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Jan 23, 2017

Speaker Longsworth Steps Up to Head FOPREL

Laura Longsworth

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Laura Longsworth, has had just ten days into one of the most thankless jobs in Belize. She has, however, the goodwill of Belizeans who want an end to the occasionally unpleasant debates in the lower chamber. She will be seeking tips from her colleagues in the Forum of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments of Central America and the Caribbean Basin (FOPREL), whose Presidency she receives in Managua, Nicaragua in February. Senate President Lee Mark Chang discusses the opportunity and offers his evaluation of her performance in her first House meeting. He also discusses what it takes to keep order and discipline n parliament.


Lee Mark Chang

Lee Mark Chang, President of the Senate

“We’ve had discussions with the FOPREL group of which we are a part also; and Belize is scheduled to take over the presidency on February twenty-fourth, in Nicaragua at the FOPREL headquarters. And our new Speaker, Madam [Laura] Longsworth, will be taking over the presidency. I saw the House meeting where Madam Speaker Longsworth handled herself quite professionally; and I don’t why she cannot handle it in the future; so I don’t see any problems with her handling the situations in the House meetings.”



“As President of the Senate, which you have been since 2015, how important is it to keep order and discipline and ensure that things are not said or taken personally in those hallowed confines?”


Lee Mark Chang

“It is always important when you represent your country in the Senate and also in the House. In the Senate, where I am the president, I make sure that everybody is being treated fairly and equally; everybody has the opportunity to say what they need to say in a timely fashion. We are governed by Standing Orders, and whatever the Standing Orders say I can do or cannot do, I will abide by those rules.”


Former Senate President Andrea Gill was the first Belizean leader of FOPREL, in 2008.

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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