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Dec 13, 2017

Ashley Rocke Swings Vote Despite Plea from P.U.P.’s Courtenay

Ashley Rocke

From the inception of its plan to present the Bill, the P.U.P. went on the move to lobby the social partner senators, who often prove to be the deciding factor in legislative passage in the Senate as opposed to the House. And while Senators Mark Lizarraga, Elena Smith and Osmany Salas spoke in favor of the motion, Church Senator Ashley Rocke swung against, suggesting that the Opposition was in error for choosing this route.  Meanwhile, the motion and bill’s originator, Eamon Courtenay, noted that the time for negotiation was long past and that Belize was wasting a golden opportunity if it did not move now.

 

Ashley Rocke, Churches Senator

“I am sure that our Senator colleague with his legal prowess has done a good job in putting together what we ought to do in terms of the way forward and so in that regard we are able to agree with that part. But as it relates to bringing it the way it is brought, it is brought to the Senate – someone said, we continue to say it in Belize, ignorance to the law is no excuse. And as far as we understand it, the way things go in Belize is that we must adhere to the way things ought to be done, and that is to the law, and how the law relates to us. In this particular chamber we have a responsibility to make sure that if anybody sets the standard as to following the law, that we do. And in that regard when we looked at the fact that the motion is coming to us through the Senate, it calls wonder whether this is the way things ought to go or if there is a shift and it’s coming from another direction.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator

“For those members on the other side who seem not to know the history, who seem not to know the facts, there are no negotiation between Belize and Guatemala seeking to resolve the dispute. And let me say this, Mr. President: the Attorney General says, but suppose the referendum fail, then we have to negotiate? And I say, so what? So what? You see, Mr. President and members of the Senate, we must read the Maritime Areas Act, because Senator Hulse just talked about repealing the Maritime Areas Act; we can’t repeal the Maritime Areas Act. The Maritime Areas Act prescribes what our maritime areas are; every country in the world has a law that prescribes what its maritime area is. But we must understand what this proposed amendment seeks to do. This amendment, Mr. President and members of the Senate, seeks to repeal [those] provisions in the Maritime Areas Act that would have allowed for some possibility in settlement by way of negotiations, in which Belize would not have claimed all that it was entitled to under international law. What we on this side are saying now is this: those negotiations have gone on for over four decades and they have not produced a result; we are to go to the I.C.J. if our people approve it, and if our people do not approve it, we say, amend the Maritime Areas Act to ensure that if there is any negotiations after that, there will be no compromise on the maritime areas of Belize. (Applause) It is therefore, Mr. President and members of the Senate, completely counter-intuitive for members of the Senate on the government side to not vote in favour of a bill that will make it very clear to Guatemala and to all the world, that that possibility of a negotiated settlement on the maritime side is over and cannot happen again; that we have closed the door on that, and that will never be a part of any possible discussion.”

 

The division went seven to six against the motion, with the Government side voting no as a bloc along with Rocke, and the Opposition and remaining social partners voting in favour as a bloc.

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1 Response for “Ashley Rocke Swings Vote Despite Plea from P.U.P.’s Courtenay”

  1. carlos says:

    The church has to start thinking about Belize and not about party politics. This shows that Belize is not important for the churches Mr. Rock represents. We know that this is not a representative of all the churches inn Belize.

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