had alluded to her being at an event hosted by the National AIDS Commission and that some statements were made at that event. There was a mixup and for that we apologize. Now – back to the recent alliance; it is a group that is adamant in their rejection of the bill. They refer to themselves as the Alliance of Ministers and Leaders of Belize. Founder of the organization, Patrick Menzies explained the issues they have with the bill.
Patrick Menzies, Founder, Alliance of Ministers and Leaders of Belize: “There are some great things in the bill dealing with for example disability, women’s rights and also some HIV issues, some great things are in there, however the LGBT side of the bill kills the bill, completely destroys the bill. It destroys it and so we reject it, why? Couple things to look at, we reject the bill because it was fundamentally made and drafted for the support of a minority of Belizeans which is the LGBT community okay. So we believe that the constitution gives every human being equal rights. Everyone is born a male or female, if they decide to identify as another gender later on that’s their issue but they’re protected as a male or female and we believe that all Belizeans should be respected as male or female just as the constitution states. We believe that as the preamble of the constitution states ‘the nation of Belize shall be founded upon principles which acknowledge the supremacy of God and recognizes that men and institutions remain free only when freedom is founded upon respect for moral and spiritual values and upon the rule of law.’ My question to government, they keep on making statements ‘well it doesn’t say which God.’ Okay, when the people go to court they don’t swear on any book, they swear on the bible okay? Section D of the preamble says ‘many institutions remain free only when freedom is founded upon respect for moral and spiritual values and the rule of law’- where do you get moral and spiritual values from ? It comes from the church or the religious community. They are creating a commission and I challenge all Belizeans to read it, you will be flabbergasted, it will completely blow your mind. Belize’s number one issue is what ? The fact that murderers walk free, people commit crimes and they walk free, why doesn’t the government create a commission to avoid people walking free? A commission to protect people that are victimized by reporting ? We had understood that it was declared by government that 85% of the people were in agreement and I was corrected today that that was a misnomer, it was a mistake, the government did not say that so I understand and respect that because from my visit to Belmopan, Belize City, Orange Walk and Corozal more than 85% of Belizeans reject this bill.”
The Alliance is urging citizens to abstain from voting for any candidate in the upcoming election who does not publicly declare their rejection for the bill.