Yesterday, the nationwide series of Constitutional March continued in Belize City, the turnout was impressive, with more than a thousand persons, but what caught the attention of many was the diversity of those taking a stand for the Constitution of Belize and demonstrating their grievances with the 2013 Revised National Gender Policy. Persons have tried to label the meetings as a church effort; however, Tuesday’s march dispelled that notion.- Some of the who’s who not affiliated with church organizations included Zenaida Moya, former Mayor of Belize City, Paul Rodriquez, former Ombudsman of Belize, Patrick Menzies of BelizeCan, one of the primary organizers of the Constitutional marches, Stephen Okeke, accomplished sculptor, author and entrepreneur. Others include Paco Smith., political personality and social commentator, Geovanni Brackett, President of COLA, Lascelle Arnold, businessman and community activist and commentator, Former Fire Chief Mr. Baiza, Arthur Saldivar, lawyer and political personality, Sharon Pitts, lawyer and national and activist Yolanda Schakron, community activist. We caught up with COLA’s head man Geovanni Brackett.
Geovanni Brackett – President, COLA:
Our executive at COLA believes there needs to be modification within the Gender Policy. It’s clear that thousands of people are opposed to this document, The Government needs to come back to the negotiating table with the churches and other people who are advocating their opposition against the document.
Clearly the organizers of these marches have their 35 points that they are opposing. We just support two things where the Gender needs to be defined, specifically meaning a male and a female.
Echoing COLA’s sentiment on the Policy is Paho Smith. He says while there are parts of the document that is commendable, it’s provisions such as that seeking to redefine gender that contradicts traditional beliefs.
With respect to the Gender Policy, like most of the things we see nowadays, the Devil is in the details. There’s a lot of flowery language in there that if interpreted in layman’s terms you’ll see whereby there’s a particular agenda that’s being pushed. It’s an agenda that is contrary to the foundations on which this nation was founded. The Gender Policy in totality is not a bad thing. There are certain elements that depending on one’s interpretation, and I believe that my interpretation is spot on, They’re trying to redefine gender and things of that nature, and when you do that, that becomes very dicey. It becomes very tricky in terms of traditional values. I believe that it’s very critical and, as you said, there will always be people of divergent views. One of the things though that I like about this gathering is that it’s non-violent. We’re not preaching hatred. We’re just basically voicing our difference of opinion when it comes to the Gender Policy.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow has gone on record saying that Government will not withdraw the policy, but is open for amendments. Well, these amendments says Brackett and Smith, and what remains in the policy ought to come by way of a national referendum.
There’s no question that individuals of divergent views have been around for centuries, and that will continue. In terms of this issue though, because of our system of governance I believe that what’s going to happen after this, people in positions of influence within the Government are going to have to take a stand, or, and I’m always for improving our system of governance, why not take this to referendum? Why not let the people decide, hear what the people actually say. After all, this is the foundations on which our system of governance is founded. That is a democracy. We need to hear from the people.
Geovanni Brackett – President, COLA:
Should we have the right to alter education and life. We should not have any foreign interest dictating what our norms should be. If our Constitution is going to be changed or challenged, let that be done in a referendum.