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Jun 1, 1999

Laws for children and women to be changed

In their weekly Cabinet meeting, amendments were made to a bill to amend the Criminal Code. The bill is designed to protect women and children. Among the proposed changes are increasing the age for which children are considered capable of committing a crime from 7 to 9 in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Penalties for the carnal knowledge of a female child will be increased to reflect the seriousness of the offence, and the common law presumption that boys under 14 are incapable of rape will be abolished. Women will be better protected under the law by the introduction of the offense of marital rape, which is not recognized by the current legislation.

In the Ministry of the Environment, Cabinet received an update on the Solid Waste Management Project which is moving into its third phase. The project is designed to alleviate environmental and health problems caused by indiscriminate garbage dumps or the disposal of solid waste near mangroves, along roads or streams. Under the Ministry of Economic Development, fiscal incentives will be granted to WATCH Limited which will establish and eco-resort in the Monkey River area of the Toledo District. The resort will employ almost 40 people at the end of the second year. Cabinet also reviewed an evaluation of exercise Millennium Breeze carried out by the National Emergency Management Organization. The countrywide exercise was designed to bring out the areas in need of improvement in Belize’s disaster management plan.

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