LGBT group questions section of constitution acknowledging “Supremacy of God”
- Government & PoliticsReligion & SpiritualityYouth, Women, Society & Lifestyle
- May 16, 2023
- No Comment
While the report from the US State Department has given good reviews on the religious freedoms in Belize, there is a sector in the country that is questioning the religious principles that our country was founded. The LGBTQ representatives, who sit on the People’s Constitution Commission (PCC) have expressed an issue with a portion of Belize’s constitution that acknowledges “the Supremacy of God”. The members of the group, which is tasked with presenting the government with a list of recommendations from the consultation process, have suggested that the phrase be removed. It’s a discussion that Leader of the Opposition, Moses “Shyne” Barrow, says he personally does not support but should be decided by the people.
Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “You have to forgive me I am not an atheist. I am a believer in the supremacy of God, creator of the universe, whatever you wish to describe the source of life. Human beings as we’ve seen have created AI, artificial intelligence that’s what we created. My mother and father created me. There has to be an intelligent force that created the universe and historically we have called that for God. So that will never be archaic for me and I don’t think it should be but again these are issues that the Constitution Commission should look at because if we come to a point where the majority of the country feels that we should remove God from our constitution and from our way of life it is unfortunate but in a democracy you go with what the majority feel but wanting to have a more inclusive society, an equal society does not mean you start to reverse discriminate. So there may be ways to be more inclusive of the other forms of belief and religion but certainly I would not be a proponent of removing the supremacy of God. Even the scientists, even Einstein, even Darwin you know when they describe the Big Bang and evolution they all trace back to an intelligent designer of the universe, the planets etc. So I believe in the supremacy of God and I believe that our entire history of existence has been divine intervention whether it be the battle of Saint George’s Caye, whether it be having a bloodless revolution to get our independence and whether it be how we continue to survive through successive governments that have not been able to deliver on the promise of independence.”
Also weighing on the discussion was the Minister of Religious Affairs and Constitutional Reform, Henry Charles Usher, who stated that he believes the topic should be brought to the Belizean people for them to decide on whether such a move would sit right with the majority Christian populace.
Henry Charles Usher, Minister, Constitutional and Political Reform: “What is important is that the people of Belize, the Belizean citizens are informed about the constitution. They need to learn about their constitution. And the most critical aspect of this People’s Constitution Commission is to educate the Belizean people on the constitution. You are right the supremacy of God is enshrined in our constitution, in our preamble. I support it being there, I certainly feel that it should be there. We are a nation that believes in God and believe in the supremacy of God and I think it’s something that should be there but it’s a decision that the Belizean people will have to make and I think that is important part. The PCC will not make decisions on behalf of the Belizean people. Their job is to educate the Belizean people, consult with the Belizean people, collate all of those different recommendations and observations coming from the Belizean people and put together a report that then goes to the National Assembly and at the end of this process it is hoped that a referendum is had to the Belizean people again have the final say. And I want to encourage the Belizean people to pay attention, be a part of the process, learn about the constitution. I think it’s critical that we learn about our constitution, we know how this country is governed, we know how laws are made, how decisions are made. It’s critical that we move away from a representative democracy to a participatory democracy where the people participate in the governing of this nation and that’s what we want to achieve with this PCC and I’m sure that the chairman and all the members, the delegates of the PCC will be going out to the communities and not only educating them on what’s in the constitution but getting feedback as well as to certain areas that may need to improve, change, whatever. The important part is that this is a people’s constitution so I’ve always said that even if the constitution remains as is, that there are no changes in the constitution – I’m sure there will be but if there is no change none at all just getting the Belizean people to talk about the constitution, to be discussing the constitution, to learn about their constitution is a step in the right direction.”