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Aug 26, 1998

Catholic Bishop condemns racism

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Earlier this week we reported on the death of Escandar Bedran of Cayo. Yesterday Bedran was laid to rest and the Catholic Bishop of Belize used the occasion of his funeral to reflect on recent political developments and their implications for Belize’s future. He spoke to News Five this afternoon in Belize City.

O.P. Martin, Catholic Bishop of Belize

“So the statement made by one of the politicians, speaking negatively of the mid-eastern people who are involved in politics is a form of racism. We are no strangers to racism in Belize. However, we have come a long way that ethnic groups in this country try to be tolerant of one another, to get along with one another. And I have seen some progress in this so to me it is really and truly negative for the leader in a nation to reverse our progress in racial tolerance.

Racism ought to be condemned; it’s a social stigma. Racism means we are against one another because of race or because of color or because of belonging to a special ethnic group. Racism is morally wrong.

My message to the people will be to ignore that type of negative statement, behavior and attitude. That we belong to this nation. We are at a very, very crucial period where in a free nation we can go and elect our leaders. Let us not allow racism to get into such a vital organ of our nation and that is to go and elect our leaders. We must not allow racism to come in there. And that will be my message.”

Bishop Martin and other religious leaders around the nation are asking Belizeans to pray for a peaceful balloting in tomorrow’s elections.

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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