Government and Churches sign agreement to bolster relationship

Government and Churches sign agreement to bolster relationship

The government and the churches have signed an agreement to bolster the state’s relationship with the church and enshrine the Supremacy of God in the country’s constitution. On Wednesday, Minister of Constitutional and Political Reform and Religious Affairs Henry Charles Usher and Bishop A Moses Benguche, Senator of the Council of churches, formally signed a Statement of Agreement.  The agreement comprises ten essential points that outline the shared values and commitments of the government and the church communities. Bishop Benguche says the signing was the result of three years of discussion that began when the government was in opposition. 

Bishop Alvin Moses Benguche, Senator of the Council of Churches: “Even before the present government came into power we had prior discussion with the then Leader of the Opposition Mr.Briceno. And as we sat down with him we told him and shared with him perhaps those things that they church would have been concerned about. And from that time he said well let us sit down together and when this present government formed this now present administration  it was a good time for us to press on and to proceed with some of those things that we spoke about earlier. And so the discussions started some three years ago as to perhaps what are some of those things that we can put into a framework whereby both the government and the churches would be able to find common ground upon which to work. The conversation took on additional urgency especially as we as a country started the discussion on the constitution. We thought that perhaps as a church and as a nation we would speed up the conversation and so in our monthly meetings with Minister Usher who is the Minister responsible for Religious Affairs  we took the opportunity to have developed on some of the common principles that we thought that we should bring up with the government and to find common ground upon which to work and vision for the country. And so it started in that light and we’re happy for where we are that we were able finally to come up with those common grounds and we were able to sign that important document this week.”

Bishop Benguche says the agreement underscores the importance of upholding the constitutional principles of the church and is an act of good faith on the government’s behalf. 

Bishop Alvin Moses Benguche, Senator of the Council of Churches: “It is more than just holding on to it’s Christian value as such more so than to be able to recognize the supremacy of God. And the understanding of the supremacy of God doesn’t only rest on the principles of Christianity itself because we do recognize that within our country there are other religious faiths and other organizations which shares something different from Christianity itself. But where we recognize especially in the core principles and the preamble of the constitution that we’re proposing that when it comes to the understanding of God you know it is that which rests upon religious principles that can only help any nation and Belize is not excluded in that. And so we thought that a part of that which we are putting forward is to be able to recognize that.”

Additionally, GOB says the agreement reflects a mutual dedication to Belizeans’ well-being, progress, and unity.

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