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Mar 20, 2018

Nat’l Assembly Should Decide on Public Emergency

Precisely what is the intent of Section eighteen of the Constitution, cited by Prime Minister Dean Barrow as the basis for the latest measures against crime? It provides for the handling of states of emergency, defined as any time in which Belize is at war, or any proclamation by the Governor General or the National Assembly. The latter would need a two-third majority of representatives to agree after debate and any resulting proclamation would last as long as sixty days, renewable, rather than thirty as prescribed to the Governor General.  P.U.P. Leader John Briceño registered his concerns about the proposed proclamation.

 

John Briceño

John Briceño, P.U.P. Leader

“If the Prime Minister wants to use the Constitution to address crime in Belize, he did not have to go to the Queen’s representative, to the Governor General. Because under Section eighteen, Subsection three (b), the Prime Minister could have come to the House to have a full debate on the crisis that we are facing in Belize and in particular in Southside Belize City, to be able to then call for a state of emergency in certain areas of the City.  We don’t believe that we are at war, and we believe that the best avenue would have been for the Prime Minister to go to the House, to have a full debate to call that state of emergency. But if we are looking at challenging it, at this time I couldn’t answer you.”

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