Minister deplores attacks on gays in Belize

BELMOPAN, Belize, Monday July 15, 2013 – A senior government minister has written a public essay expressing grave concerns about what she perceives could be the promotion of hate crimes against gay men and women in Belize. 

Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development Minister Lisel Alamilla posted the short essay on her Facebook page, prefacing her missive by stating that “I do not oppose persons having different views or religious beliefs, but it concerns me immensely when those are being communicated by misinformation, manipulation and fear which could result in hate crime”.

Alamilla used a couple of photographs taken during the pro-Constitution demonstration in Toledo, southern Belize last week, depicting what could be described as the hanging in effigy of the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM).  

“The photo…is extremely concerning and even frightening,” she wrote, questioning whether a line was crossed by those who are opposed to UNIBAM and the revised National Gender Policy.  

“Will they soon be hanging women who dare to be leaders?  Would they have hanged my son who was disabled?  Would they hang me because I am Mestizo who married a black man? You may say absolutely not; but tell me then why is it okay for them to have the cardboard cut-out of a person, with a noose around its neck and the word UNIBAM written across its back? Is this not promoting hate, will this not lead to hate crimes?”

The essay concludes by noting that violence is already on the increase against persons from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) community for their sexual orientation and/or identity. 

“This is personal for me. My loved ones are at risk and our right to be different is at risk,” Alamilla wrote.

She said the challenge to Section 53 of Belize’s Criminal Code is before the Supreme Court and that the Gender Policy is “not a homosexual policy.

“It is a policy that guides how government will protect the rights of all its people. That is the responsibility of government,” she wrote.(CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)