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Nov 7, 2017

No Opposition for Opposition’s Sake

Eamon Courtenay

Senator Eamon Courtenay told News Five that the P.U.P.’s three Senators hope to join with the social partner Senators to get the matter debated in the Senate, preferably with but possibly without governmental support, after which it would go to the House once the motion passes. But the “excuses” raised by Foreign Minister Elrington will not wash in any case, because a decision must be made. Courtenay’s hope is that the U.D.P. will not oppose for opposition’s sake.

 

Eamon Courtenay, Former Foreign Minister

“The rationale is two-fold: one, as far as the leader of the Opposition’s shadow cabinet is concerned, I have responsibility for foreign affairs, so I am in the Senate. Two, the chance is greater that we can get it past; simply because if the social partners vote along with us we can get the motion passed and we can get the motion tabled. So the hope is if we get the support of the social partners, we will be able to get it on the floor; that is the reason why we went to the Senate. Obviously, let us assume that the Senate passes it: it doesn’t become law. It then has to go to the House, and so the Government would then have to decide whether or not it is going to, one, put it on the agenda of the House, and if they do, whether they are going to support it. Our point is to focus the Belizean people’s attention on this issue: that it has to be done; it should have been done a long time ago, and we want it done, and so we have commenced a campaign to get it done, and we hope the Government will come along and agree.  I listened to him just now, finding all kinds of excuses as to why his party may not support it. Is that a nationalistic position? Is that in the interest of Belize, to be political on a national issue? The Maritime Areas Act needs to be amended; the People’s United Party is going to make the proposal in the Senate and we are hoping that the civil society senators are going to support us, and we are hoping that the government would stand up and be on the side of Belize and vote for us.”

 

Reporter

“Had you anticipated that the Government would not support this motion that you are making?”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“I – and when I say ‘I’, the party – the decision of the party to propose the amendment is because as Mr. Elrington said, months ago, Cabinet considered this matter and Cabinet has done nothing about it. It needs to be dealt with and it should have been dealt with a long time ago. What reason, what rational basis can be advanced by the U.D.P. for not voting in favor? It can only be that because P.U.P. di propose it, they will oppose. That can only be the basis. I’m assuming that they will be more mature than that; I’m assuming they will be more patriotic than that; I am hoping that they will do the right thing.”

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