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Oct 25, 2011

Attorney says there should have been a referendum

Godfrey Smith

Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith, who along with Queen’s Counsel Lord Peter Goldsmith represented Vaughan Gill and Ricardo Castillo, told the media that legal challenge of the passage of the Ninth Amendment has been exhausted.  However, if Gill and Castillo wish to proceed with litigation at the Supreme Court level then GOB will have to answer for not honoring a referendum based on signatures acquired from the requisite ten percent of the electorate.  Smith also said that today’s outcome was expected.

Godfrey Smith, Attorney for Vaughn Gill & Ricardo Castillo

“It was sort of expected indeed.”

Jules Vasquez, 7News

“How do you feel?  How will you all move on from here?”

Godfrey Smith

“This is how I feel.  The Referendum Act was amended in 2008 by the Prime Minister and his U.D.P. government and when you read the reason why it’s amended it says to enable the people to be able to call for a referendum on any issue.  So you will remember that the past P.U.P. government had passed the Referendum Act.  He said we will do even better.  We’ll expand it so people could call for a referendum on any issue.  So the people have called for a referendum on the issue of the 9th Amendment and what has the Prime Minister and his government allow that amendment to enable that.  What have they done?  [They] have chosen to ignore the call for a referendum.  And let me just make this point, I haven’t heard it myself but I gather in the media [that] there is this assertion that the organizers of the petition were paying two dollars for a signature.  That is absolutely incorrect, not factual.  The collectors, the people who went around to get the signatures were given, you can’t even call it pay, two dollars for each signature because they were given no other money, no lunch, no refreshment, no soft drink, no nothing.  So that was a small thing to give them.  We modeled it entirely on Oceana’s model where they gave a dollar.  We didn’t have as much time, the claimants and others and so they said “you know what we’ll have to try to pay two [dollars.]  So I just want to make that point.  It’s no business where people were being paid.  In fact, you all are experienced journalists; you can’t ask any man out on the street fu gi dehn no two dollars fu no signature.  So the point then is that we may not have succeeded in getting the injunction in the terms we wanted but political judgment awaits the government on its decision to ignore the wish of twenty-one thousand people for a referendum.”

Marion Ali, Love News

“But legally are you taking it any further?  Can you take it any further than here?  I believe it’s been passed already or it just awaits the signing or the signature of the Governor General?”

Godfrey Smith

“In relation to this application for an injunction I believe we are at the end of the road.  I have no doubt that the outcome has already been communicated and the bill is on its way to the G.G. as would be expected.  So even if we applied somewhere there just wouldn’t be any time.  What is left however is to get the decision of the Supreme Court that there is an obligation, it’s mandatory that once you fulfill these requirements you have to hold the referendum and why it’s interesting to still pursue that assuming the claimants want to, is that you might have heard back and forth in there about whether the petition should have a yes or no question in it which Oceana who’s waiting to launch theirs didn’t have.  So matters like that have to be ventilated and debated at the Supreme Court level.”

The Ninth Amendment which was introduced in the House of Representatives on July twenty-second came in the wake of government’s acquisition and re-nationalization of B.E.L. and Telemedia, respectively. It was met with strong opposition by a number of organizations including the Bar Association, the Belize Council of Churches and the Chamber of Commerce and most recently, the Belize National Teachers Union. Public consultations were highly politicized and a petition for a referendum was organized by Friends of Belize, who garnered over twenty-one thousand signatures from citizens who wanted a referendum before the ninth became law. But tonight the ninth is law and utilities have been entrenched in the constitution.

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5 Responses for “Attorney says there should have been a referendum”

  1. Be Real says:

    Dude something is wrong with you if two courts have told you that it aint so and you still say it shouldve been so. More so that any further appeal would have been promptly dismissed. Get over it Godffrey. Time to move on to real issues.

  2. Belizean says:

    Belizeans, please do not get carried away or fearful of the Ninth being signed into law, Dean cannot be a dicatator and never will be. He is yet to reach any milestone in his political career. PUP lost the election, UDP did not win! UDP took over well ran companies that have made significant investments and upgrades, that the gov did not do. All Barrow did was change the law and take it away. He negotiated with gangsters and had them shake hands but did not change their lives to ensure logevity of his initiative for peace. He negotiated with CFE for 10% discount on electricity, not invest in alternative. What happens when the cost of power goes 20% higher than we are paying? He dropped the 8th ammendment when he got a threatening text. People didnt stand in a line and sign a petition for referendum for the 8th, they did for the ninth, but one text got him to drop the 8th..gangster go on TV and call his name and he hurriedly turns back from his flight and met with them. When the cane farmers blocked the highways and called him, he refused to meet with them for fearfulness and instead sent Gapi.

    When Zenaida said Barrow no got no B@!!s she was right.
    my people please do not fear dictatorship, he doesn’t have the will to do it. much less have any b@!!s to try it!
    Vote for what is right, vote back PUP, under new leadership!

  3. Unhappy says:

    @ Belizean… I could not have said it better my self. Well said!!! I totally agree with you.

  4. Lira says:

    This blowhard bring shame to lawyers, and you all know that lawyers are not well thought of in some circles!

  5. jose says:

    Belizean.. you have said it Right!!!!!!!!

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