As we reported in previous newscasts, the churches are against the legalization of marijuana. As a matter of fact, the Catholic and Evangelical Churches have sounded the alarm, saying that the legalization of the drug will create multiple issues in the youth population of the country. The National Evangelical Association of Belize (NEAB) pitched the idea for a referendum last week when representatives appeared on The Morning Show. The idea has taken on a life of its own and has become an official demand from the churches. NEAB issued a two-paragraph press release earlier today, saying, quote, “it should be the people of Belize to decide on turning an illegal drug over to a legal ‘commodity’ with horrendous ramifications for the future of our nation”. End of quote. Second Vice President of the association, Scott Stirm, says NEAB is looking to launch a petition on the matter.
Scott Stirm, Second VP, NEAB: “It starts with a petition which is where you get enough signatures to be able to secure for an actual referendum so all of those things are things that, you know, have to be worked out, but we’re starting with a collecting of signatures as soon as we get the forms. The forms are being worked out with the attorneys as we speak and so as soon as we get those forms, we begin mobilising together and so I understand that there’s been a five day extension given to the April 11th cutoff that was given by Senator Courtenay. So anyways, we realise it’s a big thing but I think a lot of people in Belize believe that it’s a very big thing. I think people tend to feel like the government of the day is just going to do whatever they want to do and people have become so accustomed to that but we also believe in the power of a people’s movement and referendum would probably be the purest form of a people’s movement.”
Reporter: So you said a petition is the first step. About how many signatures do you guys need and do you guys feel that you could reach that mark?
Scott Stirm, Second VP, NEAB: “I believe so. I’m a can do person so I tend to see how easy it would be for us to go about getting things done. It requires 10% of the voting population of Belize of which I believe 10% would be about 18,900, so about 19,000 so round it off to 20 but we’re shooting for 40,000 and as we saw with the Oceana referendum, you know, they disqualified thousands of ballots so we’re expecting that there might be some of that scrutiny or whatever but, um yeah, I think we can do it. If 100 people pull in 20 people each, that’s 2000 people and if we could do that in 10 different groups, we’ve got the 20,000. If 100 people could pull in 40, that’s 4,000. If we could do that in 10 different groups, that’s 40,000.”
Stirm added that the church’s position on the issue is in light with fellow church bodies nationwide.