Derived from Senate Presentation on the Belize Territorial Dispute Referendum Bill 2019(BTDRB)
In the future, some medical scientists allege, humans will only require a genetic pill to ‘fix’ any ill the body might be suffering. Belize’s Prime Minister Barrow seems to believe he can already do the same with our Rule of Law. No one in his cadre of ministers seems to be able to speak truth to power to curb this horribly wrong notion. Most probably, these representatives poised as ministers cannot diagnose the errors of his ways.
On the 15th of April, the Senate read and passed the BTDRB with the urgency of a mad rush to the WC. The fumbling President of the Senate, was almost ready to “wrap it up” when all was still raw—practically all the Senators were yet to present. In other words, most of Belize was being silenced by someone who is generally a stranger to them. That rang with deep overtones of disrespect and authoritarianism. Even the ‘new Senator’ thought he would be out by 11:30am. He should have just left, ask Belizeans.
Senator Eamon Courtney’s presentation unapologetically threw hot salt unto the Interim Injunction UDP wound. This assault on the UDP’s referendum process was nothing short of heroic and even Churchill would salute. Social media still rocks at the video clips of his searing words.
Ahead is an attempt to condense the essence. (not necessarily in order of presentation) (After the BOLDTYPE are excerpts)
Call for Unity
“We have an opportunity as Belizeans to renew our commitment on the Belize-Guatemala issue to a united and unified position. It is far too important an issue for us to continue. The Honorable Attorney General blames the PUP for politicizing it and the PUP blaming the UDP for politicizing it. Whoever is at fault, the time is opportune for us to put political differences aside and to approach this matter as Belizeans united to fight against Guatemala.”
April 10 referendum miscue
“It is not without significance that we find ourselves here at the National Assembly debating a bill to allow a referendum to take place lawfully on a day after when the referendum should have been held. That should give us reason to pause; when is it that this government realized that a piece of legislation is required in order to lawfully hold this referendum? We were supposed to go April 10, 2019 without this bill. It means Mr. President that we were going to have a referendum that was not properly authorized by law and that we are now going to consider this piece of legislation; we need to get it right.”
Exposes Election and Boundaries
Vital Stats: Everybody came today with evidence. Everybody come with documents. I bring mine. April 11, 2019, a letter signed by Darrell Bradley, the former UDP Mayor of Belize City and aspirant to Caribbean Shores addressed to Josephine Tamai, Chief Elections Officer on behalf of a client. Mr. Bradley is writing her on a letter she wrote on the 26th of March 2019 under the caption Failure To Carry Out Directives Omitting Applicants From the Registrar of Electors and Monthly Supplemental List.
…Ironically and curiously the vital statistics unit did produce proof of his Belizean citizenship on the same day when he complained to Mrs. Tamai. …What was wrong was that because Mr. Bradley was a member of the UDP his complains to you seems to have been given special significance. …A registering officer is directed by the Chief Elections officer to register someone so that he can vote in the elections.
Interesting: On October 15, 2008 the Honorable PM said in an interview, the Special Agreement would be taken to the National Assembly for its consideration. On the 3rd of December the PM repeated that the National Assembly would consider the Special Agreement. On the 6th of November, our dear departed Ambassador Fred Martinez who was in charge of the process said that the agreement will be taken to the National Assembly for it to be considered. To this day none of these promises have been held.
Courtney position since 2008
On the 26th of November 2008: Courtney quoting himself “We believe that the National Assembly should have debated it and should have in fact should have authorized the Minister to sign it or not authorized the minister not to sign it. But the government of the day has decided that they wanted to go this way and it is their decision.
Senator Godwin’s Fear
Senator Hulse had a fear that going to court with the slightest possibility of losing some ground would seek to deter people who seek a yes vote when the time comes.
Gian Ghandi advise to the then Attorney General
12th of March 2009: No matter what the strength of Belize’s case may be under International Law, the possibility of some territorial adjustment by Belize cannot be ruled out. In fact, it would be surprising to the point of incredulity if the ICJ adjudication would result in a whole sale rejection of Guatemala’s Claim given the nature and composition of the ICJ.
Denny’s Barrow concern
Quoted Ghandhi: It would not be enough to tell Belizeans that Belize has an exceptionally strong case on the merits. Belizeans would want a cast iron guarantee that there would be no loss of Belizean territory in any circumstances. No informed Belizean would want to gamble Belize’s future. The stakes are too high.
Belize Territorial Dispute Referendum Bill 2019
There are still no regulation that provide for monitors to participate in this referendum. Who is going to oversee the voting? Who is going to oversee the counting? The Representation of People’s Act does not provide for a standalone referendum and it does not authorize the appointment of persons. There is no authority under any law in Belize for the appointment of community leaders, member of the bar, member of the chamber, to go into a polling station or to go into a counting station. WHEN this referendum is held and the votes are close, who is going to be fighting over whether a ballot should be accepted or not?
PUP position since 2008
“Talking about peddling propaganda, it is important that the record be clear. I took the time to go into the OAS’s website. December 3, 2008: before the Special Agreement was signed.”
Words from Organization of American States website: Notably, that document(Special Agreement) even though it has already been vetted by the cabinets of both countries had still not been made public. Government of Belize official have said that it will be made public only after it has been signed in Washington. Officials of the opposition People’s United Party have expressed the view that even before the document is signed at the OAS it must go to the National Assembly which is the body legally empowered to submit an issue of National importance to a countrywide referendum.
“Third of December of 2008 in the archives of the Organization of American States, the position of the People’s United Party was made clear.”
This Bill seeks to bring in, through the back door, the Special Agreement into domestic law. We on this side Mr. President ask, “Why the rush?”
El Pueblo unido jamás será vencido. ¡Hasta la victoria siempre, unidos!