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Aug 25, 2016

No Turning Back On Section 53, Says P.M. As He Goes After Teachers’ Union

Dean Barrow

In spite of the protest that took place on Tuesday while he was out of the country, and the one he faces when he goes to the House on Friday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow says government will not change course. The government has said it will not be appealing Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin’s decision on Section Fifty-Three of the Criminal Code to the Court of Appeal. While the Prime Minister expected the evangelical community to be opposed, the release by the Belize National Teachers’ Union this week left the usually loquacious Barrow in a rare flustered mood – and appealing to God himself.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“While, even with all the clarifications made, there are going to be in particular the Evangelical churches who will not agree with the position we have taken, in other cases, so much of the criticism, so much of the disagreement with our course of action is based on misinformation. I looked at the release put out by the teachers – my God! They say that, what, “before we take it to the House, before we do anything about the suggested amendment…” – my God! There’s nothing to go to the House, there is nothing the Government is doing – this is a decision of the court that has struck down Fifty-three, it has already happened; but, that is what we really worries me, that if at the level of teachers, those who are in charge of educating our children, of training our young minds, if they can so fundamentally misunderstand what has happened, then you see the difficulties I’m dealing with.”

 

The P.M. repeated that government does not believe it stands a chance of winning on appeal; is satisfied that the decision is limited to narrow views and does not open the door for same-sex marriage and other worries of the churches; and, that the churches have the option of directly appealing to the Supreme Court for leave to appeal. For their part, the churches say that of the attorneys they have spoken to, none believe that an interested party to a case has a right to appeal the result of that case.

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