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Jul 25, 2011

Belize constitution in jeopardy

Oscar Sabido

At Friday’s sitting of the House of Representatives, Prime Minister Dean Barrow introduced a dangerous amendment to the constitution that is also being described as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. On the heels of the nationalization of B.E.L. and the re-nationalization of Telemedia, the PM made it clear that measures would be implemented to enshrine in the constitution, the government’s control of public utilities. Last Friday, the bill was introduced but the wording used by Barrow allows for much more than barring challenges to government’s control of utilities. It extends to any challenge to any amendment to the constitution. The reaction has been swift and many members of the legal profession are coming forward against the proposal.  According to attorney Oscar Sabido, it is a matter of national emergency to stop dead in its tracks the proposed amendment.

Oscar Sabido, Attorney

“Section two of the constitution is the section that declares that the constitution is the supreme law of the land and that any law which is inconsistent with the constitution is void.  That section is now being amended to say that any amendment to the constitution cannot be deemed to being inconsistent with the constitution. An amendment to the constitution in this case is the amendment to constitution that provides for the entry into the constitution as new sections to the constitution that provide for the acquisition of public utilities in Belize. And the acquisition of public utilities in Belize is an amendment to the constitution cannot be questioned or deemed to be inconsistent with the constitution as set out in section two.  Any other can be entered into the constitution and it could fall under this particular amendment to the constitution which says that whilst it is an amendment to the constitution, it is adding in acquisitions of any kind—be it oil, any other industry; you cannot question it. And your rights to go the court is now nonexistent in respect of that particular acquisition.  It is an abrogation of the fundamental pillar of our democracy which is the rule of law and the supreme law of the land being the constitution. The constitution is the supreme law of the land because it has entrenched in the constitution set out in section 69 because the constitution provides the rights and freedoms and privileges; the rights to redress to the courts cannot be change except by going under section 69. But now because of the amendment, if you go ahead and change by amendment to the constitution, anything you wish to put in the constitution, preventive detention, then it can be said that that cannot be challenged in a court of law. That particular law will not be challenged because it will become part of the constitution itself.  Now the constitution is being used to soak in anything the government wants to put in there. And then because of this ninth amendment, then it cannot be questioned. The right of redress, under section twenty is being taken away. You cannot go to a court of law and question it. Just like how this is saying you cannot question the right as to government’s acquisition of public utilities. It is absolute; it can’t be question. It’s final. You cannot bring up the question of natural justice.”

Jose Sanchez

“Is this something that the bar association should be considering as quickly as possible?”

Oscar Sabido

“It’s actually in my opinion a matter of emergency.”

Sabido says that the issue should be dealt with by all people who are concerned with the rights and liberties of the individuals, especially the rights of redress to the courts. This proposed amendment would erode the principles of the independence of the court to determine issues that are entrenched in the constitution.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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26 Responses for “Belize constitution in jeopardy”

  1. WTF says:

    THIS AMENDMENT IS NOT ABOUT THE NATIONALIZATION OF UTILITIES. This is the old magicians trick of watch this hand while the other is doing something else. Barrow is trying to distract you with one thing but his true agenda is hidden. He does not need to change the constitution to this extent. Listen to what these Lawyers are saying..THIS IS A NATIONAL EMERGENCY BARROW WANTS TO CHANGE THIS COUNTRY FROM A DEMORCRACY TO A DICTATORSHIP..They understand what Barrow is doing and everyone else better listen and take note… THIS IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS WHAT BARROW IS PROPOSING!!! If you agree with what Barrow is doing….you are an IDIOT and don’t completely understand the issue….And if you don’t believe me…in the not to distant future…..I’ll be the guy at the back of the room telling you “I TOLD YOU SO”

  2. Ricky Malthus says:

    What will it take for belizeans to understand the gravity of the section 69 amendment? a ton of bricks to fall on their heads? What is Barrow’s motive for oppressing the people? One has to look at his personality profile. Barrow is a certified racist just like his Amandala first cousin. If you could only hear their secret machinations on how to destroy the local latinos and replace them with Barbadians and Jamaicans, howthe secret commodities deal is progressing which selects black Belizeans to give 50 acres of land and $50,000 to plant commodities for Caribbean countries amongst other vile things. This man hates Belize, he hates Esquivel, he hates latins(wishes he was one). I say order a complete shut down of the country and exile Barrow to Jamaica where his true families exist, and I know that most of you soporofic Belizeans will bellow racism, but the facts and evidence are staring you in your faces. Barrow must resign or forced to resign and exiled forcefully. We are demanding the UK,USA, Mexico Canada, The EEC and all surrounding countries freeze all government assets, freeze Barrow’s personal assets abroad, stop trade with Belize until Barrow is gone and the people of belize must take to the streets to protest this dictatorship move and call new elections now. Away with this scoundrel,this scourge, this enemy number one of the people. Barrow ,you must go for the good of the people. Do not try our patience any longer. you have 48 hours to leave Balize.

  3. wisdom says:

    Has anyone else noticed what appears to be a serious logical flaw in the proposed ammendments? The two changes are working at odds with each other. First we change the constiution to ‘enshrine’ public ownership of utilities. This is done so that no future government can sell out a majority shares to foreign investors. However, the other change makes the constitution a weak document anyway. Hence, nothing has been enshrined since any future government can make unquestionable amendments. In the end, therefore, we have gone no where. One defeats the purpose of the other.

  4. reggie says:

    WHERE IS THE AG PITTS?WHAT IS THE LAWYERS AND JUDGES DOING?WAKE UP MY PEOPLE .STOP THIS MAN NOW.GO ON STRIKE BEFORE IT IS 2 LATE. SAD DAY ARE COMING FOR OUR KIDS IF WE DON’T STOP HIM.HE IS IN HIS OWN WORLD NOT FOR THE PEOPLE ONLY FOR HIM FAMILY AND POCKET $. NOT FOR THE PEOPLE HE ONLY WANT POWER.

  5. rasman says:

    Dean Oliver Barrow Mugabe

  6. David says:

    Yes, to all the working class of belize(which is everybody) we should reject barrow and his plans to make Belize his . This guy is mad, he is dictating all of this. He should be asking belizeans what to do. He is our worker not our boss. Please belizean this is it. open your eyes now .

  7. mylegacyb4mypeople says:

    if Barrow is nothing else he must be the bravest Belizean because if he was on the other side he would have already taken to the streets to show his objections to everything that is going on, so you cannot just blame Barrow for all that is going on right now, blame the opposition also as they seems to be standing on the sidelines doing nothing but jabbering, then maybe it is just a big conspiracy that includes the opposition also since they are most likely to take over power comes next election, not that they are a better option but that they are the only other option and will be reaping the fruits of whatever actions is taken today. Remember, My Legacy B4 My People.

  8. Lucas says:

    If I understand correctly, present and past comments centers on what govt. is doing, the urgency of the situation with a call to do something but the callers themselves do nothing. It reminds me of the story WHO WILL BELL THE CAT? found in my long time ago school reading book. All the rats understood the urgent need to PRONTO bell the cat which was a terrifying menace to the rat community but no rat dared himself to bell the mean cat. Mr. Barrow has been compared to Hitler, Iddi Amin, Duvalier etc. etc. and rightly so.But, where are all these dictators. Let me say this once and only once to the Belizean people: OPPRESSION BY IT’S VERY NATURE BREEDS THE FORCES THAT WILL ULTIMATELY DESTROY IT. Mr. Barrow recently said that he has been threatened but did not say how. WELL, MR. BARROW THERE IS A LINE. FOR THE LOVE OF BELIZE DO NOT CROSS IT. For you own good, do not confuse patience with cowardice.

  9. cg says:

    Dean Barrow is preying on the ignorant as the majority of them support him blindly, you want them to turn against him? broke downt he damn language and educate them from the little they understand…..

  10. incredible says:

    Nothing is wrong with bringing Jamaicans, Barbadians, Haitians into Belize. We have been more than generous in bringing in refugees from El Salvador and Guatemala in the past. Why cant we bring in Caribbean people too?

  11. incredible says:

    Oh and by the way Barbados which is probably more than 90% blacks does far better than Belize. It does far better than Guyana where East Indians for the most part have oppressed any sort of Black leadership in Government. Yet Guyanese Indians rush to Barbados in the thousands to seek employment and a better way of life. Stop ignorance and bigotry NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Justice says:

    How much more damage will barrow do? He needs to get out before Friday, Belizeans wake up. this is a national emergency! barrow is no good, Never was, never will be. He is a shame and disgarce and his dictatorship must stop m=now!

  13. Earl Grey says:

    EVERY BELIZEAN NEEDS TO OWN A COPY ON THE BELIZE CONSTITUTION…… AND TO READ IT for themselves.

  14. Jonas says:

    Hey Incredible!!! you are an incredible fool!!!! we do not need more people in Belize!!! listen to the facts man!!! PM has to go. protest my people.

  15. wake up belize says:

    when GOB was trying to gift 30 million to the privately own hospital, UHS. the doctors and the medical union came out to lead a citizens march against it., now it is time we see the lawyers and the Bar Association defend the Constitution of Belize!!!!

  16. Correcting rod says:

    I disagree with mylegacyb4mypeople. Barrow is not a brave man; he is a lucky shrewd fellow with a silver tongue. H. Erlington found a very proper description for him “all glitters but no substance”. That is very true. If you remember before 2008 his confrontation was with words of abuse (an advocate of civil disobedience before 2008) in the House of Rep (just as he continues to do up to now, e.g. the case with Cardona). His ABC, NGO’s and trade unions who did all the work to get him into power. And up to now the press is shielding him, especially the Amandala. Now that he is in power he wants to abuse his office by amending the constitution to suit his ego, which is inclined to a totalitarian and oligarchy. By amending the constitution in the name of nationalization he will reign supreme because no one will be able to criticize him, confront him and/or stop him from doing anything. So Barrow’s governing is not good for Belize because he is not brave but a coward who wants to shield himself by amending the constitution!

  17. Eye in the Sky says:

    I hate to say the truth but 90% of Belizeans are to stupid to realize what is happening.
    They are more interested in getting drunk, stoned and watching wrestling on TV. The internet is too expensive for the average Belizean so they are out of touch with the world and still living in the dark ages. On top of that they are too lazy to protest when they do realize what has happened.
    It will be too late and all Belizeans will suffer is this rat hole called Belize.

  18. c says:

    any amendment to the constitution should be by means of a national referendum…and not because the people in power want to do so at their convenience. where are the national consultations? is this a democracy anymore??

  19. mylegacyb4mypeople says:

    @Correcting rod you could be just right about Barrow not being a brave man as I was only assuming that he was because of the many times he was leading demonstrations in the streets of Belize but then this might be because he had his mob with him which he was probably paying and had made promises to in the event he became prime minister which he happened to have become and is still supporting this mob which I believe is responsible for most of the crime presently going on in Belize reason why he has hardly paid any attention to the crime situation but I still have to say that all the brave people have left Belize or just got too old while the younger people are cowardly killing each other over consuming alcohol, drugs or just whore mongering around the country. Remember, My Legacy B4 My People.

  20. indian woman says:

    Folks,,,, Incredible made a statement about bringing people into our country. Incredible, whoever you are….. stop thinking and posting this nonsense. Some people talk because they have mouth. One of the reasons we are still afloat and not suffering like most other countries is because we are not over populated.Our low population has saved us so far.Now if we can only get rid of the many idiots…… we would be much better off.

  21. Concern citizen says:

    Ricky Malthus:What are you talking about racist against latinos, where have you been black belizeans faces and is still facing racist name calling from latinos. Ever since I was a boy in belize I was called all kinds of names from my latino neighbours. Where were all you complaining people when Musa was selling the country to foreigners who are taking advantage of the black people of belize. But, you being latino did’nt see that because you had it made so, go and ask your latino friend what they thing of black people, even in Los Angeles blacks faces racist behavior from the ” Mexicans” who are taking overCalifornia. Black faces racist remarks from every nation in the world we are the only people who have bad things say about us.
    The irony of all of this is that all people of this earth came from the Black race. Go check your history, we were kings and queens before any other race on earth check it out if you don’t believe me.

  22. j.i.g says:

    it is a total shame and pity what the viewers are saying. but then again they are 10000 percent right. belizeans know what is going on but they can care less. they care for worthless stuff like getting drunk. belizean people have the strenght and audacity to go on the streets for the september celebrations in for PATRIOTISM sake or for sill political conventions and or going to beaches and places. yet now that many people are advising and supporting strikes and demonstrations they prefer to stay home and scratch balls. what better way to demonstrate how patriotics we are by fighting for the correct reasons. for the same reason that is why i had to move out of belize to save my family because my eight year old son who in one occasion asked me “daddy will belize continue being the land of the free” this brought so much pain to my heart when the light of my eyes my son feels unsafe in my home sweet home belize. solidarity with the true belizeans

  23. Nimmo says:

    Where is the Association of Concerned Belizeans??? For crying out loud, our constitution is at stake Lois, Creamy, Steve, Glenn, Ariel, and all those who were once concerned. PLease tell me you will bring a public interest claim to stop this PM from ruining Belize with his 9th constitutional amendment!

  24. moses says:

    I am just finishing reading a book, “War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning”m, by Chris Hedges. It deals in part with countries torn apart from within by ethnic violence against each other. Neighbors and friends, and mixed races all turning against each other in the chaos of the scarcity of resources and hard economic times. Examples are Bosnia, Tutsis Serbia Croatia, Hutus, El Salvador, Guatemala, Cambodia, Sudan. Millions were killed because of blind hatred BY PEOPLE WHO USED TO BE NIEGHBORS AND FRIENDS, and it all began by similar rhetoric that I am reading in this blog. God help us all. The atrocity that has been committed by mankind against each other even in modern times is still possible. Dog eat dog.

  25. jose says:

    Where is the voice of the press.. Amandala.. are u covering dictatorship??? or u playing hide and seek.. this is a very serious amendment to our constitution…

  26. Orangewalkeno abroad says:

    Belizeans abroad are aware of UDP wickedness (evil plans).This constitution change will hurt all,especially our children.It is time to stop all these educated politicians[stupid] from stealing our birthright and freedom.Let us take action to defend what is our’s.Belize belongs to all belizeans and you udpee[there is a bunch of these scoundrels in the house] will not get away with this.Mind you,they will never take stolen treasures to their graves.This is a grave,wrong direction and we have to be brave and stop these alibaba and his thieves from stealing what belongs to the people of belize living at home ,or abroad.If rat de ina u house u hav fi deal wit it.

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