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Oct 17, 2013

Public consultations on the amendment to the Criminal Code

On October eight, the Constitution and Foreign Affairs Committee met in Belmopan. On the table were amendments to the Criminal Code, officially proposed to strengthen the protection of children against sexual offenders. It’s the worthiest possible goal, say government and social proponents – and the churches agree. They just don’t exactly agree on some of the wording in the amendments. They claim the wording leaves gaping loopholes in the Act. They’re passionate about it, and when the Standing Committee met, representatives of the churches made presentations were there to speak out. That led to an open forum in Belmopan where the Committee got input on the proposed amendments to the Criminal Code. It passed under the radar on Tuesday because of immigration developments, but today Pastor Scott Stirm of Belize Action told News Five more than three hundred persons attended, and he is cautiously optimistic.

 

Scott Stirm, Belize Action

Scott Stirm

“There was a presentation from C.E.O., Judith Alpuche, from Human Development and then they had the drafters from SolGen Office made presentations. We actually went through every page of the amendment bill and every amendment and looked at the questions that had been raised. Again I believe it was a good statement that they are taking it seriously. When we are dealing with politicians and political processes, actions speaks louder than words, but I am confident that there is going to be some good positive action off of the process. I think due to a lot of the surrounding circumstances that are taking place in other areas in the government maybe that has helped influence a greater eagerness to listen to the voice of the people. In the bottom line, consultation is an extremely important part of democracy, but I’m not so much skeptical as much as concerned—and all of us that are involved with this—but the topper was umm, the expanding of rape and just some of the wording in that. so I think they have seen that they can tighten up the wording to close down any loopholes with the target goal being to nail sexual offenders and we absolutely support a hundred and ten percent those goals and objectives. It’s before…the standing committee is taking the input that they are getting; they are going to continue to get more input. They said that they have consulted with the bar association so they are going to be getting some good legal feedback on that. And so like I said that’s why I feel positive. If they were just gonna pile through, I think we would have a real problem on our hands. But they seem to be very open to feedback and to make adjustments. They stated verbally—I mean actions speak louder than words—but they stated verbally that there are no other agendas that they are trying to implement through this except to nail sex offenders.”

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