The Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association [BGYEA] and its social partners participated in a National Land Reform Rally on Tuesday, February 26, 2013, at the steps of the National Assembly in Belmopan.
The crowd of about 135 men and women commenced the march from the area behind the museum over to the National Assembly and then circled that building three times, all the while, chanting for "transparency and accountability" and "land for the needy, not the greedy", and singing songs of redemption.
The purpose of the rally was to highlight the need for increased transparency, efficiency and accountability in the management and distribution of national lands as well as to secure commitment by the Prime Minister of Belize and the minister responsible for the distribution of land for their support for as well as direct participation in a series of public consultations through which a national land reform policy can be developed and implemented.
Among the reform objectives are the implementation of measures to 1) address the various forms of corruption have been allowed to thrive across successive governments and 2) promote poverty alleviation through first time land ownership drives and the implementation of incentives for small scale agricultural development.
Various traditional and nontraditional options for civic participation are being made available to those who wish to support the initiative:
Visit www.Facebook.com/BelizeUnboxed to sign and share the electronic petition available there. Use any mobile phone to send a text message beginning with the word LANDS to the number 662 2981 to express your land concerns to GOB and the Ministry of Natural Resources.
According to Samiyyah Andrewin of Belize Unboxed, since the 22nd of February, 123 Belizeans from across the country have sent SMS messages to the email inboxes of the Ministry of Natural Resources using our text-2-email service and 299 have signed the web based petition.