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Apr 3, 2019

PM Still Optimistic About Referendum Turnout Despite Massive Legal Blow

Dean Barrow

Government’s high-speed train to the I.C.J. referendum has collided into an unforeseen blockade and there is no telling what impact, if any, that sudden crash will have on the momentum of the national vote.  It’s a question that we posed to PM Barrow earlier, and despite not being able to answer directly, he is of the opinion that the obstacle may very well serve to stimulate voters to come out and vote should a new date be set.  He also reaffirmed government’s confidence in Senior Counsel Lisa Shoman still leading the landmark case.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“That’s hard for me to say.  If it does, I would hope that it would strengthen the determination of every Belizean to participate in this referendum when it is held.  And I repeat, I am positive that it will be held.  If we don’t get through by Wednesday, it is certainly my expectation, not just my hope, that this will ultimately galvanize Belizeans and we would therefore be in a position where when the referendum is held, whether Wednesday or thereafter, we will see a larger turnout than might perhaps otherwise have occurred. Of course I am disappointed.  I am flabbergasted, I don’t understand how it could have happened, but I am not going to be critical of the judge, not at all.  I will leave it at that.  I would never in a million years have imagined that given what you just described, far more eloquently than I could have, given those circumstances, how on earth a court would stop something like this at the eleventh hour.  In my view, the fact alone that these people were so out of time, you don’t wait until the last minute. Speed is of the essence, clearly.  As I said in terms of what we are going to do.  If there is anybody else who can come in and get up to speed on the double, we would clearly look at that because this of such an earth-shattering importance that the more hands on deck the better.  But if we do retain an additional counsel, it would be just that, additional counsel.  I have absolutely no difficulty with the way Ms. Shoman prepared the case.  I wasn’t in there for the arguments, but again, my understanding as to that reiterates, reinforces that confidence.  So no, this is how the Chief Justice went and nobody can explain that.  There is absolutely no basis whatsoever to try to lay any blame at the feet of our counsel.”


In a nutshell the court has granted an interim injunction to the P.U.P., but the Prime Minister has outlined a timeline, hoping that the referendum will proceed as planned on April tenth. This is a story that will continue to develop.

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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