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Mar 6, 2014

The vibe on the ground at the rally

The rally got plenty attention; a lot of it even before today. Politicians weighed in, and so did social activists, humanitarian organizations, the B.N.T.U., anti-gay protesters, gender-policy dissenters and even the mighty Roman Catholic Church. But today, all attention was directed on center stage, so Mike Rudon took to the outskirts to get the vibe on the ground. Here’s that story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

It is a first of its kind initiative, and while it met with criticism, derision, rejection and even condemnation, it certainly got participation….very positive participation. His party blasted the rally on Wednesday, basically saying it was an expensive but meaningless affair…but former PUP leader John Briceño was up front and center today, and not afraid to speak his mind.

 

John Briceño

John Briceño, Orange Walk Area Representative

“Today, I’m here to support the women, and I must add also my wife is here as a speaker, and I have to come here to show her the support and that I am proud of her and I am proud of all the women, of the work that they have done for this great country, Belize.”

 

Reporter

“So will you get in trouble for being out here today?”

 

John Briceño

“I don’t think so. I think the party is understanding…our party is an inclusive party…our party believes that yes, the party may take a certain position but at the end of the day we are individuals and we believe that if we believe strongly about something that we should be able to stand up and speak in favour of what you truly believe in.”

 

The twenty-thousand strong rally has been promoted as a movement to empower women….at time for their voices to be heard, and a time for politics to be put aside. So while politicians were on hand, politics was put on the backbench.

 

Lisel Alamilla

Lisel Alamilla, U.D.P. Minister

“I think this is an event that we should celebrate as women. It is an opportunity to demonstrate that as women we can come together and really focus on the challenges that we face and I think this is what this is about. Those who choose to view it differently…that is totally their prerogative.”

 

Reporter

“How is this, and I’m just going by the main criticism…how are women being empowered by being here?”

 

Lisel Alamilla

“Well the idea of this really is to bring women together and to start to plant the seeds and to create the awareness that as women we need to unite and go back to our communities so that we can mobilize the women at all levels of our society to action…”

 

Herman Longsworth

Herman Longsworth, U.D.P. Minister

“I am quite comfortable with my masculinity and I am never threatened by women. And I believe that the time has come for us to embrace the principle of women as equals to men…I really believe that.”

 

There has been, like we said, criticism of the event…much of it from the church and from politicians. Today those who attended had responses for both those sectors.

 

David Goff,

Reverend David Goff, Former President, Methodist Church

“I know there have been those who have come out strongly…there have been those dissenting voices. In some respects it’s unfortunate that has turned out to be so, but I guess we have to respect the views of others…to each his own. Yet I think everybody should know at the same time that those voices do not represent the whole church and that there are other persons in the church and other church leaders who see things differently and so who feel that such a move as this is important, so it’s good to be a part of this twenty-thousand strong women’s rally.” 

 

Herman Longsworth

“I know that there has been a lot of criticism. I will not disrespect anybody who has criticized. I simply want to say that if they can do better, then come out and do so.”

 

And for some, it wasn’t only about empowerment…it was about using the forum to send a message about critical concerns affecting women and children. Patty Arceo’s nephew was killed early this morning, his body riddled with bullets. She says the grief she feels at his cruel murder is what inspired her attendance here and her message today.

 

Patty Arceo

Patty Arceo, P.U.P. Political Officer

“Left, right and center our young men are being killed. Our young people, children are suffering from all of this…families are suffering. But what are we going to do about all of this…just say oh my, oh no, it’s your nephew, it’s your son, it’s your daughter. NO. It is time to stand up and I take the platform today to call on the relevant authorities to start doing your work today. Don’t wait until elections are coming. Do your work today.”

 

A powerful message, fitting for what was a very powerful showing of woman-power today….Mike Rudon for News Five.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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4 Responses for “The vibe on the ground at the rally”

  1. Elgin martinez says:

    @ Herman Langsworth Your statement is contradictory.

  2. Lord LOL says:

    If the organizers were to have this rally on a weekend, i guarantee they will double their numbers that have had on Thursday.
    Speaking of numbers. what is the number of total attendance? under 2K?

  3. Concern says:

    So Herman never embrace his wife as equal until yesterday 4/Mar/2013?

  4. Jesus says:

    Politicians and media need to do their work with professionalism on a daily basis.

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