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Sep 16, 2020

PM Barrow Explains Why Equal Opportunity Bill was Rescinded

Dean Barrow

The controversial Equal Opportunities Bill has been removed from the table.  As we reported on Tuesday, Cabinet decided not to proceed with the motion, despite majority of its members agreeing on the proposed legislation.  This afternoon, PM Barrow told the media that government rescinded following a last-minute call from Bishop Philip Wright, head of the Belize Council of Churches, who informed the prime minister that his organization would not supported that piece of law.  Here’s how he rationalized government’s eleventh-hour decision.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“By and large, Cabinet felt that this is a good bill, this is a necessary bill, it‘s an overdue bill and Cabinet was very upset at having to make the decision not to proceed with it.  Why did that decision come?  The churches, principally, and I am not talking about the Evangelical Churches,  We always knew what their position would be and I think we were prepared to contest that on the basis to clear up the misconception that they obviously had.  It was never any question of trying to rush through the bill on the same day to do the three sittings at once.  And so we felt that since there would be time for people to make their views known at a House Committee meeting, we were handling it the proper way, but Monday night, before the Tuesday Cabinet meeting, Bishop Philip Wright from the mainstream churches, from the Belize Council of Churches messaged me to say that they could not, the Council of Churches could not support the bill as it now stands.  That‘s game set and match.  We‘re not going to go against all the churches, the Evangelicals plus the Belize Council of Churches.”

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