“but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest…”
Chapter II is the treatise of our Constitution on human rights. Its heading is “The protection of fundamental rights and freedoms.” Happily you don’t need to be a genius to fully understand that for civilization and societies to even exist depends on man’s acceptance of the two sides of this equation, i.e. there are rights; and there are concomitant duties and responsibilities.
It is no surprise that in our country a foolish claim is raised when an arm of the agents of the common good seeks to act to protect society. If the defenders of good order are portrayed as cruel and insensitive, then they are bad and are serving a corrupt regime. This is the propaganda!
As Ombudsman of Belize 1999-2008, one of my duties was to participate in regional and international conferences to keep informed and updated on the best practices of human rights throughout the world. At one of these, brilliant presenters gave their ideas on women’s rights and other issues. After one of the experts had presented, with some impatience I asked a brilliant former ombudsman, ‘When is someone going to talk about the citizen’s duties and responsibilities?’. The answer: “let others talk about that!”
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed by the United Nations in 1948 —three years after the end of World War II, during which millions of human beings were holocausted only because they were Jews.
I have always felt great pride in promoting the inalienable rights of every single individual human being. But I have always, instinctively, perhaps, known that if I have rights, a just society must ordain its laws and actions to protect and promote the equal protection of every single person. This must be a society that is or is becoming a place where no one is uncomfortable being a human being. Inevitably this requires a transformation by which everyone realises that there are differences, but everyone must control the expressions of them for the sake of peace and harmony.
I am not a genius, but I have always learned certain things quickly. One of the lessons: when some people mouth the words “human rights,” they do not mean the same ideas that I declare. To them, a woman’s rights include the expulsion from herself of a living being whose beginning depended on her choice. They have also assumed to themselves the right to contradict the expressions of nature from time immemorial to say HE or SHE. But, the proponents of the “new human rights” are very clever: they use our best ideas, feelings and sentiments to beat us.
Recently I’ve been hearing on one of our radio stations a commercial in which a poor lady is appealing to us to love her gay son, as she does. She seems to be pleading: love him and support him as I do; God made him as he is.
Oh! So clever! It is a MYTH that God made sodomy. It is manmade, and the radio station should by law be forced to declare that the above is a PAID AD. Don’t be sorry for them; they are well-financed.
No! Don’t call me cruel and unmerciful. It is false mercy to say that bad is good, or that wrong is right to avoid hurting people’s feelings. Don’t be crude and insensitive; but gently, kindly, humbly call a spade a spade.
Friends, it is not easy to be good; it may be easy to be self-righteous. But that quality does not help society or civilization to improve, which should be the pursuit and goal of all of us.
How can we re-start the engine of progress in Belize to produce benefits for everyone? Do we begin with our public leaders? Should they not now talk about Belizeans instead of PUP’s or UDP’s? However, we must make this initiative grow way beyond semantics.
One of the truly great fruits of our coronavirus experience is that those who listen attentively to Prime Minister Barrow are now thinking: hey, he is talking about what is good for ME, not only for the UDP. Perhaps, we should pray that with God’s help this sentiment spins into a circle that includes everyone — gay, straight, believers, unbelievers, Catholics, protestants, conservatives, liberals, crooks, honest citizens, rich, poor, smart, not so smart, black, white, brown, yellow, just come ya, lang time di ya — let’s grow into one people, one nation under God…
We must think more seriously, intently about the COMMON GOOD.
What are those values that we must all already cherish very greatly? Starting with life — don’t you cherish your life most of all?
How about the lives of those around you? Your wife, your children, your extended family, friends… yes life, life, life! Therefore, we ought to redouble our efforts to protect life! Especially at its beginning!
What is next? Freedom? Sometimes people die for it, because living without the full exercise of conscience deems life not worthwhile. Our Constitution tells us a man or woman who accepts the immoral and the bad eventually is overcome by them. Hence, we must defend spiritual values.
Daily bread? What can be done to ensure that everyone has access to it always? Our leaders must work to expand the opportunities for everyone — not only for RED or BLUE.
May it not be a very special blessing that we may tomorrow rejoice singing: CORONAVIRUS has made us appreciate the COMMON GOOD?!
Postscript: The dispute: GOB vs. unions…
TO WHOM TOO MUCH HAS BEEN GIVEN, MUCH MORE SHOULD BE EXPECTED.
Is there an equivalency between a person with accumulated resources giving up peripheral benefits, and a public official who lives off a fixed sum whose savings may be sparse or non-existent? Perhaps social justice and the COMMON GOOD require a second, more sympathetic review of opposing opinions: GOB vs. unions. During the past 20 years or so we have added a layer of huge public expenditure through contracted services. Maybe we should revert to a more enlightened and better organized Permanent Secretary arrangement. We cannot afford three layers of political leadership.