People’s Constitution Commission Engages Belizeans through Education Campaign
Over the next few months the People’s Constitution Commission (PCC) will be using various means to engage with Belizeans and share information about the Constitution. The PCC collaborated with the Council of Churches today to hold a lecture on the Rights and Freedoms guaranteed by the constitution. The Keynote speaker at the lecture, Professor Robert Destro, produced a summary version of the constitution which the PCC will be disseminating throughout the education Campaign. PCC Chairman Anthony Chanona told Love News that the commission will also be rolling out another tool at lectures and other events, to get feedback from participants.
Anthony Chanona, Chairman PCC: “But what is important with this lecture today is that we have collaborated with the Statistical Institute of Belize to produce what we call a citizens survey. And so at each lecture, at each lecture we take the opportunity of a captive audience, people who are not speaking behind a microphone but have thoughts in their head, to distribute the citizens forum and ask them to respond to it. What will this do? At the end of this session we will collect this, take this back to the Statistical Institute of Belize, and they will process the data and tell us what all these 392 people in this room were thinking about their country. Where are they as a base? That is then the way we inform how to educate because they will tell us what they don’t know.”
Also present at the lecture today was attorney, Dickie Bradley, who produced an abbreviated version of Professor Destro’s constitution summary, which focuses primarily on the preamble of the constitution. He told Love News why he decided to make his focus on the preamble.
Richard “Dickie” Bradley, Attorney: “The Preamble is an integral part of the Constitution even where it is printed now, because there is a view that has grown up, originally came from India which is the world’s largest democracy. But it has gotten into the Commonwealth, gotten into the Caribbean, and it has gotten into Belize the doctrine that you can’t shave off, you can’t reduce the Constitution to be something which it was not in its original formation. You can’t tamper with the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people of Belize. You can include, you can add, you can make it better. You can say, our people have a right to health care. It means we’re going to have to find the money to make sure they have the medicine and get access to good doctors and nurses. You can say in the Constitution of Belize that it is a fundamental right of the people of this country receive an education all the way to university. You can make education a right. Imagine if all our people were fully educated.”
The PCC launched its education and consultation campaign yesterday, as part of its mandate to develop recommendations for constitutional amendments to the Government of Belize. The Commission is scheduled to issue a final report to government in May 2024.