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Dec 16, 2016

P.U.P.’s welcome Longsworth in House; Peyrefitte in Senate

Eamon Courtenay

Thursday’s meeting of the Senate was the last for Vanessa Retreage, who steps down at the end of the year from her powerful portfolios of Attorney General and Minister of Natural Resources. In the former, she is to be succeeded by Michael Peyrefitte, who leaves the Speaker’s chair in the Lower House to join the Upper House. Peyrefitte’s named successor, to be confirmed by the House at its next meeting, is retired nurse and President of the Belize Cancer Society, Laura Longsworth. Lead P.U.P. Senator Eamon Courtenay will be happy to see her join the chamber, but less pleased at seeing Peyrefitte occupying the Government benches. Here is his reaction.

 

Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator

“Let me refer first of all to the proposed appointment, the nomination of Mrs. Laura Longsworth as a Speaker. Speaking for myself, I think it is a fantastic nomination. She is an exemplary person, a great Belizean. She has done tremendous public and private service to this country and I believe that she will bring a certain level of dignity and grace to the House that has long gone; and so I welcome her appointment, and I think that it is going to attenuate to a large extent the vulgar display by parliamentarians in the House. So I think, personally I support it and I am very happy to see that happen. As to the advent of Michael Peyrefitte in the Senate – oh my God! I suspect that the debates would be more robust. The debates will be more colourful; but I love a good debate so I am looking forward to meeting him in the Senate.”

 

Also joining the Senate in the New Year will be a new Senator representing non-governmental organizations; that person will have been selected by mid-January. The House will also have a new Deputy Speaker, area representative for Cayo North, Dr. Omar Figueroa, who replaced newly-named Minister Edmond Castro. Dr. Carla Barnett is designated vice-president of the Senate; she is a Minister of State – in the powerful Finance and Natural Resources Ministries – but not a full Minister, which would disqualify her from the post.

 

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