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Sep 8, 2011

9th Amendment Road Show in Dangriga

The Ninth Amendment public consultations are clearly drawn along party lines. Supporters of the government offer blind support while those that back the blue vehemently oppose. It’s a recipe for contention and on Wednesday evening in Dangriga, it got pretty heated and confrontational. The U.D.P.s Minister Melvin Hulse was ahead in the queue while the opposition was left to trail behind.  It soon got steamy between Minister Patrick Faber, Chairman of the Constitution and Foreign Affairs Committee and John Briceño, a committee member and leader of the opposition.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano has a report of how that went down.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The latest round of public consultation on the controversial Ninth Amendment Bill was held at the parish hall in Dangriga on Wednesday night before an audience of more than three hundred residents.  Unlike previous hearings in Corozal and Orange Walk, last night’s gathering was arguably the most heated, resulting in a suspension of the proceedings when panelists John Briceno and Francis Fonseca vacated their seats at the head table.

Patrick Faber

“Everybody who is in the line from this point will give their name and their view on this amendment.  Your position.”

John Briceño

“Chairman Ive been asking to say something man!”

Patrick Faber

“Please continue sir.”

John Briceño

“Mr. Chairman, respectfully Mr. Chairman I am a member of this panel.”

Patrick Faber

“And I am the chairman of this committee and I will maintain order and I will say when you are supposed to speak.  Please.”

John Briceño

“I feel disrespected when you ask to cut off my mic man because these people have been standing up there for about [Microphone turned off] There we go again…”

Patrick Faber

“Because I am the chairman.  I am in control of this meeting.  Please, please, please.  Please proceed sir.”

John Briceño

“Mr. Chairman I have something to say man!  No man I have something to say!”

Patrick Faber

“Will you proceed?  We will have order.  We will have order So that we can resume these proceedings.”

The chaos that erupted in the snaking queue was precipitated by someone believed to be a supporter of the People’s United Party who refused to identify himself before sharing his position on the proposed legislation.  Citing a delay in the flow of the discussion several officers encircled the individual in an attempt to remove him from the line.  That however, did not go over too well with the party leader.

Patrick Faber

“Your name and your view; that is what we are doing at this time okay We will allow him to speak if he gives his name and his view but thats the extent of his contribution.  We must move on.  The line is still very long.”

John Briceño

“Chairman I think, Mr. Chairman if you will allow me…”

Patrick Faber

“Im sorry.  No.  No.”

John Briceño

“No man, Mr. Chairman I am a member of this panel.  Mr. Chairman I am a member of this panel.”

Patrick Faber

“We will have order in this meeting.”

John Briceño

“I am a member of this panel.”

Patrick Faber

“We will have order in this meeting.  I will hear you in a minute but I need to get control.  We will have order.”

Belizean poet River of Fire, who made the journey all the way from the Belize District to the Culture Capital to voice his opinion, was among a few who pointed out what seemed to be the unfairness in the length of time given to supporters of the United Democratic Party.  He too was dismissed from the podium.

Harley Burn AKA River of Fire

Harley Burn AKA River of Fire

“River of Fire: In: Mr. Chairman you gave Melvin Hulse seven minutes to speak.  I timed it.”

Patrick Faber

“No I did not.”

Harley Burn AKA River of Fire

“Yes you did.  You interrupted him at four minutes.”

Patrick Faber

“Will you give me your point of view on the Ninth Amendment Bill?”

Harley Burn AKA River of Fire

“You interrupted him at four minutes…”

Patrick Faber

“Cut his microphone.  The next person please.  Can the officers remove him from in front of the line please?  Next person.  We have rules to follow.  You will follow those rules or you will not be allowed to give your view, please.  And I know you will write a poem about that, please.”

Fred Garcia

Verbal exchange and walkouts aside, the overall tone of the fourth open forum on the Belize Constitution (Ninth Amendment Bill) was along party lines despite the lingering question of adequate public education on the matter.  Among those who were able to clearly articulate their position on the ninth was Fred Garcia.

Fred Garcia, 9th Amendment Supporter

“I support the 9th Amendment based on two imperatives.  There is the need for us to control the direction of our utilities.  The second imperative is the need to keep our utilities out of the hands of people who own, milk and then threaten the Government of Belize and by extension the citizens of this country.  If ever there was a time to keep the ownership of utilities out of the [hands those people] it is now.  Thank you.”

…and then there were those who vehemently opposed the Ninth Amendment.

Concerned Citizen

“I don’t believe it’s a good idea to have ministers above the constitution.  I believe that is a recipe for disaster.  Two, one person also mentioned that some countries have had a nationalization and it was supposed to be better but unfortunately it doesn’t always mean betterment for the people so in that sense I will say the new prime minister and the new minister and no to the ninth.”

Punta Gorda Town will be the next stop in the countrywide consultation series. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Government is proposing to go back to the House in October with the revised version of the amendment which will entrench public utilities in the constitution. Hearings have been held so far in Belize City, Corozal and Orange Walk but have been cancelled in Independence and San Pedro.

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30 Responses for “9th Amendment Road Show in Dangriga”

  1. Freedom Amuck says:

    Why in the world did they cancel the consultation in San Pedro? San Pedro would be the shining light for the rest of the Nation, it would have been A DANDY , there would be true “CONSULTATION”. We in San Pedro BELEIVE in FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION,THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY,THE RIGHT TO OWN PROPERTY, and THE RIGHT TO GO TO COURT AND FIGHT To RESTORE THOSE RIGHTS,PRIVACY, AND PROPERTY!!!!!!!!!! ESPECIALLY PROPERTY!!!!! And SAN PEDRO has no problem with EXPRESSION!!!!! Maybe San Pedro ought to say “NO HAVE MONEY TODAY” to all the little GOVERNMENT AGENTS riding on TROPIC AIR/MAYA with breifcases trying to collect tax for this and tax for that and telling buisness that they will fine them for this and fine them for that. Extortion and bs because they can’t keep records or operate anything, muchless manage anything. Now We have BEL, BTL,WASA in the hands of these idiots, and we the tax payers must pay these enept people who only work on the 15th and the ending of the month. It is not the government who should provide jobs, it is the government who should create an enviornment where the Private Sector can invest their hard earned overtaxed MULAS $$$$$ to createjobs for people who want to work every day even holidays. You Blind UDP yes sa people becarefull what you wish for you just might get it! AND FOR THAT AND MANY OTHER REASON I SAY NO TO THE NINTH!!!!!!! P.S. THE OIL BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE IT IS OUR NATURAL RESOURCE, SO IS THE WATER!!!!

  2. BlzCUn says:

    Has anyone ever seen the movie animal farm or read the book it is a high school textbook in belize patrick farber reminds me so much of old major or the pigs who try to disguise something that will only be beneficial to them as something that is done for the people. it fills me with so much hatered and disgust as i c what is supposed to ve democracy turn to dictatorship that is exactly where the udp is trying to lead the country. It is evident that patrick is so arrogant when he says i am the chairman and i am hear to mantain order like, hello…. it is like going to private school where teachers say i am right you are wrong i big you are small and there is nothing you can do. that is y belize says no to the ninth amendment proposal

  3. BlzCUn says:

    it is evident that the dictatorship will live on as long as the udp are in power as they victimizer and shut the mouths of those who speak what is nest people will start dissapearing like in cuba. At aprox minute 9 and some seconds when the guy from belmopan tells him the fact that only ppl who suport are given the opportunity to speak or are given longer mike time. it is so rude as he says cut of his mike that is the most clear view that they are dictators and they victimize us as they had the man removed by officers open your eyes ppl the ninth amendement is only 1 step closer to belize being dictated by the udp

  4. I Have Awaken says:

    THIS IS WHY THE CONSTITUTION SHOULD BE CHANGED THAT AMENDMENTS SUCH AS THIS GOES TO A REFERENDUM.

  5. Rod says:

    What doesn’t this idiot pm an d gov get the people say no to this enough is enough how stupid can you be barrow they even try to cheat in the meetings by giving their people more time to talk this gov corruption is being done in the open now they don’t even try to hide it anymore this is a true sign of communism wake up belizeans y a todos Los Latinos de be lice este animal barrow dice que Odia a toda la jente que no son negros para quien van a voter.

  6. belizeanpride says:

    this patrick is E….. S.O.B he needs a slap in the face to have more manners. what kind of political person shows no respect but ignorance when he suppose to show the country some profesionalism as a minister of education when he don’t even have morals, cut off people when speaking, then how the hell are we gonna speak out our opinion if he cut off the might like that. if he’s the chairman who give a ….. if he is, all he suppose to do is listen to what the people have to say and then answer if he needs to. Jeez what a moron.

  7. Charlie Price says:

    We should call it ….THE 9th AMMENDMENT …..POPPY SHOW!!!!

  8. general says:

    I wish and hope that these people who are in support of the 9amndt. are the only ones that gets affected when/if ( i hope not) passes. Again there are some Belizeans who dont even have common sense that only see as far as the point of their noses and still that is too far…….told by politicians what to say in these forums or meetings. i feel sorry for them getting to the mic and just like hanging themselves…”.i wish you are one that is reading this…..poor you, you are only creating a dark future for your kids and grand kids”…….
    Too be honest I am for nationalization of our utilities but i am not for putting it in the hands of dirty, corrupt, thieves, robbers, good for nothing politicians……they pretend that they want to acquire it for the people but in reality its just for them to make a buck or two to put in their pockets…

    ” I CHALLENGE EVERY HARD WORKING BELIZEANS WHO WANT GOOD FOR OUR COUNTRY AND OUR PEOPLE TO UNITE “unity is strength” LETS SEE WHAT WE CAN DO FOR OUR COUNTRY, OUR KIDS ARE GOING TO SUFFER, WE ARE ALREADY SUFFERING IMAGINE 10 YRS DOWN THE ROAD AND BEYOND “dog eat dog” WE MUST DO SOMETHING AND I MEAN WE MUST” LETS FORM A COALITION OF HONEST AND BRIGHT BELIZEANS WHO WANTS THE BEST FOR BELIZE……

    WHAT ARE WE CELEBRATING ABOUT 30 YEARS OF NONSENSE AND RAPING OF OUR JEWEL. WE ALL DONT HAVE TO BE KING AND QUEENS IN BELIZE BUT EVERY EVERY SINGLE HOME SHOULD HAVE THE BASIC: job, shelter, food and education. I HAVE A DREAM THAT ONE DAY JUST ONE DAY IF WE STAND UP NOW , THAT IT IS POSSIBLE. WE NEED TO WEED OUT THE ROTTEN POTATOES OF OUR COUNTRY. THIS WOULD BE OUR FIRST STEP.

    TELL ME WHAT U ALL THINK…..

  9. Me says:

    I would say nobody celebrate Belize independence and the 10. People Belize being raped and no dignity will be left id this so 9 th amendment be passed. Lets unite our voices. Take this UPD oppresion down. lets put new people, no PUP either, lets set belize free once and for all.

  10. Belize bwai says:

    Am a teenager not in to Politics but what is the point Johnny Briceno was acting like this all The minister was tellin him to do was to give him a minute to retain order n he will let him speak… n as for the guy that was causing a commotion rules are rules.. if u wanna b apart of the public Consultation u have to follow the rules..when ur in a primary school they ask u to pray b4 u start classes.. what was so hard for him to introduce his self n his view making things so difficult..No matter what party ur in Blue or red everyone deserve there respect n disrespecting the minister n tellin him to shut up..thats sad how does Belize look when foreigners come n watch our new. TO me Belize needs a whole new party n members

  11. Fromafar says:

    Children running the country… no wonder we cannot move on…

  12. mbrad says:

    Because I am the chairman of this committee,,,, I run the show…. I’ll cut your mic

  13. cindy says:

    Gosh with this meeting all i can say is that politician ride the people. Government is the people but we cant do nothign since every one is employed by government! people afraid to loose job will keep mouth shut. we need another goverement.

  14. Ricky Malthus says:

    People of Belize stop playing Barrow’s game. We the people don’t have to attend their Constitutional meetings. We can set up and organize our own meetings and broadcast them to the nation. Give a recorded copy to Barrow and the world to let them know we are against dictatorship.Besides, if Barrow passes this amendment against our will, we can ignore him and this measure by arresting him and try him in a people’s court. This is serious business but it must be done. Barrow is not a decent person and must be stopped.

  15. DT says:

    I hear Faber called all the Belize City School Wardens in for a meeting, telling them they were all getting a payment (Though I wasn’t told what the ‘payment’ was for).

    Of those that attended, hoping to get paid, only those that attended and voted in the UDP Council Convention did.

    Now, petty as it seems, where did the money come from? Surely that money would have been better spent on EDUCATION? Books, feeding programs, anything to help students get a decent education for their future – for the nations future.

    Guaranteed it wasn’t from his pocket either. So we, the suckers – sorry taxpayers are footing the bill for UDP politricks. Surely that’s illegal, or will they amend the constitution to allow it, and other scams like it, using public funds. Of course the amendment will only include UDP when they are in power!

    30 years of independence, and where are we? No better off, in fact worse off, as we don’t have the UK to help defend out borders anymore!

  16. General says:

    MY PEOPLE ITS TIME FOR A SPOTLESS CLEAN AND TRANSPARENT GOVERNMENT. LETS UNITE AND TAKE A STAND FOR WHAT IS BEST FOR THE COUNTRY……..LET THEM (pup/udp) RUMBLE ON…..

    WHATS BEST FOR BELIZE IS TO GET RID OF THEM BOTH……..PLEASE I LOVE MY BELIZE AND WANT THE BEST FOR MY COUNTRY….

    WE HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE……LETS DO THIS………IF I HAVE TO BE THE ONE TO START I WILL…….

    WE NEED HONEST PEOPLE TO LEAD THIS COUNTRY IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION IF WE LEAVE THESE ANIMALS IN POWER THEY WILL FOREVER CONTINUE TO RAPE HAVOC WITH OUR RESOURCES AND CAUSE MANY PROBLEMS AND WE WILL SUFFER..

    PLEASE I ASK ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO READ THIS BLOG SECTION OF CHANNEL 5 TO LETS UNITE AND GET RID OF THEM BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.

    THINK AND THINK STRONG OF PEOPLE IN THE IMMEDIATE COMMUNITY THAT CAN BE A VERY VERY RELIABLE CANDIDATE AND LETS FORM A NEW GOVERNMENT. DO BE AFRAID TO PUT NAMES ON THE BLOG – LETS EXERCISE THE LAST FREEDOM WE PARTIALLY HAVE AND THAT THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH “apparently its not free everywhere”

  17. CEO says:

    The legislator should be allowed to make a law but the highest court should never be boxed out at any step of the process. If the court is called upon to review it before it becomes law or after it was signed into law it should be allowed to do so. Any law that comes with protest time should be allowed for review before it becoming a law. Having the majority does not mean it is good.

    The only thing a review by the court will do is to add strength and credibility to the law so what is Mr. Barrow afraid of? All the other parts about Belizeans owning controling shares in the utility companies is good.

  18. Believe says:

    Belize people, take your country back from P.M. Barrow. He has destroyed it! He is killing your people!

  19. carlos says:

    What happened in ‘dangriga is just a reflection of the performance of the government side in the house of representatives. It is ashame . Why do we vote for this kind of representatives?

  20. Earl Grey says:

    THIS IS THE SAME ARROGANCE PATRICK FABER SHOWED ………….WHEN HE CAUSED THE UNTIMELY DEATH OF…. Mr. Charles Goode.

    POWER CORRUPTS ………absolutely!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Robert says:

    This same minister was at the CJC silver anniversary and was telling the young people to turn things upside down, and make their voice be heard. Asked them to be educated and polite but aggressive in what they want. No he shows exactly the opposite showing disrespect for a senior politician and the leader of the opposition, what is he modeling for the few people that look to him as an example. SHAME ON you, if you still have shame.

  22. general says:

    why not to let a child play with gun?……got it

  23. KarmaCatchesCharmeleon says:

    I do not agree with most of the views expressed on this forum regarding the 9th Amendment: it definitely DOES NOT take away our rights as a people and the latest modifications to Clause 69 suggested by the Council of Churches and others actually infringe on our rights.

    I also do not agree with the way the consultations were handled in Dangriga. I have a problem firstly with police being put front and center near the mic as some kind of looming censoring presence. Secondly, not everyone has a simple “I support/I do not support” position. In fact, requiring this is antithetic to what consultations are all about: that is, hearing the views of the people to improve and refine the proposal and to ensure that it achieves the purpose in the public’s interest. The mic-less protestations played out over TV as a people trying to be heard in the face of suppression and oppression, and the optics of the whole thing did not bode well for democracy in Belize.

    But what it shows most of all is that the Government and – yes – all those who want to enshrine judicial override of the people’s will in our Constitution are missing what this is all about. Consultations are NOT something that government does at its pleasure and metes out as some little sop to meet the due diligence requirements of the required procedure to amend the Constitution. They are what WE THE PEOPLE require from our representatives before they can get our permission to amend the Constitution we handed to them after choosing them to serve us in government. So then it is about them coming to us and saying “This is an amendment to the Constitution that we are proposing in your interest. What do you think of it? What would you like changed, added, removed so that it meets its purpose in a way that is agreeable to you?”. One can understand then that telling us that we can only state a position – and, for that matter, the entire conduct of the proceedings in Dangriga – was TOTALLY disrespectful to all Belizeans. Everyone must understand that WE THE PEOPLE are the bosses. It is OUR Constitution that we are discussing. Our representatives MUST listen to what we say and once we have spoken they must ACT in accordance with our expressed wishes. And once our wishes have been so expressed, NO ONE, NO Supreme Court and NO CCJ, can tell us what we can or cannot do with our own Constitution!!!!

  24. Steve says:

    When the consultations come to your town, it is the udp circus that came. The chairman pulls the strings of udpees marionettes to say “yes I fully support.” Patrick, the puppet master then reminds the spectators: …because I am the chairman (puppet master) of the committee (circus)….I control things (puppets)–That is what the consultation has turned to be. Barrow, patrick etc. are afraid of a referendum because in a referendum they can’t control the people like puppets. Saldiver often comments: “the people have given us a mandate in ’08. The udps should be aware that we are in 2011 and to be truthful of that mandate then a referendum will support, confirm what they are saying. In other words the udps will stop foooling themselves about the “mandate” fever that they claim to have. But they are afraid of the people. A referendum please. Don’t be cowards. BRING IT ON!!

  25. KarmaCatchesCharmeleon says:

    Firstly, judging from what was seen in Orange Walk especially, one can also similarly claim that the Opposition Leader pulls the strings of “pupee marionettes” to say “no to the 9″. Point is that for the most part, the responses from the consultations are being sounded along party lines because they are being organized – by the UDP and the PUP – along party lines.

    Secondly, the Constitution does not require or even remotely suggest that a referendum should be conducted as part of the consultation process for amending the said Constitution. Where was this call for a referendum when the PUP amended the constitution to make “crossing the floor” unconstitutional? Do you realize that that constitutional amendment is/was far more dangerous than the 9th Amendment can ever be? In fact, I maintain that there is no danger at all in the proposed changes to Sections 2 and 69. The Government is perfectly right in its claim that these are already implied by the Constitution.

    Thirdly, I agree with you that the UDP’s claim, that their victory at the polls in 2008 automatically gives them a mandate to make this particular constitutional amendment, is false and deceitful. The UDP won by such a large margin because the people had completely lost trust in the past PUP Government. I am very very sure that no ordinary voter voting on Election Day in 2008 was thinking “I am voting for the UDP so that they get a 3/4 majority to make constitutional amendments”. The fact that a people can unintentionally give powers to a group of representatives from one political party to make constitutional amendent speaks to either the existence of an anomaly (in the Constitution) in need of correction or naivete on the part of the framers.

    Which brings me back to the matter of having a referendum … I agree that we should have a referendum on ANY – or almost any – proposed change to the Constitution. But it should be in addition to and after the consultations, not in place of it. The constitutional amendment process should be one that engages and enlists the input of the very people in whose interest the amendment(s) is being made. Requiring a simple “yes/no” response – as would happen in a referendum – robs us of the opportunity to improve and enrich the proposal. In fact, I can see the political machineries shifting into even higher gear if a referendum on the issue is called for. It is for this very reason that I highly recommend that no party-line campaigning should be allowed during the constitutional amendment consultation process. No person should be allowed to enter into these consultations wearing party colors or bearing partly flags or any outward manifestations of partisan bias. Moreover, public monies should be used to explain the proposal, no to “campaign” for it. Placing TV ad reruns only of people speaking in favor of the amendment is not in keeping with the spirit of true consultations and listening to one’s bosses. We need to remove the politics out of the constitutional amendment process. In fact, we need to remove politics out of many things. It is becoming nauseating!!!

  26. junkman says:

    to the general in the above comment i hope you are ready for a real movement because i am ready and a lot of other people are ready for a showdown with this goverment i am so get something together please do you feel any of the oil money i only hear about it but where is it where is the oil money the poor is not feeling any paper in there pockets only hot lead from the criminal minded who the gob and pm seems to be calling heroes with there meetings of gangs

  27. ladymatura says:

    I have tried to remain quiet and see how pro-active and elightened our people will become – but it is sad to see that many are still not grasping that this 9th amendment is not only about utilities – the wool is being pulled over our eye because we all generally want to control our utilities – I have no problem with us taking over our utilities – but my concern is the nature of the amendment which seeks to undermine the supremacy of the
    Constitution – i propose that the Bill clearly state that at Sec. 2 it says any Constitutional amendment dealing with Utilities not be changed rather than the ALL-INCLUSIVE nature – which opens the door for any despotic or tyrannical leader now or in the future… how do we let our people see the “fine print” that they are failing to read. And please let the UDP ministers stop paying off peopel to come out – let people come because they care and truly want to or understand the issue.. lets stop this system of oppressing people by keeping them poor and ignorant!

  28. KarmaCatchesCharmeleon says:

    “ladymatura”: It is you who are not grasping what the 9th amendment is. Where is the “supremacy of the constitution” as you call it being undermined in the 9th amendment? And please actually point it out clearly.

  29. John says:

    Portions of the 9th amendment deal with Government wanting to own more than 50% of the companies at all times. We have no problem with that. However we are handling stolen good at this time, and we are not suppose to be thieves. Tell us what these companies are going to cost us and how long it will take to pay for them. Section seventeen of the constitution give the government that right.

    Those people who have been misled to believe we already own the companies need to be told the truth. We don’t own anything until we have paid for it.

    The other part that don’t deal with government holding the 50% is totally unacceptable. That portion of the law that say you can pass any law and it cannot be challenged, is a big no for us.

  30. Jane says:

    As a Beliezean my concern is that we should be conducting a consultation. This mean that the people get to say what is on their mind regarding the 9th Amendment.. We know what the government ministers are saying, so the people need to say how they feel, and that would be a good thing.

    To say you support or do not support is a pole. We are not conducting a pole. Something of this nature is much too serious a matter for us to just do a pole. As a Belizean, and not as party supporter, whether it be for the blue, red, yellow, green, or whatever we need a fair and open forum to voice our concern, not like what happened in Dangriga.

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