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Oct 21, 2011

Sea of Red wash over Independence Hill

While the government conducted the business of the day inside the House, outside, hundreds of supporters were mobilized to show solidarity for the passage of the Ninth Amendment, which Prime Minister Dean Barrow says is the ultimate policy statement of his administration. Opposition this time around was virtually non-existent as the few supporters brought in by the People’s United Party, COLA and other NGOs were completely overshadowed by the sea of red that washed the plaza in support of the Ninth.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano was at the foot of Independence Hill and files the following report.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The procession of elected officials led by Prime Minister Dean Barrow from his office at the Sir Edney Cain Building to Independence Hill shortly after ten o’clock this morning was the start of a day-long jamboree for the United Democratic Party.  Minutes prior to the start of today’s House meeting a critical decision was handed down by newly installed Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin rejecting a request for an interim injunction which sought to restrain Governor General Sir Colville Young from enacting the Ninth Amendment Bill.  The mood at Independence Plaza was celebratory as a throng of U.D.P. stalwarts descended upon the steps of the Assembly Building waving flags and placards.  The pageant of ministers, mayors, councilors and senators then made its way down to where hundreds of supporters had gathered.  On the walls of the government buildings which stand adjacent to the square below were two banners in favor of the passage of the much debated piece of legislature.  Before the masses standing in anticipation of what was to happen inside the House of Representatives, P.M. Barrow held an impromptu pep rally.

Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“Ladies and gentlemen we got ‘bout maybe fifteen, twenty minutes more and then we introduce the second reading of the Ninth Amendment.  All of us in your United Democratic Party are proud of you, grateful to you, we salute you and we thank you.  Long live the United Democratic Party and long live our beloved Belize.”

…and with that he, along with members of his administration, ascended up the flight of stairs and into the Assembly building where the business of the day was to be handled.  Outside, the festivities continued as Garifuna drummers entertained the massive gathering nearby.  A jumbotron was also erected in the plaza where onlookers were able to view the proceedings inside the House.  Today was a riot of red, blue and white.  Contrary to previous events such as these there was no true representation from the opposition.  In fact the little that was present was very anemic, not to mention that the overwhelming show of support completely eclipsed the efforts of COLA to mobilize an opposition.

Moses Sulph, President, COLA

Moses Sulph

“It’s kind of disappointing; I mean I understand the Ninth and all of that.  I need not to be aligned to a political party to tell me what the Ninth is about or cloak my vision of the Ninth, I clearly understand.  Most of the people out here they are paid to be out here.  I will tell you that I personally spoke to about ten different persons who were paid to be out here.  There are persons who work with different ministers of government that are told they need to be out here or they won’t be having a job when they get back to Belize City if they are not out here.  For me also though we only brought a small amount of people.  We brought a van with about fifteen people and I see there are other persons out here but you don’t want to get into any confrontations out here because what happened is that there’s a lot of U.D.P., supporters who are drunk, who have been drinking.  And I must say that there are also a lot of people out here in red shirts not necessarily supporting the U.D.P., but they get paid to be out here.”

Francisco Garrido

Whether or not the allegation is true remains to be proven, nonetheless there were many in favor of the passage of the bill.

Francisco Garrido, Supporter of the 9th Amendment

“By supporting this 9th Amendment we believe that we could own our utilities, you know, that foreigners have owned.  And if foreigners would own these types of utilities I believe our children, our great grandchildren they are going to be the suffering ones in the streets, you know.  So my advice to the public today, for all those present here this afternoon I really appreciate it and I thank them for the time they take [to be here].”

For social activist Patrick Menzies the disappointment seeing this many people in support of a bill they hardly know anything about was equally overwhelming.

Patrick Menzies, Rejects the 9th Amendment

Patrick Menzies

“It’s a very, very sad day in the history of Belize. I told folks a few days ago; I know Belizeans wouldn’t recognize it but for us in the United States, you know where you were on 9-11 because it impacted the nation—it changed the United States as you see it. To me, Belizeans need to know and remember where they were when this event occurred because it changes the face of the nation as we know it. The ninth amendment section two will change the authority in the control of the country forever unless remedied.”

The festivities continued well into the afternoon leading up to the conclusion of the House Meeting at which time the crowd of supporters standing vigil outside had gradually waned. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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3 Responses for “Sea of Red wash over Independence Hill”

  1. Key says:

    its a shame how Belizean sell out their selves. what about the future of their siblings???? the money that they are getting paid right now to support this barrow stupidity wont be enough for their future.

  2. Manuel Almendar says:

    Thank you mr. Key , thanks.

  3. oscar965 says:

    i have yet to accept money to go to a protest or to vote for one party or another. Most of those people sell themselves today but will cry out tomorrow when the injustices begin. I guess a little blue note goes a long way. Way too much power is being given to Government…UDP or PUP…down the road..this power will be abused..but i guess you can buy a Belizean for a blue note…sad…very sad day for us Belizeans…Congrats Barrow…this was strike one, maybe strike two or Three…the people will wake up..not today..they are in a trance right now…they have blue note fever…but they will wake up…you can count on that….

  4. John Edwards says:

    What about the OIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. BELIZE first. says:

    According to dean barrow the nationalization is for the Belizean people….he thinks we da fools or what -maybe some get paid to go and rally for them but when election comes he will get the sense,so sad our constitution has been tampered..and now with this 9th amendment it give supreme power to dean barrow and the UDP, and the money the supporters get paid are not going to feed them for a next 5 years term of this UDP things are really hard out hea we need jobs,better health care for all,BRING DOWN THE COST OF LIVING,lower fuel,more scholarships,less crime,etc,etc, we can’t take it any longer like always the poor are more and are more to suffer……This is not NATIONALISATION ITS FAMILIARIZATION because its only dean barrow and his family and cronies that are benefiting we no the get ANYTHING we still have to pay our electricity,water,fone bills we no the get it FREE…..and its very expensive.

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