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May 30, 2013

Audrey Matura-Shepherd resigns from OCEANA

Audrey Matura-Shepherd confirmed today via statement and press conference that she leaves the post as Vice President of OCEANA Belize on August twenty-second. The more pressing question is – was she forced to leave, and if so, why? The outgoing Vice President says categorically that she is leaving of her own free will, but as everybody guessed, it has its roots in the fallout from an article she wrote in the Amandala which greatly offended the gay community in Belize. Matura-Shepherd held a press conference at the Tropicana Club today and Mike Rudon has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

The setting for today’s press conference was unusual, and Audrey Matura-Shepherd made it clear right off that it was her conference and had nothing to do with Oceana. But Oceana is the hot topic, or at least what is seen as her rather abrupt departure from that entity. She says she resigned last week Thursday, and had planned to keep it secret.

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, V.P., OCEANA Belize

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“I was never asked to resign from OCEANA. OCEANA values my work deeply and I value the norms and the campaigns that they do. But there comes a point in everyone’s life when you need to make a personal choice and it was my personal choice to resign. Why? Well for some time, I knew that I would not always be there are OCEANA; I’ve shared that with you all now and then that I know I won’t always be there. When I was hired to start OCEANA, it was not even in my plan to be doing that kind of work, but you go where god leads you. So that’s where I ended up. And I always said I would only do three years. Last year, May first made three years and I was ready to leave and OCEANA begged me to stay on; renegotiated with me. And I think that at that point, I knew that I was lying to myself because my time had passed and things had to happen the way it did for me to get the message that I had to move on.”

 

In fact, she says, she had long felt that she had overstayed her time at Oceana and that there was a greater calling in her future.

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“I have tried to stay away from being a vocal person, but clearly it is my calling and I cannot hide from it anymore. But it culminated last two weeks when I did write an article in the newspaper which I do for free—and I will never stop writing because I love writing. I wrote an article in the newspaper in which I made it known that the same way there is a group of people calling themselves UNIBAM demanding that their sexual orientation be accepted, it is not unlikely that there can be another group calling themselves whatever-BAM they want to be also demanding their rights to be with animals. And I could go down the list of all the things that are criminalized in this country. I never said it to offend anyone, I never said it because I wanted to enter a debate over the issue; I’ve always written very provocatively. I never thought that I would be entering this issue, but it all had to happen because maybe I was being a coward sitting on the fence and not prepared to take a stance.”

 

But even with talk of callings and great destiny, it all boils down to the very acidic result of one article written by Matura-Shepherd which sparked a vicious response from the LGBT community in Belize.

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“I know I am very vocal, I stand on what I believe and I am assertive. But when I saw the level of attack and at the lengths that they would go to quiet people, I realized it was not about sodomy and bestiality; it was about reaching a point in this country where people will not be able to speak openly. And I feel like all my life I have fought for other people. You all know me as a member of the press trailblazing as to what you can do and say in the press. And I couldn’t see myself in a position where they would hold my organization unfairly at ransom and then I have to be a part of that. It is just not within my principle; it just goes contrary to everything that I could every live by. And they literally say that they would call on all the LGBT to come forward and denounce the work of OCEANA. That is low. So if I am the one that they are really after, I don’t see why I should stand there and let them attack an organization that is there really is here doing a fantastic job. It says right here, “Do not ever forget there are thirty thousand LGBT persons living in this country. We have the power to swing a vote where we want. You of all persons should be ashamed of yourself for your remarks. I can no longer support the cause.” It is a sad day in this country when you have to decide between one thing and the other.”

 

Matura is not going quietly into that goodnight, though, and is jumping on her Christian charger and declaring a holy way on homosexuality in Belize.

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“Me stepping away from OCEANA does not mean the fight has ended; it has just starting. I openly will speak as a Christian and I denounce any sexual orientation law in this country and I am not ashamed to say it. And those who want to sit on the fence can sit on the fence. What the people who are against me should understand is that they were safer had they left me where I was because I would have been so occupied doing the work of OCEANA. But when I see as a woman, as a mother, as a Belizean that you are prepared to destroy my job? Hello! That is low. And when you are prepared to tell me I cannot speak up, I think I draw the line there.”

 

And while she states that there was no pressure to leave Oceana, Matura-Shepherd admits that she foresaw that policy would be implemented stifling her input on burning issues. Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

Matura-Shepherd also told the media that her departure from OCEANA would not affect the pending court cases since everything has been put in place for continuity of OCEANA’s work.

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41 Responses for “Audrey Matura-Shepherd resigns from OCEANA”

  1. Saddened says:

    I have certainly not always agreed with Audrey Matura Shephard, but she has earned my respect on being bold, imaginative, and a true soldier, with her advocacy and championing of issues. Even though I fully sympathize with the discrimination that the LGBT community face, especially in Belize, I am saddened that she has been stepped on by another strong female, Lisa Shoman, who has really gone over board in her defence of the LGBT community.

  2. bzegial says:

    Stand by your beliefs Audrey! We need more people like you! Don’t let UNIBAM bring you down! The gates of hell will never prevail!

  3. OriginalWoman says:

    Cudos to you Ms. Matura-Sheperd!!!!

  4. sickntired says:

    Well audrey got it very right. More belizeans need to support her cause they all know they will be upset if the battyman them tek over the country just cause the rest too afraid to say something. If unu want to see all unu sons di tek batty continue keep quiet. And for them to be facey and contact the lady boss inna the states. This da belize and battyman no rule ya. Inna di states they love battyman so all a unu krofi betta watch unu back if dis da di road unu want to go down.

  5. loveyravatar...not says:

    i stopped reading when she said “you go where god leads you.” if the premise is BS, then everything that follows will be a network of lies. like ms. longsworth said, people are low on ethics these days.

  6. free belize says:

    first of your many supporters Mrs, Matura-Shepherd..
    Lets get working.

  7. Simone says:

    Thank you Jesus. At least the gays are good for soemthing-they rid us of this daily dose of boredom from Audrey. Belizean-where are you?-she finally shut up and went away. Now she can write all she wants, we dont have to read it or watch it and it doesnt take up TV news time to get to the next story.

  8. alley cat says:

    No doubt she was forced out or the process was sped up. I believe in “Live and Let Live”, we are all entitled to our opinions and Mrs. Shepard’s opinion is shared by many. Personally I think we have other pressing issues, where our time, effort and money should be invested. What people do under sheets is their business, different strokes for different folks. This is a new world we live in and I am trying to figure out how to maneuver through it and still hold true to what I believe in. To me treating people with respect and having respect for human life is probably more important than someone’s sexual orientation. Maybe I am not getting into the details to really understand the different ways Belizean society will be impacted by this decision, but I do know the details of poverty, crime and the need for education. Our energy and focus would be spent much better if we dealt with these other details that affect us everyday.

  9. summer says:

    I want to say thanks to Audrey M Shephard for all her work it is sad to see someone have to leave a good cause when they are being bullying. Lisa Shoman is a bully who just want her Audrey M Shephard job, sorry for you lisa shoman you have a lot to pay for…..

  10. Initiate says:

    Proud 2b Belizean says:
    May 10, 2013 at 10:19 am
    I believe Ravi Zacharias has a great response to the being born gay comments earlier.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIw6ngIqaD0

  11. deecee says:

    I applaud you Ms. Audrey! You are a true role model. When God is with us, who can be against us?

  12. Initiate says:

    O mix, must UNIBAM ever be sorry they messed with Matura! They should have left her alone for true!!!

    Attention is on you now Audrey!!! Attention is on you, and I hope you manage it well this time.

  13. Thoughtheheavensfall says:

    The world needs people who will stand for the truth and for the right ‘though the heavens fall. I salute you and the Creator be with you and use you to awaken courage in the souls of those ‘sitting on the fence.’

  14. Thoughtheheavensfall says:

    The world needs people who will stand for the truth and for the right ‘though the heavens fall. I salute you and the Creator be with you and use you to awaken courage in the souls of those of us who are ‘sitting on the fence.’

  15. NIRO says:

    THOSE 30,000 GAYS should come out of the closet and sign their name and make the list public!!!(we want proofs)!!! LISA SHOMAN likes to lie( Typical PUP). I BET there a not even 3,000 GAYS in this country. I DON’t know that for a fact, but to put numbers on a minority group that wan to change the laws of this country is so low!!!! and the other thing is that if UNIBAM thinks that they can be a deciding factor on an election, well make them bring it on because the UDP will not change the law so go ahead UNIBAM and join the PUP!! we dont need you on the RED TSUNAMI!!! AFTER ALL PUP’s R GAYS!!!

  16. Refinery says:

    Good Work Bammers; This sure helps the majority of Belizeans to be more Sensitive to your cause

  17. ohhh meeinnnn says:

    Audrey,
    lick shot, we are 1000% behind u. we know who the country of sodom is and we dont want belize to be gomorrah,. history is there and we still dont learn from it……………….the endstate will result in self destruction.

  18. Neanderthalensis says:

    Say what you want about Audrey except for one thing that you would leave you looking ignorant and hopelessly biased and subjective: that she’s a coward. Nah, bro, this lady is a fighter and unafraid to take the fight right to the enemy. I for one wish her the best and support her in her opposition to the enemy of good morals in Belize: the homosexual bloc.

  19. THE TRUTH says:

    RESPECT MRS. AUDREY MATURA SHEPERD!!!!!

  20. Refinery says:

    I guess if your Opinions reflect your organizations. Maybe All straight people should stay away from CHAPS!!

  21. tambaran says:

    Go Audrey Go. Keep the fight going. We need more people like you who fight for justice and freedom of speech for Belize. Now let us watch and see who will benefit from destroying our reefs and watch our Nation go down the sewer. Audrey for Prime Minister, I say….Hoorah for Audrey

  22. Rosalba A. Requena says:

    what does oceana have to do with unibam, except if the gays are messing up the environment, this individual should have kept her mouth shut and kept on stepping.

  23. Rough says:

    Congrats Audrey. You are setting good examples. Please run for the office of Prime Minister.

  24. tambaran says:

    Go Audrey Go. Audrey is the only person who has been fighting for justice, freedom of speech and making a stand against corruption in Belize. Let us watch this space and see who will profit from the destruction of our reefs and heritage now she’s resign. Oceanna better come up with someone as great as her or I can see them pulling out of Belize all together. Keep the fight going Audrey, there are thousands behind you. I say Audrey Matura Shepherd for Belize first woman PM….go Audrey Go….

  25. Elgin Martinez says:

    Big up to Matura-Shepherd the fire is just going to start burning they “Don’t even know it”

  26. Storm says:

    I haven’t always agreed with Oceana’s goals and projects, but I believe Audrey has been a strong and effective leader of that organization. I happen to agree with her views on morality that she has stated so far, and the nation is in a moral crisis. I hope she will apply her many talents to helping the country overcome the foreign assaults on our traditions, values, and morality.

    I hope for great things from her.

    The pressure put on her employer by the foreign homosexual front was a kind of attack on our nation and our freedoms, which I reject completely. Oceana should have rejected it, too, but they apparently lack strength of principles.

    Belize struggled long and hard to be free of foreign domination, and we must continue to struggle to remain free of re-colonization by the international homosexual movement.

  27. Refinery says:

    @ Rosalba A. Requena
    This woman was not representing Oceana when she made her comments. Holding a personal opinion has nothing to do with your organization.

  28. Common Sense says:

    1. For the first time in a long time am feeling positive that Belize is heading on track. THANK YOU Audrey. Put your name forward for PM, Belize has waited a very long time for a true leader, the support will be there.

    2. Ms. Shoman – “what comes around, goes around”. Remember.

    3. What can I and others do to assist you Audrey? Let us know when and where to begin, you have my support for the betterment of Belize any time and any place. I know there are many more of us out there that will not vote for UDPUP in it’s present guise again.

    God Bless you Audrey. Am feeling positive for Belize….make a stand, ask us for assistance, and shine for this generation and generations to come.

    Salam/Shalom/Peace

  29. Phillipa says:

    Stand behind your word Audrey we are with you all the way

  30. Initiate says:

    C. S. Lewis ‏@CSLewisDaily 29 May
    They chose cunning instead of belief. Their prison is in their minds, yet they are so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.

  31. Refinery says:

    The Bammers obviously want to drill in protected areas!!!!!! :-O

  32. Jackie says:

    Well I must firstly applaud you Ms Matura – I am glad and proud you were a professional all the way. You distanced yourself from the organization so that it will not affect it in a negative light- shows a lot of principle, morals and above all professionalism. Even though the $$ must have been good- you made that sacrifice and believe me- GOd is taking all this into account. Unlike some people who live the high life with dirty money.

    some very welcome news for the majority of Belizeans who still believe and hold dear our moral values though we do not live perfect lives.

    David and Goliath- and we know the outcome.

    God Bless Ms Matura as she takes on publicly what many of us shy away from. Ms Matura- God works in mysterious ways and answers our prayers. Keep the Faith and Be strong- there are many Belizeans who still believe in God and do pray for a better future for this country!

  33. Bear says:

    I’m with the many, many writers here who support Audrey and her moral stance. Many of us have said that there is a crying need for a new reform movement and party in Belize, maybe she can plant that seed now and lead us to a better future, with honest government. I’d join in that crusade and fight hard, for the sake of my child and the nation’s future.

  34. Whappy says:

    Audrey, you have more balls than 10 man from UNIBAM. We need more people like Audrey in this country to speak out no matter the cost for what they believe in. This should also show you how SPITEFUL these Unibam people are. I applause her for her stance, and for standing strong, and I pray that other people would learn to be as strong so that we can take back out country and make it into the wonderful place that it is capable of being.

  35. bgroovy says:

    Got to respect this lady….

  36. NY says:

    I’m all for freedom of speech…….with that being said, she should have known that the world today is now a global village, and what you say when in public especially when you represent an organization, she should have been prepared for the backlash from people who don’t share her perspective; from the organization who is paying her. She had the right to speak her mind, and the organization had the right to fire her. To all of you people who are bashing the gay community, FYI, the world is changing; people are now becoming aware that churches equal big business, and their number one job is to brain wash you and prey on your vulnerabilities, just to maintain power over you. THERE ISN’T ANYONE ON THIS BOARD, WHO CAN EXPLAIN ELOQUENTLY WHY THEY ABHOR THE GAY COMMUNITY W/OUT QUOTING THE BIBLE, which illustrates that there is no valid reason to discriminate against another fellow human just because of his/her sexual orientation…..something they have no control over….

  37. Seletar says:

    @Niro, the “30,000 gays in Belize” is part of the international homosexual propaganda story. Gay organizations in the States and Europe and with the UN have been saying for decades that “10% of all people are born gay.” So, to them the math is simple: Belize has 300,000 people, that means 30,000 of them are homosexual. Look around, do YOU see that or believe it?

    There are no facts or statistics to back up that lie, but they have been beating that phony drum for years, to “legitimize” their agenda, based on a lie.

    Factual studies say that the actual percentage, at least in the States, is less than 3%. (I say “at least in the States” because homosexuality is generally accepted there, and that means more young men and women are willing to CHOOSE to swing that way than would be the case in a more traditional society like ours).

    Hitler’s propaganda minister, Goebbels, based his entire career on the principle, “Tell a lie often enough, and people will believe it.” Same as the international homosexual conspiracy.

  38. tambaran says:

    Go Audrey Go. You are one of the few who takes a stance against corruption, environmental issues and stand up for justice in Belize. Don’t give up the fight. We need people like you to fight and defend those who cannot do so for Belize. Oceanna has suffered a great loss in your resignation and they will have a hard time finding a suitable replacement to fill your shoes. The people of Belize respect your wishes and please, please. start work on becoming our country first woman PM. Remember there are thousands behind you. Hurray for AUDREY………

  39. TDBOWIEKNIFE says:

    I LOVE BELIZE BUT JUNKY IS MY #1 stunna. Audrey is against me and him being together but he makes me so happy, he rubs TECO oil all over myself. I want to be free but people keep telling us to go back in the closet i dont like it. he is my SB-SP boyfriend!

  40. Junky says:

    I love belize too but TD is the best small guy in the world…GOB will win and TECO will be #1 oil company in the world. audrey is wierd but me n her like the same things hehe

  41. Junky says:

    I love belize too but TD is the best small guy in the world…GOB will win and TECO will be #1 oil company in the world. audrey is wierd but me n her like the same things hehe wink wink

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