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Apr 13, 2022

NEAB Insists There Were No Consultations on Cannabis Legalization

A concerted effort led by the churches to obtain an additional five thousand signatures needed to satisfy the threshold of registered voters in order to trigger a referendum on the cannabis legalization is making significant headway.  The Churches Referendum Team is confident that it will garner the remaining names in the days ahead, despite the position taken by the Minister of New Growth Industries that their attempt is belated.  This morning in Belize City, Pastor Louis Wade, the face of the ongoing campaign, made his rounds to convince the voting public why a referendum on such a controversial issue is necessary.  At News Five, he began by responding to the minister’s claim that the churches were indeed consulted.


Louis Wade

Pastor Louis Wade, National Evangelical Association of Belize

“The minister wanted us, as the church, to edit the bill and to make suggestions to it, but there is no way that the church can support legalization in the form that the bill prescribes it.  So what they wanted to do is to hear recommendations, they were not interested in hearing that we were opposed to it.  So the minister and his team, whenever they checked with us individually, because there was no consultation, we keep telling them don’t do it, or if you will do it, at least take it to the people first.  So they kept ignoring us all the way through.  There were no consultations, none with NEAB.  They have nothing to show where they invited us.  I have said on record, again, give us the date, give us the letter, show the people where you attempted to do any kind of consultation.  They did not.  Now that we are on the streets and hearing the stories, we can understand why they don’t want a referendum.  We can understand why he is pretending that it is too late or that we have come to… We understand his argument, we have lawyers too, but at the end of the day, the voice of the people needs to be heard on this issue and that is what the church is set on doing, to trigger a referendum where the people can clearly register their assent or dissent. We felt from the very beginning that because government seemed a little bit hell-bent on moving in this direction that at some point in time we would have asked them for a referendum.  We asked [and] they ignored us and so now we are in that process of triggering with the twenty thousand voters.  I am very hopeful, very optimistic, but I have to admit that it is very hard work, very hard work.”

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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