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Nov 24, 2023

People’s Constitution Commission Holds Youth Rally

Today the Belize Civic Centre was buzzing with students from various secondary schools who engaged in a youth rally. The event was the first ever that was organized by the People’s Constitution Commission that was formed a year ago. In tandem with its mission of inclusivity, the event was held with the theme: Participate!!! Right Your Constitution! News Five’s Marion Ali was at the event and filed the following report.


Marion Ali, Reporting

The stage performances at today’s youth rally might appear to be for the purpose of entertainment. But what came out of the event was what the People’s Constitution Commissioned envisioned when it was installed a year ago – inclusivity of all sectors of society in its review of the Belize Constitution, as mandated by the National Assembly. Chairman of the Commission, Anthony Chanona says that the concept of involving the youths had everything to do with the age of our population.


Anthony Chanona

Anthony Chanona, Chairman, People’s Constitution Commission

“Over 62 percent of our country – the population of our country – is 42 years and younger. And statistics have also shown us that 98 percent of the people of Belize are not aware of the Constitution.  And so, the PCC felt as a body that the place to start would be education.  An empowered nation is one that is able to read and understand how we are governed and we felt that because we have a stakeholder in the church-state system, the most captive audience to get this message of awareness [of] what we are doing and what is the importance of the Constitution would be a partnership with the Council of Churches and so that is the genesis of this the idea is to build awareness in our young people and on the role of the Constitution.”


Youths from several high schools participated in today’s rally. Principals of St. Catherine Academy, Salome Tillett, and Pedro Reyes, from King’s College, agreed that it is time that youths are included in the process.


Salome Tillett

Salome Tillett, Principal, St. Catherine Academy

“The young people are the leaders. They are the ones that will be running this country and they don’t get many opportunities to, um, hear anything about the Constitution and they certainly don’t hear about it from other young people. So we wanted to give them those opportunities today. I was really impressed with, um, the, the depth of the research that the students did so that they, um, incorporated constitutional facts in their presentation.”


Pedro Reyes

Pedro Reyes, Principal, King’s College

“Our presentation today had to do with protection of the environment as part of the Constitution and legislation. So, our students are motivated, they’re very excited to be contributors and advocates of protecting the environment. They did a magnificent job, and I think the students, as I said, are really excited and motivated to, to be advocates of protecting the environment.”


Chairman Chanona says one of the goals of the youths’ participation is to reintroduce the constitution into the educational system.


Anthony Chanona

“I feel that that is a great building block. What needs to follow this, Marion, is we need to put back the Constitution as part of the curriculum, the education curriculum. That’s where this is leading. And it’s not that the students are failing us. It’s the institution that has failed to put this curriculum where it belongs. Events like what is happening today is empowering the parents because all these students have parents and the parents becoming aware and watching their students perform builds awareness.”


In January, the commission will begin to review the questions and concerns it has received from the public over the past several months before it holds another round of public consultations. Marion Ali 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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