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Oct 19, 2022

National Kriol Council Furious After Being Excluded from P.C.C.

The exclusion of the National Kriol Council from the People’s Constitution Commission has raised the ire of the organization that represents the Creole community in Belize.  Despite publicly announcing that the representative body would have a seat at the table, the news is tonight that they have been left out.  This, notwithstanding the submission of names for the NKC’s representatives on the commission.  Attorney Anthony Sylvestre and UB lecturer Adelia Young were selected to sit on the working group.  On Monday, the People’s Constitution Bill was brought the House of Representatives for second reading.  Before then, the Kriol Council had been informed that it was not included in the revised schedule of the bill.  Subsequently, the organization reached out to the Director of the Good Governance Unit who explained via email that the exclusion was an oversight, further stating that changing the bill would, “require it going back to the House Committee and would delay its passing another couple months, so we are going to recommend it go to the house as is…” Contrary to the reassurance, however, the National Kriol Council was left out by Prime Minister Briceño during Monday’s house meeting, much to the council’s dismay.  The National Kriol Council reiterates that there are over a hundred thousand persons who identify as Creole living in Belize.  It is now calling for the Briceño administration to honor its commitment to the NKC and take urgent measures to amend the schedule to the People’s Constitutional Commission Act to include the National Kriol Council.  For context, here’s an exchange between Minister of Culture Francis Fonseca and Opposition Leader Shyne Barrow.


Shyne Barrow

Shyne Barrow, Leader of the Opposition [File: October 18th, 2022]

“The goal is to protect rights and to expand rights, so that we don’t find ourselves in a position where rights are being taken away because we live in a democracy. We live in a nation of freedom, a nation where the rule of law trumps everything. So it really has to be that we are looking at how best we can protect the rights of all of our citizens – equal rights, all of their rights to end discrimination, to make access to justice as the Minister of Education mentioned earlier and I must say that in the House Committee meetings I raised issues with the committee and the Minister of Political Reform was there and I am satisfied, cautiously, that the committee will follow through in ensuring that there is as much inclusion as practical.”


Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education [File: October 18th, 2022]

“This is a historic bill, a historic opportunity for us as a people.  I think it provides a unique opportunity for us, for all Belizeans to engage in this process, to have your voices heard. We say it a lot of times that we have people on social media who complain about different areas of governance and that’s been the case for years and years. Now we have an opportunity to engage in sharing your views on how you would like to see Belize better governed. All of us as citizens of this country should recognize this opportunity, embrace it, take full advantage of it. Let us not squander our opportunity to make meaningful change in the governance structures of our country.  We now have an opportunity to look at the Constitution and the structures that underpin that constitution and make fundamental change if that is what we desire to do.”

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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