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Dec 20, 2017

Leader Briceno gives backing; slams Ashley Rocke for swing vote

John Briceno

This evening, we caught up with People’s United Party leader John Briceño at a political event. We will have more from that on Thursday, but we asked him to clarify the reasons why the P.U.P. chose to introduce the motion to debate the amendment to the Maritime Areas Act through the Senate rather than the House of Representatives. Briceño explained that Courtenay has his full backing as shadow minister for foreign affairs, having held the job previously, and that it was felt that the motion would have a better chance with the potential support of the social partners. Unfortunately, churches Senator Ashley Rocke’s vote sent the motion to defeat, and Briceño wants to know why.


John Briceño, Leader, P.U.P.

“I need to make it abundantly clear that Senator Eamon Courtenay is the shadow foreign minister for the People’s United Party, so he is speaking from a point of authority. Secondly, this is an issue that we brought up from way back – when I was the Leader of the Opposition the first time around, I stood up and made the point that the Maritime Areas Act was put in place to encourage Guatemala to remain at the negotiating table so that we can find a definitive settlement to the unfounded claim that Guatemala has over Belize. Just a few months ago, earlier this year, even the former Prime Minister, Said Musa, brought it up again in the House. So why did we go to the Senate? Simply, we went to the Senate because we felt that we could have a majority in the Senate so that the bill can then be tabled. We know that if we were to try that in the House, it would not even get to the House because the Speaker – they would not allow it, the Government would not allow us to be able to table and have a discussion or a debate on whether the Maritime Areas Act supposed to be rescinded. Going to the Senate we felt that our three Senators with the other social partners – senators that represent the social partners, we really felt that we’d have managed to be able to get a majority so that it could be tabled and then properly discussed and debated. But unfortunately, once again, Senator Rocke, who represents the churches, betrayed the Belizean people, because he knows what he should have done. But every time he votes, he votes on the side of the Government, and now we need to be asking, why is Senator Rocke always voting with the Government? Is he there representing the government? Or is he there representing the churches and the Belizean people?  That is the problem.”

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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