‘Whereas the People of Belize Affirm…’: A Progressive Preamble

By Dylan Vernon, (REAL STORY#5, 1 November 2023)

Whereas the people of Belize — affirm that the Nation of Belize shall be founded upon principles which…[the people of Belize] desire that their society shall reflect and enjoy the above-mentioned principles, beliefs and needs and that their Constitution should therefore enshrine and make provisions for ensuring the achievement for the same in Belize. (Excerpt, Preamble, Constitution of Belize).

As this last paragraph (f) of the Preamble makes abundantly clear,  the Preamble is the corner stone of the wider national foundation that is the  Independence Constitution of Belize. Indeed, it has been argued that, in 1981, the Belize Preamble was the most progressive and unique innovation coming out of the short process of drafting the Constitution.

Preambles in constitutions across the globe come in different shapes, sizes and intent; but they are generally approached as immensely important national declarations that can include statements of historical origins, identity, language, overarching values, principles, national goals, rights and freedoms, responsibilities of state and citizens, and even policy roadmaps. Yet, there are diverse opinions, practices and judicial desicions among states on whether or to what extent preambles are obligatory and legally-binding — or just simply aspirational declarations.… Read the rest...

LAUNCH: Time Come – Put People Back in Democracy!

By Dylan Vernon (TIME COME #1-Launch Post, 29 September 2023, Belize City, Belize).

Like today, 29th September 1950 was also a Friday. It was a momentous day in the struggle of the people of Belize to create a new sovereign democratic state of Central America in the Caribbean region. The People’s Committee, which had led the people’s revolt against British colonialism since 31 December 1949, gave way to Belize’s first national people’s political party: the People’s United Party. With John Smith elected as Party Leader, Leigh Richardson as chairman, George Price as secretary and Philip Goldson as assistant secretary, all Belize’s key nationalist leaders were together that historic September day 73 years ago. The people were with them and they with the people.

A People’s Moment

From the thousands who flocked to public meetings and joined the new party, to the strong union support and to the popular and progressive calls for independence, freedom and justice, it is clear that, for a moment in their political history, Belizean women and men were united and at the center of making democracy. By 1954, the people won the victory of universal adult suffrage and the right to elect their own leaders under a new Constitution.… Read the rest...