On Tuesday at the second Public Hearing, and possibly the last, in which the Constitution and Foreign Affairs Standing Committee discussed with concerned bodies the proposed amendments to the criminal code of Belize, we shared with you Minister Patrick Faber’s comments on one of the most controversial issues surrounding these proposed amendments, in which Mr Faber, the chairman of the committee, openly stated that there is no hidden homosexual agenda within this bill.
“The truth is that there is no hidden agenda on the part of this bill. The only agenda the Government has, as the long-standing social workers and children and family workers will tell you, is to put in protection for the sake of out children who are abused on a daily basis.”
But even with that opening statement from Patrick Faber, there is still a lot of doubt and unease.
“Promoting the person under 16 emotional will be by the giving of advice. What happened to the parental obligation? Where are the rights and responsibilities of parents to their children in all that is mentioned in 47G? This Bill violates the National Families and Children’s Act and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. These laws are clear, and they state – Article 5 – “Governments should respect the rights and responsibilities of families to direct and guide their children, so that as they grow they learn to use their rights properly.’ The Convention does not take responsibility for children away from their parents and give more authority to Government. Part Two of the National Families and Children’s Act of Belize, 6:1 says ‘Every parent shall have parental responsibility for his child.’ I conclude by stating that this Bill cannot be passed in its present form. The implications of these amendments are injurious to children and are against parental guidance, and therefore opposed to the role and function of the family.”
Ironically, a lot of credible sources have pointed out that some parts of the bill, are damning to the same children which the bill seeks to protect.
“I’m a fairly educated person. I catch on usually, I think, pretty quick. But I don’t get it, how you say that this Bill does not have anything to do with the Sodomy Law. I mean, it looks like it’s all through it. I have to accept what you’re saying is true. I mean, your legal council has said so, but it doesn’t make sense to me, because you’ve got all these acts of sodomy, that are described in there, point after point. How can it not affect it? I this meeting is not a normal thing, then why can’t we have another meeting which is not a normal thing. This is such a serious issue in this nation, that it makes no sense to push this on through and have it passed into law, when we don’t understand it or we’re totally opposed to it.”
The meeting saw familiar faces such as Scott Stirm, Patrick Menzies, and other concerned bodies that have been following this issue. However, a lot of them were not allowed to speak on the grounds that their concerns had already been raised at the previous open discussion which took place last week. Quite understandable as the questions raisedby some of those more articulate public figures were addressed at the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting. Minister Faber assured the public then that the committee will listen to their concerns and according to the Minister they needed not to feel uncertain. However, half way into the discussion, one Tony Rosado, who seemed to be in conjunction with Patrick Menzies, was cut short in his presentation. Patrick Menzies and his followers walked out of the meeting enraged, leaving the auditorium half empty.
Hon. Patrick Faber: “Sir, I will have to ask you to cease. Do you have comments dealing with the Criminal Code amendment Bill 2013?
Hon. Patrick Faber: “If not, I will ask you to stop and if you insist on standing there doing something contrary to what we are doing, then I will have to ask the police to remove you or Sir, we are going to deal with the Bills…okay, policeman can you remove him Mr. Pastor? I received it by emails this morning, Sir. Thank you; I received it by emails this morning, Mr. Menzies…I did…Pastor? Oh, just a second, Pastor let’s…those people who want to leave so that we can have quietness”.