NEAB says they’re ready to go to court – Love FM
Church Senator, Bishop Moses Benguche, intends to present more than 20,000 signatures of Belizeans to Governor-General Froyla Tzalam as early as Tuesday. These are the people who want a referendum on the legalization of marijuana. Churches have said they have reached the milestone to trigger this vote and even after the bill passed both houses of parliament, the National Evangelical Association of Belize is insisting that Belizeans have a say. . But even if the referendum goes ahead, as the Law Society says, the government can still implement the legislation even if most Belizeans say no. We asked Pastor Louis Wade where the churches stand on this if that ends up being the case.
Louis Wade, NEAB member: “Remember that in the first process we asked the government for a referendum. We felt from the start that although the church was adamantly opposed to the legalization of marijuana, we felt that ultimately people should decide. We tried to convince the government of this. In fact, I looked at the documentation going back to last year where the NEAB wrote to the Prime Minister giving our position as evangelicals that we were adamantly opposed to legalization and hoped the government would not go not in that direction. So I think the government still has the opportunity to do the right thing. They should therefore have called the referendum. They should have consulted. They do not have. The church has now called a referendum. The church is now calling a referendum and I mean we now have over 19,000 Belizeans: religious, non-religious, religious, non-religious, professional, street, whatever you want to call it. 19,000 Belizeans. It’s not the church that says we want a referendum anymore, you know? We now have nearly 20,000 signatures. So we expect the government to listen to the voice of the people and do the right thing. It’s never too late for that. We’re going one step at a time. If the government chooses not to listen to the voice of the people, then we sit down and we talk and we move on.
And while the referendum should advise government, not bind lawmakers as the bar suggests, Pastor Louis Wade says government should be concerned about the impacts of a closed democracy. Here’s how he said it.
Louis Wade, NEAB member: “I believe the bar association has written, in two very powerful sentences, the difference between an open democracy and a closed democracy and I believe the Cabinet should take seriously the implications of a closed democracy versus an open democracy .
Again, signatures will be presented to the Governor General just after Labor Day weekend.