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Aug 15, 2016

Will A Referendum Be Held on Supreme Court’s Section 53 Decision?

Patrick Faber

A decision on the constitutional challenge brought before the Supreme Court by Belizean gay rights activist Caleb Orozco, on the legality of Section Fifty-three of the Criminal Code, was delivered by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin last Wednesday.  The ruling in favor of Orozco serves to further polarize an already divided society on the controversial issue.  Today we asked parliamentarian Patrick Faber for his opinion on the judgment.

 

Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister

“I am still to get the opportunity to read over the judgment.  I would really like to do that before I can comment.  But I’ll say that it’s a decision for me although I have my own private viewpoint.  For me it is a decision in terms of if I am asked to participate in some decision to appeal or not appeal the judgment.  I would have to say that in that instance I would then act as an agent of the people who I serve, as oppose to giving my own personal view.  How is it that I will determine what the views of those who I represent are is something I have given great consideration to over the last few days, whether that means that, I don’t think that Facebook or social media is a good indicator although that seems to be the court of public opinion in these days.  But maybe some kind of survey or check moving around the constituency to see what the views of constituents are or maybe to the extent of us as a nation having a referendum to let the Belizean people decide how is it that they want to see us move; not only to appeal or not appeal but you know that the time is very tight, I think it’s twenty-one days since the judgment and so that doesn’t give us the kind of time for a referendum but maybe if it is that we decide to appeal or even if we don’t appeal, a referendum on whether or not Belizeans want to see our constitution amended to reflect something differently, this should be, I think it‘s such a big decision that the Belizean people should have a say and that we should not have necessarily individual leaders and lawmakers impressing on the Belizean people their own personal and individual views.”

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