by Charles Gladden
BELIZE CITY, Fri. Nov. 24, 2023
Today, Friday, November 24, the People’s Constitution Commission along with Grant Aided Managing Authority of Schools (GAMAS) hosted its first-ever Constitution Youth Rally at the Belize Civic Centre in Belize City.
Students from a variety of high schools throughout the country (Wesley College, Saint Catherine Academy, St. John’s College, Pallotti High School, Anglican Cathedral College, and Nazarene High School from Belize City; Corozal Community College and Muffles College from the north with King’s College on the old Northern Highway; Sacred Heart College and Mount Carmel High School from the west; and Delille Academy from the south) were at the event, where presentations were made on various aspects of the Constitution of Belize.
“We have found out over the past six months of public outreach that the churches, like other stakeholders like the Public Service Union [and] the Belize Teachers Union, [can] create a captive audience; and in this case, we not only want the captive audience of over 3,000 students, but we wanted a captive audience reflecting the population of Belize,” said Chairman of the PCC, Anthony Chanona.
“… The whole idea of this exercise is to help Belizeans understand the importance of the Constitution, an empowered nation [reads] and understands, and for them to understand also that there is a role for them in that knowledge, and it’s not their fault. What has been evident in listening to young people is that they’re not being taught the Constitution in their schools, and this is one area we feel will find a recommendation that has a constitutional provision that knowledge should be taught,” he added.
Chairman Chanona mentioned that if young people are educated on the Constitution within educational institutions, the nation will be empowered.
“The Constitution is a complex document, and so we thought we would look at the core areas of The Constitution, which is the preamble, which points to the way The Constitution directs its language … If we are able to educate our young people who make up 62% of our population, we would have a better Belize. An empowered society is one that has knowledge, and obviously, these students want to participate in that knowledge base. The institution of education has to step up, and the Constitution has to be a part of the curriculum in our schools,” he said.
Notably, a teacher from Saint Catherine Academy (SCA), Martinza Magana, told Amandala that her institution will be implementing it in their social studies curriculum.
“I think that youths [don’t] know about the Constitution; even adults in Belize don’t know what the Constitution is about, and exposing them [to it] is very important [seeing] that they are the future of Belize. They need to know their rights and freedom. They need to know what is happening in Belize and the laws that govern our nation, so bringing them to an activity like this was a good initiative. What our school is doing, we’re planning to implement it into our social studies curriculum. We’re planning to teach this, mostly looking at the Catholic perspective, though – establishing the supremacy of God – they will be exposed to the Constitution in our courses,” she said.