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Oct 20, 2011

APAMO says no to the 9th Amendment

The government is organizing a massive show of support at Friday’s House sitting when it will pass the Ninth Amendment. We’ve just told you the major changes that after the consultations the government is making. Since its introduction before the House of Representatives on July twenty-second, various organizations, including the Belize Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Bar Association, have openly shared their positions on the contentious Ninth Amendment Bill. The Association of Protected Areas Management Organization, APAMO, has issued a letter to PM Barrow rejecting the part of the amendment.  In the letter APAMO states that it shares no views on the section which seeks to ensure that government owns fifty-one percent of the utilities; however, it does express concerns over parts of Section sixty-nine which, when passed, will expose our constitutional democracy.  Chairman Edilberto Romero told News Five today that while APAMO’s position comes at the eleventh hour they waited until the conclusion of the consultation process before making formal their opinion on the issue.

Edilberto Romero, APAMO Chairman

“APAMO has looked at the Ninth Amendment Bill and first of all we have nothing to do with the nationalization of utilities, we’re not against that.  But, when we look at the entire bill and what is in there we note that there are sections that are not good for the country, are not good for people.  We are specifically referring to Section 2 and Subsection 9 that it would allow the government or the National Assembly to change the constitution at any time and that is a very risky thing because it means that at any time they would be able to change the constitution in a way that it could affect the rights of the people of Belize, the rights of organizations, the rights of individuals and for that reason APAMO is against it.”

Isani Cayetano

Edilberto Romero

“Is this a matter of timeliness with regards the length of time it has taken before APAMO actually came out with its position?”

Edilberto Romero

“No.  Actually APAMO has just, well APAMO has allowed the [consultation] process to go through for the government to do their consultation and APAMO has also looked at legal opinions.  We’re not attorneys, we’re just concerned about Belize, about the rights of Belizeans and about the environment of Belize and our protected areas and so we have allowed people to look into it.  We have allowed consultations to go through.  Unfortunately the consultations as we looked at it appears to be more from political lines.  I don’t think it could be said that it has been true consultations.  Many of the people of Belize have not been allowed to voice their opinions.  It’s either ye or nay and there’s no real reasoning behind it and especially the rural people, the most remote people.  I don’t think that they have been allowed sufficient time to inform themselves and to voice their opinions in a reasonable manner, informed and reasonable manner.  And so that’s the reason why we are sending in our opinion at this time.”

APAMO implores government to cease the passage of the Ninth Amendment Bill and, preferably, put the matter in the hands of the Belizean public via referendum.

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1 Response for “APAMO says no to the 9th Amendment”

  1. Chitown says:

    I agree but at least the courts can review changes if called upon to do so. Lets get some language in there for a the approval of the people.

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