Belize Can demonstrates against GOB and UB for their promotion of the Gender Policy

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There was a demonstration Tuesday in the Capital City. The demonstration was organized by Belize Can against the Government of Belize and the University of Belize for their stand and promotion of Gender related issues. Shadel Young reports.

Shadel Young:

The weather didn’t fair out too well for Tuesday’s demonstrations, however, that did not deter some 150 persons from taking to the streets of the Capital in protest of ongoing gender related issues. The first – the 2013 National Gender Policy.

Professor Patrick Menzies – President, Belize Can:

vlcsnap-2013-08-21-11h06m02s158In the beginning the decision was, right here in Belmopan, that we ask the Government to retract the policy.  The PM decided, ‘I won’t.’  So then, some of the leaders decided, ‘Well then modify.’  So the PM says, ‘I will look at it.’  So the church says ‘we will submit to you some changes we’d like to see .’  The PM said, ‘OK, I will look at those.’  The Prime Minister never said, ‘I will sign off on everything you want.’  He won’t do that.  That would be political suicide.  In any way, no one would do anything of that nature.  So no one knows what the PM will agree with and what he will reject. 

So ultimately, what is it that BelizeCan’s President and his allies are seeking? Retract or freeze he says. He explains.

Professor Patrick Menzies – President, Belize Can:

He said, ‘I will look at it.’  We respect that he will look at it. We respect that he will make his decision.  But we also respect that we can’t tell the Prime Minister, ‘You must accept these 99 changes.’  We can’t tell him that.  But if we want to see what’s going to happen, we must therefore say, ‘Retract.  While it’s retracted, modify, or freeze and modify, but don’t let this thing continue.’  If the Prime Minister said today, ‘I will freeze every section of the Gender Policy, until we have looked at it and decided, with the people concerned, what we will do,’ there will be no more marches that I would be a part of.  Nobody should change what they did from last year till now, until the PM, and those that will sit with him, have finalized an agreement on this is how we go forward. That’s all we are saying.

Following a time of prayer and worship, the group made its way to the University of Belize. There, they staged yet another protest in objection of what according to Mr Menzies is a soon to be implemented Gender Department at the university.

Professor Patrick Menzies – President, Belize Can:

UB is the place that we’re told, from inside sources, that they’re creating a gender department. A few weeks ago they passed out copies of the policy to the staff members,  so the staff can be familiarized with it. How can you pass out a document that the PM is looking at to modify?:  It doesn’t work.  Come on, it’s common sense.

We are marching to UB to say no to the gender department at UB.  Our young people do not deserve to have one class added to them, to keep on ripping them off, and then add another class , a gender class, that’s not necessary.

Now as you may know, the Gender Policy makes provisions for a redefinition of the term gender, no longer just the traditional male and female. So what would this supposed Gender Department at the university entail? We asked Patrick Menzies.

Professor Patrick Menzies – President, Belize Can:

No, I have not been able to figure it out, but I have a little bit of common sense.  A little bit of common sense tells me that if the university has already passed out a unapproved policy, ( according to the PM he’s going to look at it ) there is no way we want any part of that Gender Policy taught.  That’s why we’re here. 

Now after our interview with Mr Menzies, we still weren’t clear what exactly is the Gender Department.  Speaking with Director of Public Information at the University, Selwyn King, he stated that there is no such thing.

Selwyn King – Director of Public Information UB:

vlcsnap-2013-08-21-12h30m00s112I’m not aware of the establishment of any gender policy department, that’s first of all. I don’t know what homework he has done. But in terms of any gender policy documents circulating to members of staff, have you read the gender policy document? If he has read it that means he should protest against himself,  because I think anybody is at liberty to read the gender policy document. I read it on the internet. I haven’t received any on my desk, so I don’t know exactly what Mr. Menzies is referring to.

 

By the time our meeting with Mr King was concluded, the group of protesters were arriving at the gates of the institution. Their permit did not allow them to parade on the campus grounds, so they set up shop in front.

Professor Patrick Menzies – President, Belize Can:

This is Belize.  We’re a sovereign nation. This land does not belong to America.  It does not belong to the UN.  It does not belong to the European Union. 

Following the demonstration, we again approached Professor Menzies about the alleged Gender Department. And after reiterating to him the University’s response, this is what he had to say.

Professor Patrick Menzies – President, Belize Can:

So if they’ve  changed their mind, that is fine.  We have inside sources here at UB, and dealing with the lady that was in charge, telling us what was going on.  You see, according to the actual Gender Policy, the Gender Policy states that they will be teaching this at every level of the Education system.   This is our highest seat of education for our nation.  So therefore, even if they’re not going to do that, thank you Jesus, if they’re not thank God, but we’re telling them, ‘Don’t even try to think about it.’  We’re telling them, ‘We’re going to start here, but you don’t touch our primary school, don’t touch our high school, don’t touch our pre-Ks, because we won’t take it.’   If the University of Belize will never do it, and I have staff members that say they were given a copy of the Gender Policy, if they have changed their mind and they say ‘We just want to sensitize you,’ that’s fine.  Thank you, Jesus.

There were wide speculations as to why the Alliances of Churches, the Evangelical Association and Belize Action were not represented at today’s affair, seeing that they were present in the series of constitutional marches held in July and August. That is because those marches were hosted by the respective local churches in partnership with the Alliances, Belize Action and other stakeholders. Tuesday’s march was a unilateral event organized by BelizeCan.

Reporting for PlusNews, Shadel Young.

There were wide speculations as to why the Alliances of Churches, the Evangelical Association and Belize Action were not represented at today’s affair, seeing that they were present in the series of constitutional marches held in July and August. That is because those marches were hosted by its respective local churches, in partnership with the Alliances, Belize Action and other stakeholders. Today’s march was unilateral event organized by President of BelizeCan, Patrick Menzies. The media asked Mr Menzies to further explain who or what entities make up the organization, Belize Can.

Professor Patrick Menzies – President, Belize Can:

I like the question, and because of what we do , I will never and will not answer it.  I will tell you, we have people that are in this Government, senior folks in this Government, that support us.  We have people inside the Government, and we have these people here.  All those Pastors are part of the alliance of leaders and ministers, they’re a part of us.  So basically I will not release a list.  You see, Belizeans aren’t stupid. Everybody out here knows people have been victimized.  I will not release a list of Belize Can members.  I know what’s going on.  We are here because we know what’s going on, and we’re saying, ‘No more victimization.  We are not going to take it!’

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