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Aug 23, 2011

Church compromises with government on 9th Amendment

Leroy Flowers

The Bar Association and the Chamber of Commerce initially were against the ninth; they are yet to pronounce their positions on the new version. The opposition from the churches, however, proved to be too much to ignore and the government has taken out offensive or contentious language from the bill that barred access to the courts. So the president of the Council of Churches says the council now supports the Ninth.

Canon Leroy Flowers, President, Council of Churches

“There will be changes to the bill where sections will be deleted—the language which were in the first place very frightening and coarsive and restrictive to us.

We’re talking about 69-3, the second half 69-3 will be deleted. And 145-1b will be deleted and 145-2 will be deleted altogether.”

Jose Sanchez

“And those are the lines that say it can’t be challenged in Court?”

Canon Leroy Flowers

“And so now of course there are those argue that still does not say anything at all. We have to be honest with ourselves; this was one of the major concerns that we had. We met with the Prime Minister in good faith. We shared a respectful dialogue on the matter. He and his government are the ones who has the authority and they have offer to take those out of the bill. Now in good faith, you can’t expect that they will do something and we don’t do anything. And so as a result of that we have given our consent to the bill. Now the Prime Minister has made it perfectly clear that when the bill goes back to the national assembly, those will be retracted and in the consultations, we will be told that those sections will not be debated because they will be retracted. But also I think it provides an avenue and opportunity for us as a nation and a people to get into meaningful dialogue. What I would like to see quite honestly from the churches is that the legal people, the political arms of the political parties will sit down and be rational in this thing. The experience of two weeks ago at the civic should never be repeated again. It was so demeaning as a people to be a part of that, but that was what was chosen and we had no alternative. I am hoping that with the Prime Minister and his government opening the door for a dialogue, I’m hoping now that all the stakeholders will be willing to articulate in a respectful manner because at the end of the day, remember that it is the government. And yes, we can all jump up and do what we want to do and say what we want to say, but if we want to be governed properly, then we have got to be willing to be a part of the process.”

Reverend Flowers also said that he hopes that the future consultations would continue without the shouting and disrespect that was shown at the first session.

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4 Responses for “Church compromises with government on 9th Amendment”

  1. subKonshus says:

    I think Canon Flowers and the Council of Churches made a grave mistake when they agreed to the amendments without seeing the amended version first. All GOB wanted was for an interest group to support this amendment. Hence the reason why by Monday morning, with haste they sent out their press release claiming “The Council of Churches are in support of the 9th”. That’s all they wanted the to say. Don’t get me wrong, the council of Churches did a good thing in consulting with GOB on their reservations, but I think they spoke too fast. They should have reiterated and insisted on seeing the revised version before they stated a new position. It would now be impossible for them to go back on their word regardless of what the amended version says. As far I understand, they agreed to what will be deleted, but they have not agreed on what will be added. And in no uncertain, terms, the PM said additional language will be added to safeguard the bill…or to put it bluntly, “The spirit of the Bill will be maintained”. Moreover, the Council of Churches consulted with the Bar Association before they made their decision in not supporting the bill. So it would have been logical for them to have consulted with Bar Association about the final amendments again before they changed their position. Again I firmly believed that the only think GOB wanted was for an interest group to lend support to the bill. It appears that the Council of Churches did due diligence when they chose not to support the bill which they were able to read for themselves, but with haste they were willing to change their position on something that has not even been presented in writing. That does not make any sense to me. In conclusion, it really means the the Counsel of Churches is now supporting the Government, regardless of the final amendment to the 9th.

  2. rod says:

    council of churches is a joke they were probably offered money or land to go along with this dispicable change barrow wants to implement you should be ashamed of yourselves churches you preach one thing and do something else with this law there will be no pardon for anyone and you go along with this you should be ashamed of your position i guess money speaks louder than religion in belize now. well we should all picket the churches as well as the gov.

  3. Ricky Malthus says:

    Come on LEE ROY, Belizeans gave you credit for being reasonable because your are a man of the cloth. Now, we want you, if you are not an invertebrate, to tell Barrow that you were too hasty to declare all clear. It is an old trick the voodoo practioners use to perform on their silly neighbors which was to isolate them from each other to gain information to silence others who wanted to stop paying for voodoo practices. So LEE ROY, we will forgive you but by tomorrow morning , you must repent or else heaven will closed up against you and all unbelievers. GO to, Now!!

  4. Steve says:

    The council of churches is a surugate of the ACB. Better watch it. The council’s unpremeditated decision will lead Bzeans to an act similar to the JIM JONES scenario. It’s likely that people will stop trusting in their church leaders. The council of churches should be the last to jump into Barrow’s band wagon. They have failed and are continuing to fail the nation, as the Amandala says. Power to the people!

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