Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
Topic Options
#465916 - 06/05/13 11:53 AM Commentary: Belizeans should be allowed to vote:
Marty Offline
and be given all the rights of full citizenship

By Wellington C. Ramos

When Belize became an independent country on September 21, 1981, all citizens of Belize who were not living in Belize lost their citizenship under the People's United Party.

The late Philip Goldson was angry over it and vowed that, if the United Democratic Party was to become the new government of Belize, he was going to do everything in his power to restore their citizenship as natural born Belizeans.


By Wellington C. Ramos

When Belize became an independent country on September 21, 1981, all citizens of Belize who were not living in Belize lost their citizenship under the People's United Party.

The late Philip Goldson was angry over it and vowed that, if the United Democratic Party was to become the new government of Belize, he was going to do everything in his power to restore their citizenship as natural born Belizeans.


Born in Dangriga Town, the cultural capital of Belize, Wellington Ramos has BAs in Political Science and History from Hunter College, NY, and an MA in Urban Studies from Long Island University. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science and History
Philip Goldson saw a country that had a majority black population with English-speaking Belizeans, moving to become a majority Mestizo country with Spanish-speaking people from the neighbouring countries of Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico, while the majority of black people, mainly Garifuna, Creoles and East Indians, were migrating to the United States.

This was George Price's biggest dream because he felt that, as a Mestizo, the more his people were allowed to come and live in Belize, the longer the People's United Party was going to retain power and control over our country. When the civil war started in El Salvador, George Price offered to accept thousands of Salvadorians into Belize and established a village for them in the Belmopan area called Salvapan under the stewardship of Ducho Thomas.

These people were granted amnesty, given lots, homes and all the benefits of Belizean citizenship, including the rights to vote and run for political office if they chose to do so. All this was occurring when he and his party were denying the rights and privileges of the natural-born Belizeans who were living at home and abroad.

Despite all the efforts of George Price and his People's United Party made to help these foreigners, the conditions got so bad after independence that the Belizean people decided to vote the Peoples United Party out of power in 1984 by a landslide margin of 21-7. They were angry with George Price and his party and he himself lost his seat in the Freetown Division by a large margin to a newcomer politician Derrick Aikman.

The United Democratic Party fulfilled their promise and immediately passed dual citizenship legislation to give all Belizeans in the Diaspora back their citizenship. Yet, all this legislation did was to give Belizeans the right to get a Belizean passport and nothing else.

Under the People's Representation Ordinance, The Election and Boundaries Ordinance and the Belize constitution, there are still some provisions of these laws that restrict Belizeans who possess dual citizenships from having fundamental citizenship rights granted to them. The right to vote by proxy and to be a representative of the Belizean government is being denied up to this day, even though Belize is their country of birth.

For Belizeans who possess dual citizenships to qualify to vote or run for political office, they must renounce their American or foreign citizenships. Most Belizeans who lived in the United States over the years must be citizens to qualify for many benefits and to revoke their citizenships to disqualify themselves for benefits would be a foolish exercise.

The Right Honorable Dean Barrow saw the need to correct this injustice in 2009 and was planning to introduce Amendment 7 to the Belize constitution. If he had introduced it at the time, it would have passed because he had the votes to deliver this fundamental right to the Belizeans who live in the Diaspora.

The People's United Party has always been against this amendment because they are thinking that, if they allow Belizeans in the United States to vote, most of them will vote for the United Democratic Party. Well, in the 1980s they gave the Mestizos from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico amnesty and the right to vote and those people still voted them out of office.

Belizean Americans are highly qualified people and are not dependent on UDP or PUP, so when they get the right to vote they will be looking objectively on the candidates and the political parties before they cast their votes.

We have some black Belizeans and other Belizeans who are against granting Belizeans with dual citizenship their full fundamental rights because they say they have abandoned their people and country. The black Belizeans who are opposed to granting Belizean Americans their basic fundamental rights are working against themselves. It is called “cutting off their noses to spite their faces".

The other Belizeans, who are Mestizos and come from the other ethnic groups, many of their ancestors left the countries of: Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico because they were not satisfied with the living conditions in those countries. If these Belizeans who are against this legislation look at the amount of money Belizeans in the United States send they would change their thinking. Plus, the other things Belizeans continue to send weekly to their families in addition to money for their upkeep and survival just continue to grow.

For Belize to become a nation that can compete in this international community, they must involve the Belizeans who live in the United States and the Diaspora because they have all the financial and human resources that Belize desperately needs to survive. I now call on the prime minister of Belize to fulfill his promise by re-introducing the Article 7 amendment and let us see if the People's United Party will have the guts to oppose it.

When the PUP wanted Yolanda Shackron to be their candidate in Lake Independence, she was denied by the government because she possessed American citizenship. PUP lawyer and politician Lisa Showman was against Article 7 and was her attorney to try and argue her case before the courts but lost. If she had supported Article 7, there would have been no case for her to argue before the court because her client Yolanda Shackron would have been qualified to run for office.

The party that gives the Belizeans in the United States and the Diaspora their full fundamental rights as citizens of Belize is the party for the future of Belize. Such a party will never be forgotten by the Belizeans in the Diaspora for that bold initiative they took in acknowledging their contributions and support for their beloved homeland Belize.

As Belizeans, we must think about what are the greater benefits that can come to our people and nation by doing what is the just and rightful action to take on behalf of our beloved citizens.

Caribbean News Now

Top
#466513 - 06/13/13 11:42 AM Re: Commentary: Belizeans should be allowed to vote: [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Commentary: Belizeans abroad demand full citizenship rights in their homeland

By Wellington C. Ramos

When the government of Belize started the debate to educate Belizeans throughout the country on the referendum initiative to take the Belize-Guatemala territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), many Belizeans in the United States and Belize became insecure about their current citizenship status.

Since the 1980s, the government of Belize has been granting citizenship status to many Guatemalans who entered the country illegally. These citizens now have the right to vote, run for political office and become the prime minister of Belize, while Belizeans that were born in Belize and became citizens of the United States and other countries, are not entitled to these same fundamental rights unless they renounce the citizenship of their new countries.

This is despite the fact that, under the Belize Constitution, there is a provision that clearly states that citizenship status should not be granted to people who come from a country that does not recognize the territorial integrity, boundaries, sovereignty and independence of Belize. Also, under the Guatemalan Constitution, their citizens cannot renounce their citizenship status to become citizens of another country if they choose to do so.

Belize has granted citizenship status to more Guatemalans than citizens from any other country and Guatemala still continues to claim Belize as their country.

In Guatemala, there is compulsory service for most males to be drafted into the Guatemalan armed services. Guatemala is a huge country compared to Belize and has a population of about 12 million people. Their military is estimated to have about one million troops compared to Belize’s 1,000 soldiers. Belize does not have the military capability to fight Guatemala. The military in Guatemala controls the country and has been historically removing the presidents at will when they do not like them and their policies. This same military continues to slaughter the indigenous people of Guatemala known as the Mayas and they seek refuge in Belize to avoid these atrocities.

Now in Belize, because of these ongoing incidents, the population in Belize is estimated to be about 34% mixed Maya and European descent, Mayas 10%, Spanish 15%, Creoles 32% and Garifuna 6%. The remaining population is Chinese, Arabs, Europeans, East Indians, Middle Eastern and other small ethnic groups. When you combine the mixed Mayas and European descent, the Mayas and the Spanish people together you get a total of 59%. The Creoles, Garifuna and East Indian black population is estimated to be about 39%. These statistics might not be accurate because the migration into Belize by the Mayans, Mestizos, Chinese and East Indians continues to grow daily.

In Belize, the poorest citizens are the black Creoles and Garifuna. These two ethnic groups historically have had their cultural differences and the relationship between them is strained up this day. Among the Creoles there is also a division between the light skin Creoles and the dark skin Creoles. Some light skin Creoles think that they are better than the dark skin Creoles. The Mayas, Mestizos and the Spanish in Belize get along well with each other and they are economically better off than the most Garifuna and Creoles. Belize, like most countries in the world, also has a class problem.

Belizeans who live in the United States and abroad are mostly of African descent and they are losing their country. Now, they are organizing with the other ethnic groups to get more aggressive in demanding their basic fundamental rights as citizens and to have a stake in their country’s future. The black Belizeans who live in Belize mostly depend on their family members abroad to send them money and other goods to survive. Those who are not of African descent tend to welcome their fellow Mayas, Mestizos and Spanish from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico.

During the referendum debate recently, all Belizeans were listening to the statements coming from the Guatemalan government regarding the territorial dispute. Belizeans are angry with the Guatemalan government and are beginning to mistrust them. They are also watching the way how their own government is negotiating with the Guatemalans.

The time for Belizeans to organize themselves to demand their basic fundamental rights as citizens is now. If the Belizeans in the United States cannot get the government of Belize to grant them their full citizenship rights, they may have to form their own political party.

Caribbean News Now


Top
#467275 - 06/26/13 11:41 AM Re: Commentary: Belizeans should be allowed to vote: [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Commentary: It is not only about voting but all rights

By Wellington C. Ramos

When I have conversations with Belizeans, people from the Caribbean and other parts of the world, it is always about why they came to the United States of America. Some people give the following reasons: economic, education, to join family members and to visit. The reason that is given the most is economic.

Born in Dangriga Town, the cultural capital of Belize, Wellington Ramos has BAs in Political Science and History from Hunter College, NY, and an MA in Urban Studies from Long Island University. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science and History.

If Belize and the countries in the Caribbean had an economy that could provide jobs to their citizens, advanced institutions to educate their people and stop political victimization, fewer people would leave their countries to come to the United States and abroad. In Belize, the people that leave the most are the black Belizeans, Creoles and Garifuna. In looking at the rate of poverty and low income people they make up the majority.

Some people believe this is the case because most black people in Belize are lazy and do not want to work. I do not accept this as the only reason why black people are unemployed, living in poverty and are the lowest group in Belize's economic ladder. Belize City has the largest concentration of black people in the country of Belize. It is followed by the rural villages in Belize District, Stann Creek District, Cayo and Toledo Districts. In Belize City and the District there are not enough industries to employ all the black people that are unemployed.

This has led to some young people joining gangs, engaging in criminal and other anti-social activities throughout the city and the suburbs. Young people who have needs will not sit around and beg people all the time for money. They will get their money by any means necessary. A large percentage of these unemployed youths finished high school and were told that, if they go to high school and complete their education, they will be able to obtain a good paying job.

It costs many of the poor families in Belize a lot of money that they do not have to send their children to high schools, junior colleges and universities in Belize. The parents and the children are looking forward to graduation day with the false expectation that their children will find jobs when they graduate.

Upon graduation, not only from high schools, junior colleges and the Belize University or Galen University, they cannot find any work. In order for these young people to go to college, their parents had to take out loans to pay for their tuition. Having qualifications and then looking for jobs to pay back tuition is not a joke. The educated Belizeans will then be forced to come to the United States to further their education, look for jobs or to join family members.

Today, even the United States, a rich country, is having major problems with unemployment and cannot find work for its unemployed citizens. Belizeans, people from the Caribbean, Latin America and the world still see America as the country where they can improve their living standards and accomplish their dreams despite its economic problems. This is why people are migrating to the United States in huge numbers. However, Belizeans, Caribbean citizens and people from other countries in the world who live in the United States today are struggling to survive.

Belizeans, Caribbean and citizens of other countries came to the United States with the intention to go back home but only if they accumulate wealth, build a home in their homeland, have enough money to live comfortably, start their own business or retire. Why? Because that was what they had in their minds before they came to America. Many of them vowed to themselves that they will not return back home without accomplishing these goals. If they go back to Belize and their other countries without any of these things, they will be looked down upon as poor Americans and they will be living in misery.

To avoid this drama, they decide to stay in America and hope that things get better, and some of them end up dying in the United States. Belize and other countries barely have any programs to provide employment for their citizens and this is the reason why their unemployment rates are high. These countries do not even give their citizens the impression that they are doing something to help them gain meaningful employment.

There are some Belizeans, Caribbean citizens and people from other countries in the world who have done well in the United States and the Diaspora. Some of them want to go back home and contribute to their country's growth but there is no program that was made available to them in Belize and by the other countries’ governments. In Belize, the Caribbean and other countries in the world, there are some individuals in government who do not want these people to come back to their homeland. Why? Because they see them as a threat to their political survival and refuse to pass any laws in their favour or create any policy initiative that will be to the benefit of the citizens who live in the Diaspora.

For those selfish-minded individuals, just bear in your mind that everything you obtain here an earth, you will leave right here on earth for somebody to enjoy or destroy. America has changed and Belizeans, Caribbean citizens and people from other countries in the world, are now beginning to realize that they need to start to have something back home in the event that things get worse.

This is the reason why in the discussions I have had with Belizeans, Caribbean citizens and people from other countries they have no other choice but to form associations to work with their homeland countries to implement a Diaspora initiative policy that will benefit Belizeans in the United States and the Diaspora.


Top
#469031 - 07/26/13 11:44 AM Re: Commentary: Belizeans should be allowed to vote: [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Commentary: Belizeans in the US form new group to address dual citizenship rights

By Wellington C. Ramos

When Belize became independent on September 21, 1981, Belizeans who were born in Belize and became citizens of the United States and other countries automatically lost their Belizean citizenship. While people who were not born in Belize that obtained Belizean citizenship through descent, marriage to a Belizean citizen naturalization, etc. retained the citizenship of their natural born country and Belizean citizenship with all the rights, privileges and to run for office, including becoming the prime minister of Belize.

In 1984 when the United Democratic Party became the government of Belize for the first time, they introduced a Bill to give back Belizeans who were born in Belize their citizenship and also recognize the citizenship they possess from their second country. However, despite the passing of this Bill, which became law, there were contradictions with the constitution, newly passed legislation, the election and boundaries laws and the People’s Representation Ordinance with qualifications to run for office.

Under Belize’s current constitution it is unlawful for the government of Belize to grant citizenship status to Guatemalans because their country has not recognized Belize’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, independence and their country still claims Belize up to this day. Plus, Guatemalans who obtain Belizean citizenship are granted all the rights of full citizenship, which includes land, lots, housing, farm land, the right to vote, to run for political office, including becoming the prime minister of Belize. Under Guatemalan law, their citizens cannot renounce their citizenship when they become citizens of another country. Also, I am not aware of any law in Belize where Belizeans can renounce their citizenship as well if they were born in Belize.

Also children born in the United States and other countries who have a Belizean parent or parents, married to a Belizean citizen and obtained Belizean citizenship through all the means specified in the Belize Constitution. Belizeans who currently possess dual citizenships with the United States and other countries only are given the right to apply for a Belizean passport and nothing else. The price they pay for their passports in the United States is more expensive than what the Belizeans pay who are living in Belize. They also have to wait longer before their passports are returned to them.

In 2009, the current prime minister of Belize, the Right Honorable Dean Barrow, proposed the Article-7 Amendment to give Belizeans who possess dual citizenship the right to run for political office without renouncing the citizenship of their second country. The day when he was suppose to table this amendment, he decided at the last minute to withdraw it but pledged that he was going to re-introduce it later on up the road. Many supporters of this amendment were shocked when he decided to withdraw this amendment because his political party had a 25-6 majority in the Belize House of Representatives -- enough to pass it and make it law.

The name of this new group is Belizeans United for Belizeans’ Citizenship Rights (BUBCR) and it is comprised of Belizeans in all the major cities in the United States, other countries throughout the world and their country of birth. This group’s main goal is to lobby the opposition political parties, the Belizean people at home and abroad and the government of Belize to reintroduce the Article-7 Amendment Sections 4 and 5 to grant Belizeans with dual citizenship the right to run for office and to ensure that full citizenship rights are granted to all Belizean citizens despite the fact that they possess dual citizenship with the United States and other countries abroad.

These Belizeans see this as a move that will further lead to the social, economic and political development of our country. This organization welcomes all Belizeans despite their race, colour, class, creed, sex, religion, economic status, veteran status, political party affiliation and country of natural born origin. Members of this group have pledged to do whatever they can to make sure that the amendment is re-introduced and that the government of Belize enforces and implements a Diaspora program that will benefit all Belizeans who possess dual citizenship.

Caribbean News Now


Top

Links
Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!


Things to do

News
Daily News
Daily Weather

Classified Ads
BelizeNews.com
San Pedro Sun
Ambergris Today
SP Town Council
Channel 7
Channel 5
Amandala
Love FM
The Reporter
Caye Caulker
Chronicles

PLUS TV
TV Newscasts
Radio Stations

Click for our
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites

Event Guides
Event Calendar
Specials & Events
Things to Do
SanPedroScoop
iTravel Belize
Paradise Theater

Blogs
San Pedro Scoop!
Tia Chocolate
Tacogirl
My Beautiful Belize
I-Travel Belize
Belize Adventure
Belize Hub
Romantic Travel
Bound for Belize
Conch Creative
As The Coconuts Drop
More Blogs...
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites
Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
Lil’ Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
Mini Chat

Cayo Espanto
Click for Cayo Espanto, and have your own private island
More Links
Click for exciting and adventurous tours of Belize with Katie Valk!
December
S M T W T F S
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Who's Online
2 registered (ragman, samalvey), 43 Guests and 5 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
18,672 Registered Members
44 Forums
64,047 Topics
462,273 Posts

Most users ever online: 1,262 @ 06/10/07 07:16 PM




AmbergrisCaye.com CayeCaulker.org HELP! Visitor Center Goods & Services San Pedro Town
BelizeSearch.com Message Board Lodging Diving Fishing Things to Do History
BelizeNews.com Maps Phonebook Belize Business Directory
BelizeCards.com SanPedroDaily.com Picture of the Day

The opinions and views expressed on this board are the subjective opinions of Ambergris Caye Message Board members
and not of the Ambergris Caye Message Board its affiliates, or its employees.