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Sep 30, 2015

Case for 13th Senator Postponed Until After General Elections

In the other case, the Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca, was taking on Prime Minister Dean Barrow over the thirteenth member of the Senate. Today, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin postponed that case until November thirtieth, well after the elections. The U.D.P. had presented amendments to the Constitution to name a thirteenth Senator to represent non-governmental organizations as part of its 2008 manifesto. But in 2010, the Prime Minister had a sudden turnaround and declined to implement Sections Seven and Nine of the Constitutional amendment, citing fears of gridlock to affect Government programs. In May, Fonseca and attorney Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay formally announced litigation to force P.M. Barrow’s hand in the matter. Fonseca has said that a thirteenth Senator may have impacted attempts to find answers to allegations of Government corruption which the Senate is normally empowered to investigate. But these attempts to initiate such investigations were thwarted by the Government. On the other hand, P.M. Barrow has said that he has tried to negotiate with the social partners to create the conditions that would help the legislation become reality, but their response has been slow.  In any case, the matter will not proceed until after the elections.

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