PUP Offers No Hope for Rehabilitation

Hon. Shyne Barrow

On Friday, July 2nd, the People’s United Party introduced legislation in the House of Representatives to have an 11th amendment to the Constitution of Belize. In essence, the amendment will take away any form of hope for rehabilitation by persons who have once committed a crime but have since straightened their life.
The Amendment states that any individual who has served more than 12 months in prison anywhere in the world will be banned from running for electoral office. The bill has been called discriminatory and has had the Leader of the Opposition, Shyne Barrow, coming out to criticize the new legislation as he is personally being targeted.
Speaking on the matter was former Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow explained during a call to Wave, ‘Radio’s Fus Ting Da Mawning’ that there is a likelihood that the amendment to the Constitution can force Shyne out of office as it was ‘open-ended enough.” He noted that beyond that, great leaders of this country, the likes of Philip Goldson, under the amendment would not be able to run for office. What’s more, Rt. Hon. Barrow noted that it leaves no room for redemption. He explained that given a situation where a young person commits a crime such that he or she is sentenced to 12 months in prison or more; no matter what he does to improve himself, and no matter what level of education that individual attains, he or she would never be able to qualify to run for office.
The lash back against the piecemeal approach to the Constitutional amendments which have seen two introduced in the space of a couple of months has also piqued the interest of social partners. They are now advocating that there be a holistic approach to constitutional amendments. They state that the time has come for amendments to the constitution to be done in its entirety as opposed to simply having periodic small amendments.