Posted: Monday, February 3, 2020. 4:33 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: Political Third Party, the Belize People’s Front (BPF), has voiced serious concerns about the proposed Equal Opportunities Bill, going as far as calling it “a step backward,” if the Bill is passed in its current state.
BPG General Secretary, Louis Diaz, said that the party is concerned about the process currently underway in refining the Bill and the apparent rush by authorities to get the Bill tabled at parliament.
“Nothing that so profoundly affects the lives of our citizens should ever be rushed,” Diaz said. “We need proper consultations and that is not a one-time meeting and doing a presentation of some of the points of the Bill to make it sound good. People need to understand what this Bill is taking away from them.”
BPF Party Leader, Nancy Marin issued a statement last week, highlighting several sections of the Bill that raised concerns for the party including the prohibition of persons accused of an offence under the Bill to seek legal representation in their defence.
“There are just way too many violations of our freedom as we know it, which will be affected negatively by this Bill in its present form. While we agree that equal opportunities should be granted to all, it should not come at the expense of others,” Marin said.
The BPF also notes that the powers granted to the commission that will investigate offences under the Bill, if it becomes law, are too far-reaching and leaves too much opportunity for persons to make mischief. The party is calling for authorities to delay taking the Bill to Cabinet and have more consultations and ensure that every sector is represented and their concerns addressed.
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