By Aaron Humes: The Women’s Parliamentary Caucus of the National Assembly of Belize, established in February, has called for a public apology by Pastor Louis Wade, owner and manager of PLUS TV in Belmopan, for comments made during a morning show in respect to the People’s Constitutional Commission.
The Caucus’s statement remarked that the use of the word Wade used during his commentary, “associated with the genitalia of women to convey weakness, or a cowardly man, or “being less than a giant” is offensive, disrespectful, discriminatory and continues the patriarchal narrative that women are weaker than men,” and misogynistic and disrespectful of the LGBT community, and should not be encouraged.
We are told that Wade, who has not commented publicly, has indicated he had not meant the use of the word ‘in a sexual manner’. He was expanding on the often-quoted phrase from late Prime Minister George Price that ‘nation-building is a task for giants,’ from one of his poems.
Nonetheless, the WPC calls this a “teachable moment” and directs the call to all leaders, including those in the National Assembly itself, to recognize the importance of language and word choice and to uphold the principle of the Constitution as it relates to gender equality.
The WPC is led by Interim Chair and Speaker of the House of Representatives Valerie Woods. Members include from the House side, Minister of Human Development Dolores Balderamos-Garcia and her deputy Elvia Vega Samos, Tracey Taegar-Panton from the United Democratic Party, and in the Senate, President Carolyn Trench-Sandiford and Senators Erica Jang and Isabel Bennett along with Elena Smith representing trade unions and civil society.