Belize
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Seven Months In, P.C.C. Holds Orientation Workshop

Jun 20, 2023

Seven Months In, P.C.C. Holds Orientation Workshop

Today, and for the next two days, the People’s Constitution Commission is holding an orientation workshop where presentations will guide the P.C.C.’s Public Outreach Education strategy and Manuals. The aim is to understand the role and importance of thematic committees, to establish a working relationship with the media and to adopt a diaspora outreach strategy. The P.C.C. was established seven months ago with a goal to revise the Constitution of Belize – an effort that, when completed, will provide recommendations to the Prime Minister, who will then take it to cabinet before it is presented to the House of Representatives. A referendum process to poll Belizeans on whether or not they want constitutional reform precedes this. During today’s session, the roles of commission as well as that of the commissioners were discussed.

Darrell Bradley

Darrell Bradley, Attorney-at-law

“Looking at what exists, appreciating the constitution as it exists and appreciating what is in there, what is good about the existing constitution. How did it come about? What are the historical, cultural, ideological inputs that are in the existing Belize Constitution? How does that define us as a people? The second thing is looking at the deficiencies in the Belize Constitution? What are some of the weaknesses in the existing Belize Constitution? What are some of the gaps in relation to rights? What are some of the areas that the constitution does not address? For example, I noted this in one of the documents that were circulating as I was sitting down and reading. But our constitution speaks about political rights. We have the right to vote, we have the freedom of religion, we have the freedom of assembly. We have certain political rights as it relates to people being arrested, your right to due process, [and] a fair trial. So that we speak a lot about political rights. But when you speak about social and economic rights, those are areas that our constitution does not really go into for practical purposes. And a lot of constitutions don’t do that; some constitutions do. So when you look at the second important area in terms of this review is well what are some of the gaps that exist in our constitution? And what are some of the things that we feel need to be addressed that are not addressed in the constitution? And the third important area is what do we want to achieve? What is it that we want the constitution to say as an expression of our values, our identity, our system of government; the areas of accountability and rule of la?.”

Anthony Chanona

Anthony Chanona, Chair, People’s Constitution Commission

“There is a referendum act, as you are aware. There is a certain threshold that must be met of registered electors and then that has to be fifty percent plus one. But you have to have, if I am not mistaken, sixty percent of the registered electors and then you have a simple majority of fifty percent plus one. The final report will embody the views of the people and that will be presented to the prime minister. The prime minister then takes that to the cabinet and then to the house.”