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Nov 7, 2013

Three bills brought forward in the senate but all eyes were on the senate investigation

The Senate met on Wednesday in Belmopan to consider three bills, some housecleaning write-offs, but the hot button issue was a motion brought by Opposition Senator Lisa Shoman for the appointment of a Special Select Committee. In a nutshell, it was proposed that the Select Committee would investigate and inquire into any and all facets of the ongoing immigration scandal – anything at all having to do with corruption in the issuance of Belizean nationality certificates, passports and visas. The motion brought the media to Belmopan and kept us there until almost six-thirty when the proceedings were concluded. Because of the timing, we were unable to do justice to the fiery session in Wednesday’s newscast – so tonight we’ll do that. Starting in chronological order, Mike Rudon has the highlights of the debate on the motion for the Special Select Committee.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

Generally when the Senate meets in Belmopan the gallery is empty, but on Wednesday there were some unexpected guests, including Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca and other opposition members of the House. The issue on the table was the motion for the appointment of Special Select Committee to investigation the immigration scandal.

 

 Mark Lizarraga, Senator, Business Sector

Mark Lizarraga

“Mr. President…why is this motion here before us today? Well, we know because it’s a serious nature of irregularity that is in question. We know that there has been strong public outcry for answers. We know that there is a strong perception of minimal transparency in the handling of matters thus far. We know that the public is outraged at the absence of public analysis and we know that this matter is a matter that has affected and will continue to impact our nation’s identity, our nation’s security and our social landscape forever.”

 

The Senate is comprised of twelve members – six appointed by the government, three by the Opposition and three by the social partners. Word had already circulated even before the session that government senators would reject the motion, while all others would support it. So the debate might have proved anticlimactic, but it was still heated.

 

Karen Bodden

 Karen Bodden, Opposition Senator

“I no longer trust that what is being called an administrative investigation will do what a real investigation is supposed to do – that is, reveal the truth and allow the law to take its course, and that is what Belizeans are asking for. We are fatigued by all this smoke and mirrors and we are asking for the respect that we deserve. We are asking for a thorough investigation. We are asking for the chips to lie where they fall. No area representative is above the law.”

 

Marconi Sosa, UDP Senator

Marconi Sosa

“If we’re going to imply that we don’t trust the institutions of government I don’t know if the reports out of a Senate Select Committee will gain that because at the end of the day the Senate, the composition of the Senate, to a great extent is politically charged, and it is without the shadow of a doubt that such motion…the agenda behind it is politically charged.”

 

Fr. Noel Leslie

Fr. Noel Leslie, Senator, Churches

“We are saying that there comes a time when we should be able to look into the future with a sense of knowing that yes, when acts are committed that go contrary to expectation that they’ll be looked into, they’ll be investigated and those who have offended will be held responsible. Mr. President…I support the motion moved by the Senator.”

 

There were even the requisite political thrusts aimed at leader of government business Godwin Hulse. And to top it off, the declaration that the UDP runs things in the Senate…end of story.

 

Collet Montejo, Opposition Senator

Collet Montejo

“Let me quote the Leader of Government Business…January of 2008 – “A party cannot be expected to police itself or audit its performance nor can the party be expected to publicly penalize its offices and high ranking members from wrongdoing. Your words sir…your words.”

 

Karen Bodden

“I can recall standing in this House some time ago heralding a warning that the HMS Belize was sinking. At that time I was given assurance that that was not the case. Now here we are…almost on the reef. So I warn you Mr. President…get your life jacket and keep it close to you because you definitely are going to need it soon.”

 

Collet Montejo

“I am saying today categorically…let the Senate do its work. Let it exercise its function. Good sir, leader of government business…I listened to many of your talk shows on Love FM and I always looked up to you. But I am saying to you today…if I were you I would recuse myself from voting in this motion.”

 

Marconi Sosa

“In this state of affairs it is important to outline that in our democracy the majority rules and like in the words of the Father of the Nation, may he rest in peace, the government was elected to govern and govern we will in the best interest of the majority, and the majority is not on that side.”

 

Mike Rudon for News Five.

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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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1 Response for “Three bills brought forward in the senate but all eyes were on the senate investigation”

  1. ceo says:

    I hope that one day political leaders in Belize will not only stand up and speak out when the other side does wrong but also when the wrong is committed by one of their own. Until then all this crap is merely grandstanding and a waste of time. The crowd that are preaching today were the very ones committing crimes against the people of Belize some time ago and the ones in power were the ones preaching then. This is crap it is bad, it is wrong and those that are involved at any level should be punished!

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