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Jan 17, 2017

13th Senator Speaks on Disappointment of Freeze-Out

It’s been one week since the N.G.O. community voted overwhelmingly in favor of Osmany Salas to represent its membership as the thirteenth senator.   While an official appointment is pending, the inaugural meeting of the Senate for 2017 has been scheduled for this Thursday, one day ahead of the Commencement Order taking effect.  In light of this discrepancy, a request was made by the Belize Network of N.G.O.s to postpone the date for the Senate meeting in order for Salas to participate in the session, following his induction.  That request has been rejected, despite the Statutory Instrument signed by Prime Minister Dean Barrow which is to come into force on January twentieth.  The mismatch essentially prevents Salas from participating in the first meeting.  Earlier today, the network released a statement expressing its disappointment with government, after having followed all the steps advised by the Office of the Attorney General. Senator-elect Salas explains.


Osmany Salas

Osmany Salas, Senator-Elect

“The N.G.O. Steering Committee, on January eleventh, emailed a letter to the Governor General’s Office informing the GG that I was elected by the N.G.O. community to represent them in the Senate.  The letter was subsequently hand delivered on the thirteenth of January.  We were informed as well that, you know, that the government had announced that the first meeting of the Senate for the year would be on January nineteenth, a day before the commencement order that the prime minister signed it’s to take effect, right.  So I reached out to several senators, one from the government’s side, one from the P.U.P.’s side, two from the social partners’ side asking them to speak on my behalf to the President of the Senate asking that the date of the first senate meeting be postponed until after my swearing-in so that the N.G.O. community’s interest can be represented in the first meeting of the senate, you know, a historic event.  Our understanding is that as of January twentieth, when the commencement order takes effect I could be sworn in on the twentieth or right after.  We have seen the agenda I guess you call it, of the first senate meeting and we don’t see anything there that couldn’t wait a few more days until after I’m sworn in.  So I also reached out to the president of the senate with the same request and he promised me to look into it and to speak to the clerk of the National Assembly and that he would get back to me, which he did, informing me and other senators that had made the same request that they would continue, they would stick to the January nineteenth date for the senate meeting.  No reasons given.  No reason cited as to why the date couldn’t be changed.  So that means that the N.G.O. community won’t be represented on the first senate meeting and we’re also of the opinion that if the government truly feels and believes that the amendment to the N.G.O. Act needs to be passed before I’m sworn in, we don’t see the need for that as the N.G.O. community.  But if the government feels that then the question we have is why couldn’t they convene a meeting of the Senate to pass that?  That as the only agenda item and then have a regular sitting of the Senate on the Tuesday.”

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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2 Responses for “13th Senator Speaks on Disappointment of Freeze-Out”

  1. Truth says:

    Great start and hope that you are not swayed into the mediocre that exists within the government system and rulers.

  2. Mike Green says:

    Off to a rocky start to say the least. GOB as usual is not being transparent in their dealings with the NGO community. Why don’t they want #13 in on the discussions of this amendment? And even the budget, if they can postpone us long enough? I don’t want to hear about the bureaucratic technicalities of swearing Osmany in. Technicalities can be overcome, they do it all the time . . when it benefits the powers that be.

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