People’s Constitution Commission Engages Public at Expo 2023

People’s Constitution Commission Engages Public at Expo 2023

While people lined up at the 2023 market Expo to buy products on sale, the People’s Constitution Commission (PCC) was at the event giving out information. Commissioners of the PCC were at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex, engaging members of the public about the ongoing efforts to reform the country’s constitution. Glenfield Dennison, vice chair of the PCC, explained that the commission saw the expo as an opportunity to extend its reach, given the event’s traditionally high attendance.

Glenfield Dennison, Vice Chairman, People’s Constitution Commission: “We are out here as a part of the continuing educational outreach campaign that the People’s Constitution Commission is having. I am here with the two deputy zone leaders for Belize District Rural and Belize District Urban. We are here because we are spreading the message of the constitutional reform process that’s ongoing, but also to let people know of the campaigns that we’re going to be having. We have a schedule of events for the Belize Rural District and for the Belize City areas, and we’re just raising awareness of the provisions of the Constitution and those campaigns that we’re going to be having. When we undertook this task, we realized based on the time that we have, that we have to do a multi-prong approach. So we’re using the social media, we’re using the online platforms, but the truth is we have to go where people are. And being here at the Expo is because the people will come here, we’re going to use that opportunity to let them know what we’re doing. And that’s important to us because it is a people-driven process. And if we do not go to the people, if we do not hear from them, then we really would not have the credibility that this occasion requires. This movement is to be driven by the people.”

As part of the PCC’s strategy to engage Belizeans in rural areas, the commission is also planning a series of meetings for villages within the Belize District. Mandela Wade, the Commissioner coordinating the visits to the various villages, told Love News that the commission has developed a schedule for engaging over thirty villages in the Belize District within the next two months, to share information and answer questions from residents. He spoke on the villages that the commission plans to visit first, and the impact the PCC is hoping to have through the initiative.

Mandela Wade, Commissioner, PCC: “So the Belize district comprises of some 34 there about villages. Basically you’re looking from Bomba to Gales Point to Rancho Dolores, right? So it’s a huge area and we are over the course of the next two months, October and November, coordinating with the different village leaders to get into those communities to communicate and bring the educational campaign to our rural citizens. Typically, you know, with rural people they tend to move into the urban areas for employment, right? And so we find that it is best to reach to our rural communities on the weekends. So we have a schedule out for the month of November, starting with the first Sunday October, the first October we’ll be in Burrell Boom. Then the following weekend we move to the village of Crooked Tree on the 7th and then on the 8th. We are in Biscayne Community Centre, taking care of Biscayne, Gardinia and Maypain. And as we move along, we will be sharing a schedule with the media on our social media platforms so that our village people can be aware of when we’re there, right? And I just want to stress the importance to our rural communities to be a part of this process because the constitution essentially sets up the framework that governs us, right? It is what is responsible for the way we go about our daily lives, right? So it’s important that we communicate this to you. It’s even more important that we get a feedback from you as to how you feel, as to what are the areas you believe we can look at, we can strengthen. So we are really coming to have a discussion with you, the good people from the villages.”

According to the PCC’s Chairman, Anthony Chanona, ninety-eight percent of Belizeans have not read the constitution. The commission is aiming at reducing that number to fifty percent, through the public education and consultation campaign launched at the end of June. The Commission is charged with making recommendations to the Government of Belize for amendments to the constitution following the 18-month consultation period. The commission’s final report is due in May 2024. 

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