PlanBelize Family and Women Agenda Virtual Rollout

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Party Leader John Briceño’s Remarks

September 19, 2020

Tonight, we laid out for you our plan to meaningfully engage and empower Belizean Women and to put families at the Center of our National Development. The Family has always been the most important institution in civilization and in all families, it is the woman who has been the anchor of families, which begins from conception. The family is one of the oldest and the most indispensable institutions of any civilization and for very good reasons. When families are threatened and weakened then children are neglected, their education is compromised, and society will suffer the consequences for generations to come.

Children need virtues, good values, knowledge and skills to secure a prosperous future, and if the present generation does not have them, it is because we, as parents, did not provide it to them.  In the vicious cycle that is too a part of life, this means that neither will the next generation have them. Any lack of virtues, values, knowledge, and skills in our youth is a tragedy for our society and leads to yet another generation that will require urgent attention.

In Belize, dysfunctional families are inextricably tied to most of the socio-economic problems we face today.  At the root of these problems, which are quite often community based, are issues such as poverty, unemployment, drug addiction, delinquency, violence against women, and homicides. That is why the PUP perceives the family as the bedrock of our communities for only they can fix these ills.

We are deeply committed to families in our vision for a better Belize. “As the Family goes, so goes the Nation” is, for the PUP, no mere slogan.

The family is so strategic to our development that all our national policies and strategies will not succeed if we do not nurture and develop strong families as the main avenue to achieve productive, prosperous and peaceful communities in Belize. The well-being of the family unit is central to the development and wellness of the community and, indeed, the nation. Whether the family is the traditional nuclear family or the increasingly more common extended family or the single parent family, the impact remains the same.

And that indispensable link to families is the role of women in our society. 

It is not asking too much of any government to ensure that the rights of women and girls be upheld.  And to ensure that we respect the fundamental rights and freedoms provided to our women and which are enshrined in our Constitution, the next PUP government not only should but is duty bound to ensure that Belizean women and girls have access to the National Health Insurance.

Belizean women can look forward to a government that will work hard to empower them through greater economic activities.

We will increase women’s access to land and housing.

Yes, we have many educated women who are working just as hard as men and earning less, and this must stop. Just as, we must end the bias against women when it comes to getting access to farm loans and to owning their own home.

For these reasons we will promote women in science and technology, engineering and mathematics so that Belizean women can too be a part of the creation of good, new jobs.  If there was ever a point that was made clear to me tonight it is how passionately the women of our party feel about the lack of participation in leadership in our society.

Finally, we must protect and keep our women safe.

My administration will adopt a zero-tolerance position on violence against women. We will provide the funding necessary to provide emergency shelters and transitional homes for women and their children who are victims of domestic violence. We must and will strengthen the laws and protocols to protect women and girls against abuse and violence. And we will put the necessary counseling support in place so that we can look after the emotional needs of women and families who are affected by violence.

We have to fix this and so tonight I am fully committed to doing everything possible to reaching the commitment to a minimum of 30 percent participation of women in leadership across the board. I am sure we are all convinced that women are the backbone of the family and that families in the experience of our culture are all inextricably linked. Our actions and programs then must reflect the confluence of these social realities. We must ensure strong families for the sustainable development of our communities and for a vibrant cultural landscape.

La familia sigue siendo la institución de mayor importancia en el desarrollo de nuestras comunidades y por ende nuestra nación. No importa que la estructura lleve una unidad familiar, lo más importante es el apoyo que el gobierno… por obligación le debe ofrecer… para que los integrantes puedan florecer en ciudadanos saludables y productivos aportando al progreso de su país. Al centro de todo avance social y económico está la familia como una estructura fundamental y en nuestro contexto casi siempre liderado por una mujer. Más y más vemos la unidad familiar evolucionar en una unidad matriarcal.

Es por eso que como líderes estamos conscientes que empoderar a la mujer es empoderar a la familia y por ende a la comunidad. Es el compromiso del Partido Unido del Pueblo hacer valer nuestra agenda familiar y de la mujer porque con estas proposiciones todos ganamos!

With these justifications in mind, we ask all of you to go to planbelize.bz and study our policy statement on the family and our Women’s Agenda. Study the documents, read and send us your ideas on how we can work together to build stronger Belizean Families for this too is a part of our work to Build a Belize that works for Everyone where Everybody fi win!

God Bless and from all us in here in studio, thank you.  Remember to practice physical distancing, wash your hands regularly and wear your mask in public.  Stay safe and goodnight.