July 28, 2009

Brazilean appeals for change in Constitution to adopt CCJ

Belizean Americans urgent appeal
Published on Thursday, July 23, 2009
Source: Caribbean Net News :
Print Version
By Wellington C. Ramos
Beginning next week throughout our country of Belize, our government is going to commence consultations with our people on two important constitutional amendments to Article 7 of our constitution. One of these proposed amendments is to give Belizean citizens who possess dual citizenships the right to be eligible to run for the National Assembly while retaining their dual citizenships. The other amendment is to discontinue having the Privy Council in London, England, as our final court for appeals and to transfer this authority to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in the Caribbean countries.

Belizeans living abroad, including myself, are strongly in support of these two amendments because one will reaffirm the constitutional rights of Belizeans who possess dual citizenships and the other will have a major impact on the reduction of murders in Belize by resuming capital punishment, which the Privy Council in London seems to be ruling against persistently over the years.
Almost all the Belizeans who left Belize and came to the United States did so for one of the following reasons: to join their family, to avoid political persecution, to advance their education or to improve their economic situation. If it was not for one of these factors, most Belizeans living in the United States would still be living in Belize.
Now that they live in the United States, their contributions to the survival and growth of Belize is extremely significant economically, socially, politically and in many other ways. In a recent study conducted by the United States government, it was reported that most developing countries in the Caribbean, including Belize, would endure serious economic hardship if it was not for the financial contributions made weekly by their nationals living in the United States.
The constitution of Belize has a dual citizenship clause that gives Belizeans who possess dual citizenships the right to vote. However, Belizeans who possess dual citizenships have not been given that right by either of their governments over the years in allowing them to vote through proxy voting. The denial of this right is a violation of their constitutional right.
While this right exists, it is contradictory to say that they can vote but cannot run for office. In a democracy, if a person can vote, then the person should also be qualified to run for office as a citizen of that country if he or she meets the requirements set forth in the Elections and Boundaries Law or in the People’s Representation Ordinance.
Great nations are built by citizens who have been exposed to other industrialized and technological countries because they will bring their experiences and expertise back home to build their own country. China is now one of the richest countries in the world after it came out of the Dark Ages. When Peter the Great took Russia out of the Dark Ages, Russia became a great power also. He sent Russian citizens abroad to see what other European countries were doing to become industrialized.
There are some Belizeans who show resentment towards their fellow Belizeans when they go home to visit them. Most of this resentment is due to jealousy and ignorance because some did not get the opportunity to come and live in the United States or foster that false belief that Belizeans who live in the United States do not care about their country and people.
For the few who think that way, I would like to make it clear that I have lived in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City throughout all my thirty-one years living in the United States. These are three of the biggest cities that have the largest concentration of Belizeans.
Most Belizeans that I have met are longing to go back home, love their native country and would do anything for their beloved country, including to fight and die for it. When anything occurs in Belize, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, other disasters, or the Guatemalan claim to our country, Belizeans living in the United States cannot sleep and are tuned in to the news with their relatives and friends on the telephones constantly to get updates.
Since capital punishment was discontinued in Belize, the amount of murders in the country of Belize has skyrocketed tremendously. Belize City is so unsafe that many Belizeans try to avoid going to Belize City. This is bad for the economy because tourist will avoid coming into our country and that will lower the amount of revenue our people and government could earn to institute social programs for the needy and poor.
When Belize enforced capital punishment years ago, the amount of murders throughout the whole country of Belize was far less than today. There are some Belizeans who would argue that the re-institution of capital punishment will not lead to the reduction of murders in our country. I would counter that argument by saying to them, then let us do it and then examine the impact it is having on the reduction of murders and if it is not then we can abandon it forever.
The issue is how long are we as a people going to stand idly by while our family members continue to see their loved ones being killed innocently and senselessly in our country by these heartless murderers? These people do not value a person’s life and that is the reason why they are taking it for no justifiable reason. Some of us have been spending too much time being concerned about the rights of the accused. It is now time for us to be concerned about the rights of the victims, their families and the Belizean citizens at large.
The longer we wait to correct these insane actions, each and every one of us as Belizeans will end up losing one of our loved ones. The time is now right for us to approve these two constitutional amendments because they are just and right for our country and the citizens of Belize. I hereby urge my fellow Belizean citizens that throughout the consultations to be held next week, we attend them and present these justifiable reasons to make a strong case for the passage of these fundamental amendments to our constitution.

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