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Louis Wade to be media rep on PCC

HighlightsLouis Wade to be media rep on PCC

7News’ Daniel Ortiz was selected through a vote by members of the media to be an alternate rep for the media on the People’s Constitutional Commission

BELIZE CITY, Mon. July 25, 2022

On Friday, a majority of the 11 representatives of the independent media voted for Plus TV’s Louis Wade to be their representative on the People’s Constitutional Commission (PCC). A majority of those reps also selected Daniel Ortiz from 7News to serve as the alternate representative, in the event that Wade is unable to attend any meeting.

A few weeks ago, 7News highlighted a notable exclusion of the media from important decision-making processes being carried out by GoB—particularly the process through which a new Constitution will be drafted, and on Wednesday, July 20, a first meeting was held between media representatives and the Director of the Good Governance Unit, Cesar Ross; the Ministry of Public Service, Constitutional and Political Reform and Religious Affairs was represented by Michelle Rodriguez.

In that meeting, the media agreed to carry out an electoral process to select the media personnel who would be sitting on the Commission for the next year or so. Pastor Wade, who is also the spokesperson for the country’s churches in regard to the upcoming marijuana referendum, said that he was caught by surprise by the vote.

“Well, I was surprised, and my heart was very warmed. I want to start off by saying thank you to the media for putting their confidence in me. I will not disappoint them. I believe that over the years, the issues, as it relates to free speech, as it relates to so many other issues with the media being, in my opinion, the guardian of the democracy, of the people and informants of the democracy, we need to ensure that those principles are firmly rooted in the Constitution. I am also a person who believes in a team. I never work alone, so I’m going to look forward to hearing from my media colleagues what their thoughts are. Media, you’re in the street every day. You talk to every layer of the society, and so the media has a very good grasp of what’s right in this country and what’s wrong in this country,” Wade said.

Wade said he believes the process of reforming the Constitution must be as inclusive as possible and that the next step should be pinpointing which groups and peoples have been excluded at this time and ensuring they get a seat at the table.

“As it relates to the WHO, we need to make sure that all the reasons are equally represented,” Wade said.

While most members of the media are in agreement on the selection of Louis Wade as their rep to the commission, the LGBTQI+ representative, Caleb Orozco, expressed his discontent with Wade’s appointment, calling him a “religious snake… that has no respect for the Constitution or the fundamental rights of LGBT citizens or the reproductive rights of women.”

7News’ Daniel Ortiz, a journalist for 12 years, has stated that he believes the media, as the public’s watchdog, is an ideal stakeholder to oversee a process of modernizing the Constitution, and remarked that he considers the work a patriotic duty.

“Who better than the press to keep an eye on these types of processes? I see it as a patriotic duty. The leaders of our country have said that they want to modernize the Constitution, and they want to remove the relics of colonialism from it. Well, I’m happy to participate in that process, and I’m glad that the government of the day heard us as the press and decided to include us as stakeholders.” Ortiz said.

Today, a first committee meeting on the People’s Constitutional Commission Bill will be held at the National Assembly building in Belmopan.  

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