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Mar 29, 2017

Business Senator Calls for Legal Review Due to “Uncharted Waters”

There may be basis for the Government’s actions in the Constitution, but does that make it right? Senator for the Business Community Mark Lizarraga told News Five this afternoon in Belmopan that he would have to seek legal recourse for an understanding of the Government’s actions. But he allowed that while the Government may well come out on top, legitimate questions remain about the administration’s plans for ensuring that more revenue can come from Belize’s protected areas. Lizarraga also hailed the rare agreement of the social partners and particularly Church Senator Ashley Rocke, whose vote was the decider in the bill being voted down.

 

Mark Lizarraga

Mark Lizarraga, Senator, Business Community

“We are in uncharted waters; this is really the first time that this has happened, and we’re happy that it happened. We sent a message, we made a statement; we’re used to having our say in the Senate and the Government having its way. Having said that, I am not an attorney; and I will be seeking more counsel on this – I did receive the message while we were in Committee a while ago. But this is uncharted waters, so we need to look at it – I’m sure that the attorneys and the legal minds will have a lot to say about it on both sides; we will get counsel as well, but I cannot comment from a legal standpoint. I’m sure that the Government thinks that what it is doing is legally right, because they know that if it weren’t, they would be challenged. So we’ll have to see what positions they are taking and why and see what the other legal minds have to say about it. I’m glad that for once we saw that all the partners came together; that was refreshing. We came together on a Money Bill – you’ll have to speak to Pastor Rocke about why he chose to make his position. We took the position that we took primarily because we believe that the PACT – you know, I have been fortunate to have been traveling around the country a lot lately, with people that have come to visit, and I’ve been to a lot of the parks, and while there has been a lot of improvement in the parks that PACT manages – I understand that there is a huge amount of parks that PACT is responsible for. I went to Lamanai the other day for example. And while there have been a lot of improvements in the park itself, the main bridge, for example that you get off the boat and walk into Lamanai has no guardrails. Now I went with some elderly people and it was scary, and the bridge was a little shaky, with no rails – people can fall, people can get hurt. Where am I going with this? PACT has done a lot of good work and they need to do a lot more good work. Compelling arguments were made that PACT should be given more. Tourism plays a vital role in our economy and if we have to grow our economy, if we have to take care of these tourists that come to our country, we need to make sure they are safe; we need to make sure that the parks are safe, and that PACT has the resources it needs.”

 

There is no timeline specified for when the Bill will be approved.

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