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Aug 11, 2023

B.D.F. Engaged by the P.C.C. on Constitutional Reformation

The rollout of the education campaign by the Peoples’ Constitution Commission began in June and will continue through to September, which has been designated as Constitution Month. There are five zones, including the diaspora, where the rollout is taking place. Today, News Five caught up with the team at the Belize Defense Force headquarters at Price Barracks where soldiers were being engaged on the constitution. Their concerns were also recorded and will be included in the final report submitted for revision. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

The security forces are also a sector of society that is being engaged, as consultations are underway in the constitutional reform exercise being carried out by the Peoples’ Constitution Commission. Today, presentations were made to members of the Belize Defense Force who also had the privilege to express their concerns as it relates to how they are defined.


Brigadier General Azariel Loria

Brigadier General Azariel Loria, Commander, B.D.F.

“Some of the questions that were raised was about who we are? Are we public servants? Are we security servants? That is the feeling that we have that when convenient we are treated as public servants and then in other matters, when convenient, we are security servants. That comes when finance is implicated or perhaps financial benefits. We in the military get that push around.”


Brigadier General Azariel Loria says that they are policies guiding the B.D.F. that they want to ensure do not infringe on the constitutional rights of soldiers.


Brigadier General Azariel Loria

“I don’t know if it is a tendency now of our soldiers marking themselves with tattoos, which we do mind now because they are placing those tattoos in areas that are not concealed – i.e. their necks and to some extent their faces and head. So those are things that we explained that once we join as public servants or security servants in the military, we are somewhat restricted as long as it is reasonable enough for those restrictions to be put in place. So we are drafting a tattoo policy in the Belize Defense Force because it is starting to get out of hand and we want to ensure that we are not infringing in any way the constitution and their constitutional rights when it comes to freedoms and liberties.”


Glenfield Dennison

Glenfield Dennison, Private Citizen 

“What we have come to realise is that while the population may not be able to tell you about a constitutional issue, they can tell you what their problems are. Thankfully, we had Major Olivera who was able to translate some of those problems into constitutional issues. What he highlighted was the need to strengthen the security services commission or reconsider its formulation and appointment processes to have it work better for the people of Belize. We had some very interesting contributions about the healthcare, the wellbeing of officers of the military as it relates to access to housing and land and not being able to get insurance and that sort of thing, when they are high risk individuals.”


Now through these sessions, the commission is simply recording the concerns and suggestions being made by these interest groups. A report will then be made and submitted to the cabinet. Vice Chairperson of the Peoples’ Constitution Commission Glenfield Dennison says that the process is about building democracy and safeguarding the future of Belize.


Glenfield Dennison

“We have a discussion that is full and frank about where we are and how that relates to our country and international standards and then we find that that will allow people to form their own informed decision. The value of that cannot be overstated. When we get a public that is informed about what is supposed to be in their constitution – the way governance is supposed to work, transparency/accountability – those things help to build our democracy.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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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