Belize likely to become a republic, says Prime Minister
Prime Minister John Briceno has reportedly remarked to a journalist for the UK’s publication, The Guardian, that Belize will quite likely become a republic. According to the article published today, Briceno made that remark in the context of criticizing a recent statement made by his counterpart of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak. Sunak has refused to issue an apology for Britain’s role in slavery and colonialism, saying that the focus should be on understanding history and not running away from it. Prime Minister Briceno has frowned upon Sunak’s comments, saying that he should have a moral responsibility to apologize. Additionally, Briceno has joined the call of the other English-speaking Caribbean countries for financial reparations from the United Kingdom. While the Briceno administration has resolved to seek reparatory justice from the UK, Belize is yet to make a definitive stance on whether they will part ways with the British Monarch. About six months ago, a constitutional commission was established with several goals including the discussion as to whether Belize should become a republic. Back in March 2022, Prime Minister Briceno did speak with the local media on the issue. For context, here is that interview.
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “Well I don’t know if it has been like a big push. I think a lot of people have seen what has happened in Barbados and basically what Barbados has done is just to change the Head of State to a president that has the same functions so it has not been a real deep fundamental change that has happened. We, about two weeks ago in Cabinet, we agreed to setting up the People’s Constitutional Consultation Commission and that will be working for at least a year of consultations and we want to hear what the views of our citizens are. We have our own personal views and yes in many instances we believe that whilst there are certain things that we are grateful for the UK for what they did for us here in Belize. We, time, things change and we move on. Probably it is time for us to take a closer look as to the governance, how we can deepen democracy. That is what this whole interaction is going to be. We need to find where people can truly feel that they are the real owners of what happens in their country and that politicians need to understand that even after they are elected, they still have to be able to answer to the Belizean people.”
Also speaking on the issue of Belize turning republic was Minister Francis Fonseca. He gave the following interview some eight months ago.
Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education: “For me personally without question I have been on record before as saying that is is time for Belize to move beyond the monarchy. I think we need to do everything we can to decolonize our country, decolonize our education curriculum, you know decolonize our history and our culture so I think that we as a country it is my view that we need to move beyond the monarchy. We have a unique opportunity, as I have said before, with the People’s Constitution Commission to have nationwide consultations on this very subject. People will have an opportunity across the country to weigh in to share their views on what they believe is the best way forward for Belize’s governance to look at all our institutions to see what works and what doesn’t work. So I want to encourage people to actively participate in that process. Let your voices be heard, listen to the experts there will be constitutional experts who will be sharing their views about the options that are available for us as a country and I think if people do that at the end of the day we will have a consensus I think on a good model of governance moving forward.”
As for the coronation of King Charles the Third, Prime Minister Briceno note that there is no fanfare on this side of the Caribbean over the regal event set for Saturday, May 6 in England. Belize is being represented at the coronation by the Governor General Froyla Tzalam.