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Dec 13, 2017

Senate Government Caucus Skeptical on Maritime Areas Amendment

Michael Peyrefitte

The Senate met for its final session for 2017 this morning in Belmopan. On the agenda were four bills and two motions brought from the House of Representatives along with a few ratifications of international treaty commitments. But the big story coming out of the Upper Chamber tonight is the Opposition People’s United Party’s attempt to start discussion and debate on the Maritime Areas Act, first introduced in 1991. The Act had bipartisan support, which led to a brief split in the-then Opposition United Democratic Party caused by its opponents. It sought to give an avenue for negotiations between Belize and Guatemala to settle the latter’s unfounded claim. But after multiple attempts over the years, negotiations have been abandoned and the countries committed, subject to their electorates’ approval, to settle the matter at the International Court of Justice.  The P.U.P. hoped to get bipartisan agreement to revise the Act to restore Belize’s maritime holdings to the maximum allowable, but it was not to be. The Government Senators opposed a motion introduced by Senator Eamon Courtenay seeking leave to present the Bill, arguing that it was not the right time or place and that they wanted more time for national and internal debate. Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte also questioned why the P.U.P.’s House of Representatives contingent was not trusted with the task.


Michael Peyrefitte, U.D.P. Senator

“In the House you see though, Madam President, the incompetence on that side of the House is on steroids. And so they don’t know how to bring it on that side of the chamber in the House. Because the question would be, ‘this is so big, this is so important; why wasn’t this, if it was so important for the People’s United Party, why wasn’t it introduced by the Leader of the Opposition in the House? Why not, why not? Are you, Senator Courtenay, the leader of the People’s United Party? Because that is the person, that is the place, from which such an introduction should be attempted – not from the Senate. It flows naturally, whatever we may think about ourselves – from the people, to the House, to the Senate, to the Governor General.”


Aldo Salazar

Aldo Salazar, U.D.P. Senator

“We would like to talk about sovereignty and securing …this has nothing to do with sovereignty – this has been the case for the past twenty years, and our sovereignty has been intact and will remain intact. So let’s not prey on nationalistic tendencies and inflammatory remarks such as those, this has nothing to do with sovereignty. It had to do with negotiation. Negotiations, at the time as far as I understand it, was that this was put in place because we wanted to arrive at a settlement, and the understanding is that once we are certain that we no longer want to negotiate a settlement, this would have been changed. I don’t think we are at that point, respectfully; I do not think we are at that point.”


Carla Barnett

Dr. Carla Barnett, U.D.P. Senator

“There is no fight that there is a need to amend this legislation, repeal this legislation – there is no fight about that in the long run. I think it’s about timing and getting the timing actually right, and it is also about making sure that we are united in doing this. I believe I heard my colleague Senator Courtenay indicate at the start that there has been an approach for the bipartisan approach to be resuscitated, to be reenergized, so that we can have the conversation and agree, broadly, on what the approach should be. This is one of the questions that I think that bipartisan approach needs to determine – when is the appropriate time and how do we put this matter before the House and the Senate.”

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2 Responses for “Senate Government Caucus Skeptical on Maritime Areas Amendment”

  1. carlos says:

    This shows the ignorance of these UDP senators , including senator Rock. This why we can not trust the present government to takes us to the ICJ. They are incompetent for this job. They need to study the history of this Guatemalan claim. This government puts party politics in every thing. They are not thinking about the good for our country. Its sad, sad, sad. People they need to go.

  2. carlos says:

    Aldo you need to to LAw school. Apparently you do not understand the situation. Senator Courtney is an experience Lawyer in this matter. He has proven himself. So if you do not know shut up.

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