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May 24, 2017

In Future, Committee Must Balance Rights of Protestors and Questioners

While the outcome of last Wednesday’s meeting was unpredictable, security within the Assembly Building remains an important issue and if the chairman can maintain order during the proceedings. On one hand, senators participating in the inquiry have the absolute right to ask questions as they see fit.  On the other, the sessions are completely open to the public.  This includes U.D.P. Chairman Alberto August, who has gone on record to state that he will attend all subsequent hearings in protest of P.U.P. Senator Eamon Courtenay. Last week the police appeared unable to act so that the sitting was suspended.  According to Salazar, maintaining order at all costs falls within his purview as Chair of the Senate Special Select Committee.


On the Phone: Alberto August, Chairman, U.D.P.

“Tomorrow, we are going to be there again. Tomorrow, we are going to be there again, expressing our… I am leading a group that is called the Belizeans Against Courtenay group.”


Aldo Salazar

Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Special Select Committee

“What could have been done differently, hindsight is always twenty-twenty.  I will admit that it was not an ideal situation; it really got out of control.  It was not palatable, a very, very regrettable situation, but being that as it may, we react to situations as they present themselves to us.  I believe it was a fluid situation, I did ask for a person to be removed.  Contrary to what is being said, I did ask for a person to be removed.  Ideally I think we would have wanted more of a police presence, but that wasn’t the case that day and we had to do with what we had.  But moving forward, definitely much better will be expected.  It is my responsibility to maintain order and I do take seriously and we will maintain order.  It’s a situation that we need to balance.  We must understand that I am probably the face of the committee as its chairman but it’s a situation that we all must tackle as a committee, all of us, and we need to balance Senator Courtenay’s absolute right to ask the questions that he wants to ask without any interference from anybody for that matter.  As well, we need to balance a democratic right to protest.  If you feel, if any individual feels strongly and they want to protest my chairmanship, they are free to do so whether it’s outside or in any way that is civil.  So we definitely can’t say that people cannot protest, we can’t derogate from that.  What people don’t have is the right to disturb the proceedings of the senate. I feel that it is the duty of the police to intervene where they see that somebody is being put at risk.  It would be their duty to intervene because I may not see it at that particular time, I may be focused on.  So they don’t need my permission to intervene in any situation where they feel it is their duty as a policeman.  Proper policing would require the intervention.  On the other hand, I would say that taking out a particular individual does fall within my purview, including clearing the entire gallery which I have no issues doing if we’re disrupted again.”

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 “In Future, Committee Must Balance Rights of Protestors and Questioners”

  1. Belizean pride says:

    really is this the chair man of the udp acting so childish like a stubborn kid in class. I wonder why people act worst than kids. So he’s planning to be there to disrupt again mein hope his supporters are mature adults to act better than him.

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