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Jun 15, 2011

P.U.P. rejects 4 of 5 proposed amendments

Francis Fonseca

Five pieces of legislation, among them the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Amendment Bill, Belize Constitution Eight Amendment Bill, Indictable Procedure Amendment Bill, Juries Amendment Bill and the Supreme Court of Judicature Amendment Bill were introduced in the House in May. They are a bundle of initiatives by the government to tackle crime and violence that have grown exponentially throughout the country, more so in the Old Capital where homicide remains on a steady increase. The passage of the legislation requires constitutional amendments after countrywide consultations and the support of three fourths majority in the House. Those consultations are yet to begin but this morning the People’s United Party put forward what it called a position paper.  The slew of amendments was described as draconian, except for one, which the P.U.P. says it can live with. At a press briefing at Independence Hall, attorneys Anthony Sylvester, Francis Fonseca and Shoman explained what the position paper sets out to accomplish.

Lisa Shoman, P.U.P. Senator

Lisa Shoman

“This is our way of helping to explain, educate and demystify what is in some of the laws because when they were presented in the house they took quite a bit of people not only by surprise but by storm.  This prime minister has a track record.  This is the third in a series of constitutional amendments which he has made since 2008 and not once has the prime minister bothered to consult with the people before making these amendments.  His style has always been, at it seems will always be, to propose first and then to have to walk himself back from the position.  In 2008 for instance when preventive detention was first floated under the Sixth Constitution Amendment Bill Barrow had to withdraw it because it was completely bad for Belize and Belizeans recognized it.  But unfortunately this version is significantly worst both in terms of length and scope and its terrible application to both nationals and non-nationals alike because forget the fact that citizens are going to be made subject to this but also any visitor to our shores and any person who is here whether legally or illegally except if you have diplomatic immunity.  So that’s one of the things that has to be understood and not once has the prime minister bothered to consult either the general public or even the Bar Association on these changes.  So in as many years we have a third constitutional amendment and bear in mind you know in twenty-five years of our country being independent we had five constitutional amendments.  In the last three we have had three more.”

Francis Fonseca, Deputy Party Leader, P.U.P.

“The P.U.P. cannot and will not support this proposed amendment to the Constitution of Belize which will allow for the detention of any Belizean citizen or person being within Belize, including minors and children, for a period of up to fifty-two days (or more since there is no prohibition against repeated detention) on the basis of mere suspicion, not even “reasonable” suspicion.”

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9 Responses for “P.U.P. rejects 4 of 5 proposed amendments”

  1. bert says:

    jajajaaj PUP did worst decisions during their time… so their opinion do not even count!

  2. Revolution says:

    …and belize rejects 30 out of 31 PUP standard bearers. Stop making noise and make a damn difference by cleaning up your messed up party.

  3. Roy Yates says:

    Could it get any worst in Belize to emagin that someone would be denied medical care if arrested?
    About been lied on by some malicious person and the accused won’t know who the accuser would be? Folks if this is not a wake up call to be very careful of whom is given the power to be law maker , then what is? Belize is in serious trouble, a fail State.

  4. rod says:

    go lisa do whats right

  5. new pup says:

    ask Francis Fonseca if the UHS bailout that he signed did not negatively impact the economy and in return the present crime situation. he has to address that first to have any credibility..

  6. Get it right says:

    Sometimes politics need to be taken out of the decision making process because it affects people from making rational decisions. Sorry PUP but i for one agree with the measures that this Government is taking because crime and murders are getting out of control. The preventative detention will get many of these trouble makers off the street which result in a drop in crime, might not be a significant drop but it will have a positive effect. As for the part where the statement of witnesses and jury by judge is allowed, i support this all the way. I dont think the PUP are seeing how many criminals are walking free because witnesses are scared. I could understand if they would offer suggestions to improve but not go completely against the ammendments bc the times have changed and we need to take control of the country before its gets too far gone. Wake up PUP, just bc you are the opposition you should oppose everything. All you are doing is upholding the bad crime state because its political. PUP knows that as long as the crime gets worse, it will be a tool for them to use in the next election. Politics is a dirty game in which we are the ones that suffer.

  7. L..K says:

    O.k. so any individual can be arrested on the basis of suspicion. how is that going to help? The real criminals don’t even get punished even when they are known to have committed a crime. come on……..we need something better than that.

  8. COLEFRANCE says:

    It is time for the Representatives in Belize’s Legislature to work amicably and genuinely putting asside “Differences Of Embellishments”. In any Democracy a Referendum is essential prior to any Amendment to it’s Constitution. Often it is not the System that is at fault, but the people executing the processes within. It is evident that a providential foundation Conducive to Knowledge with the Resources must be implicated in going forward.

  9. Peter says:

    agree with you ‘ get it right’

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