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Human Development commits to focusing on the most vulnerable

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Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2022. 7:41 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The key priority of the Ministry of Human Development, according to its Minister Dolores Balderamos Garcia, is ensuring the most vulnerable among us are supported.

During the Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, she listed several accomplishments of the Ministry in its second year in office covered under the 2021-22 Budget.

Former ‘children’s institutions’ such as the Youth Hostel are now ‘residential care homes’, removed in word from the stigma of being the last resort for young misbehavers.

And children’s homes are starting to get attention from the Ministry, both public and private, in an effort to ensure conditions at these facilities are improved for the youthful residents.

In the area of family and children, initiatives such as the Children’s Parliament and reaching out to the vulnerable through the National Council on Ageing (NCA), National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC) and National Women’s Commission (NWC) are ongoing.

But the Minister had rather sharp words on the subject of indigenous peoples and efforts to implement the Consent Order signed following judgment in the Caribbean Court of Justice in April 2015.

“We have worked with our Maya people. We are implementing the Consent Judgement of the Caribbean Court of Justice – we have visited eighteen Maya communities in the Toledo District, and we have engaged. I have all respect for spokespeople of the MLA [Maya Leaders Alliance], the TAA [Toledo Alcaldes Association]. I have all respect for everybody of the South; but nobody will come and tell me and my Ministry that we are to exclude anyone from the conversation of implementing the Consent Order of the Caribbean Court of Justice,” she said, adding that the Ministry will “continue to take seriously our mandate for that implementation, in terms of balancing competing interests, but also rolling out what the Government has pledged to do.”

And while the motion on prerogrative of mercy for the late Nora Parham was deferred from this sitting, Balderamos-Garcia expressed the hope that the Belize Advisory Council, soon to be sworn in, and the Governor-General will be moved to grant her a posthumous pardon for being hanged on a conviction of murder in 1963.

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