The information below is based on my final report as completed by my Placement Leader Ms. Lindy Jeffrey. I am extremely grateful for her support, supervision and encouragement. Without her my time in Belize would not have been the same.
My main focus of attention was to follow up the work started by Mr. Michael Peyrefitte with the Legislative Review document. After reading the document and meeting with Mr. Peyrefitte, I decided on the priority issues for addressing the recommendations.
- To issue each Ministry of GOB with a copy of the Legislative Review document with a covering letter requesting comments relating to the recommendations and how they affected each Ministry.
- To visit the solicitor general, Mr. Elson Keseke, to discuss the possibilities of amending the Constitution of Belize to include the word age in the preamble and also the section on discrimination.
- Of the total of 20 copies issued, I received a response from only 5 Chief Executive Officers.
- I received a favourable response from Mr. Keseke and as a consequence drafted the appropriate constitutional amendments which were supported by Minister Sylvia Flores, from the Ministry of Human Development.
- The amendments were to be presented to the Cabinet in January 2005 had it not been for the period of civil and political unrest that followed the New Year
Mr Peyrefitte’s Legal Review on the situation of Older Persons in Belize can be viewed by clicking on the link below.
Legal Review– requires Adobe Acrobat (326KB).
THE NCA WEBSITE
I developed and set up a website for the NCA. My fiance and I funded this process personally. It is an excellent way of publicizing the NCA. The NCA have agreed to be responsible for the future cost to continue this information site.
GOLDEN AGE CAMPAIGN
This was an idea I developed for providing and improving the delivery of services to Older Persons by the service sector organizations. The Golden Age Campaign was firstly directed at the banks in Belize.
- To visit the Bank of Nova Scotia, First Caribbean and Belize Banks in Belize City to discuss with manages the possibility of providing a better and more appropriate service to Older Persons.
- To devise a template of publicity material that each bank could use to advertise their services for Older Persons.
- One bank was immediately responsive to the ideas presented to them and confirmed their participation in this programme.
- The other two were not so enthusiastic and felt that it would take 3 months to even make a decision as to their ability to participate or not.
- A decision was made to continue to work with the willing bank and hopefully promote them as an example of good practice which would set an example to the other banks to follow.
To compliment the legal amendments to the constitution, which would afford Older Persons greater protection of their rights, I began to amass information on other Older Persons rights to produce a small information booklet. However, she found that some issues needed a little more research and clarification. The section dealing with income security and social security provision was confusing and greater clarity and explanation was needed from this institution.
EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
I enjoyed a very good relationship with my host Ms. Emily Martinez who introduced me to:
- The Garifuna culture and the Belmopan Youth Group
- An after school home working group
- The Belmopan AIDS Commission.
I volunteered my time to all these groups but became very active with the AIDS Commission when I assisted with the preparations for AIDS Awareness Day with other CWW volunteers, Lyndsey Chapman and Sarah Coombes. Together we promoted the events in Belmopan and produced ribbons to raise some funds for the local branch.
I also appeared on a discussion programme on Channel 7 during AIDS Awareness week and raised issues relating to the various affects HIV/AIDS on Older Persons and the increase in their role as caregivers to sufferers of AIDS and also grandchildren having lost their parents to this disease.