By Wellington C. Ramos
The constitution of Belize and most democratic countries in the world is the supreme law of the nation. When a person is elected to office he or she must swear that they will abide by the laws of the constitution and execute them. If any person violates the laws of the constitution, he or she is subject to some form of disciplinary action. For that to happen, the citizens of the country must demand that action be taken against the people who violate their nation's constitution. If the citizens of the country do not demand that action be taken against the individual or individuals who violate the constitution then nothing will be done about it.
This has been the case in Belize with granting Guatemalans Belizean citizenship and not granting natural born Belizean citizens their citizenship rights. We the Belizeans who live in the diaspora come from People's United Party (PUP) and United Democratic Party (UDP) families. Those who are PUP's were reluctant to bring legal action against a PUP government when they violated the constitution. Likewise, those who are UDP's act the same way when it comes to UDP. The fact is now clear that these two political parties have favored Guatemalan citizens' rights over natural born Belizean citizen rights by their actions. The good thing about all this, is that there is no Statute of Limitation for citizens to bring a case against their government for any constitutional violation whether UDP, PUP or any political party governing our country.
The only solution I see now, is for us to come together and bring a case against the government of Belize; to revoke all citizenships that were granted in the past, stop the government of Belize to cease and desist from granting more Guatemalans citizenship and to give natural born Belizean citizens who live in the United States and abroad equal rights as citizens of Belize like those who reside in our country. If this is not done, the UDP will continue to make false promises to us and do nothing. While, the PUP's will be opposed to granting us our rights as citizens of Belize. Any government of Belize can tell us anything while they continue to take these Guatemalans' applications to be processed for citizenship and we will not know about it. Once they get their naturalization certificates, they are eligible to go and register to vote without any questions asked.
The government of Belize has exercised more scrutiny on their natural born citizens to renew their passports, have us wait for months to get them, than the Guatemalans to become citizens of our country to make them vote in our elections. They can vote and our rights to vote will be taken away unless we can show proof that we have lived in Belize for the last two months. It is highly impossible for us to be living in Belize, the United States and abroad as dual citizens at the same time. That is just a residency requirement that the prime minister can fix by passing a Statutory Instrument (SI) to that requirement. Hon. Patrick Faber's suggestion that we have a referendum to decide whether we can vote or run for office, is clear evidence that he is not versed with constitutional law issues and should consult constitutional lawyers who know about it. It seems as if he is against granting natural born Belizean citizens with dual nationalities their rights as citizens of Belize.
Governments have a responsibility to their citizens under the constitution. If government representatives are not serving their citizens best interest, then the citizens have the right to remove them from office. There is justification for this in this case because the governments of Belize both UDP and PUP, has and continue to show preference to Guatemalan citizens over natural born Belizean citizens. Guatemala is still claiming our country and has not recognized our independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty. Let us all now come together pool our resources and find the money to commence this legal action with all of our organizations in the United States and abroad. We can afford to pay the legal fees if we pool our resources together. Getting on social media to talk about this problem will not resolve it but just give them more time to continue doing the same thing and monitor our actions. The governments of Belize has demonstrated that they do not respect us and continue to disrespect us. Now is the time for us to demand our respect as natural born citizens of Belize.
Is the Constitution the supreme law of Belize?
Recently Belize woke up to the fact that the Constitution has been used and abused by our politicians who gave nationality and citizenship to people not qualified under the Constitution.
The constitution of any land is the supreme law of the land. It can override any act passed by any government. So what are we to do now that probably as many as 100,000 people have received nationality and citizenship by no fault of their own but according to the Constitution they are not citizens at all once the minister in charge of Immigration and Nationality declares they are indeed not citizens?
Recently falling on deaf ears among Belizeans and among politicians on both sides of the aisle was the issue of the natural born Belizeans mostly Creole and Garifuna affected, who cannot run for high office in Belize also in the Constitution, but other dual nationals can run. In fact now in light of the recent revelation that so many people are not citizens at all, two of them have already run for national office. Not having dual citizenship because they are not citizens at all of Belize.
As re-registration nears, we see the substantive minister of Immigration and Naturalization has not yet declared those people ineligible to re-register as citizens or nationals. It is his responsibility to declare them so. The Elections and Boundaries officials have every intention to disobey the supreme law of our land, the Constitution. They were not willing to disobey the supreme law of the land to allow Yolanda Schakron to register to run for office but they are willing to do so for a population that does not have Belizean citizenship at all. Why? Those who they stop from having the right to run as dual nationals, are roots Belizeans. They are not good enough to give consideration to because most are creole and Garifuna like unu. But let the others through. Let's have sympathy for them. They have light skin and good hair and they won't cause us trouble. They won't fight for rights.
By the way, As GOB considers all kinds of constitutional fixes for this important problem of one population of Belize. Did you guys hear Hon. Patrick Faber's suggestion that we have a referendum to give the affected creoles and Garifuna dual nationals rights to run for office? He suggested that may be a solution at the forum held recently by Belizean Citizens Abroad at the Biltmore last year. Ok Hon. Faber lets see how you come out on this issue where it concerns another population of fair skin and good hair appeal.