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Home Highlights House to introduce controversial Equal Opportunities Bill 2020 on Wednesday

House to introduce controversial Equal Opportunities Bill 2020 on Wednesday

Other matters will be presented, including the 2019 Annual Report and Statement of Accounts by the Central Bank of Belize

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Sept. 14, 2020– Members of the House of Representatives will convene at the National Assembly Chamber in Belmopan for a special sitting scheduled for Wednesday, September 16, 2020.

During those proceedings, Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, in his capacity as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Labour, Local Government, Rural Development, Energy, Public Utilities, Public Services and Elections and Boundaries, will present the 2019 Annual Report and Statement of Accounts provided by the Central Bank of Belize.

Additionally, two bills are scheduled to be introduced, the first being the Treasury Bills (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill for 2020, which will seek to raise the principal sums represented by Treasury Notes outstanding at any one time.

The second is the Equal Opportunities Bill, 2020, which purports to promote equal opportunities for persons of varying demographic and social groups, to prevent and prohibit certain kinds of discrimination, including discrimination on the grounds of HIV-positive status, and to establish an Equal Opportunities Commission and an Equal Opportunities Tribunal.

The Equal Opportunity Bill has been a very controversial topic in the country from the time it was drafted and introduced to the public by the National AIDS Commission and the Special Envoy of Women and Children earlier this year.

Since the inception of the bill, the Council of Churches has vigorously rejected the Equal Opportunities Bill, and a petition was circulated which garnered 5,000 signatures representing over one hundred churches across the country, in support of the effort to have the bill thrown out or amended, mainly because of its wording, which they fear will lead to the prosecution or oppression of those who disapprove of homosexual behaviour.

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