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Apr 8, 2019

A Renewed Call for a Bipartisan Approach to I.C.J. Referendum

John Briceño

Opposition Leader John Briceño has taken the opportunity, following the decision of the Court of Appeal this evening, to call on Prime Minister Barrow to return to the bipartisan approach in dealing with the I.C.J. referendum.  While he did not gloat in the consecutive legal victory against government, Briceño pointed out that the Barrow administration has lost what it thought were two ironclad cases before the local courts.  He urges the prime minister to hit the pause button and go back to the drawing board where the education campaign is concerned.

 

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“Well I think what is more important at this time is to point out to the Belizean people that for the second time in less than a week, the government has lost an ironclad case because they have been saying that they are sure that they were going to Supreme Court and again they said they were sure they were going to succeed.  I think what is of utmost importance is that maybe the governments should hit the pause button.  I don‘t think there is no magic as to having the referendum on the tenth of April, next Wednesday, or even next month.  I believe that it is time for the prime minister to seriously sit down with the opposition for us to stop playing around with such an important issue.  This is not a political issue; this is an issue of national importance where we should be addressing it together as a people, not P.U.P. versus U.D.P., but as Belizeans.  So today my appeal to the prime minister is let‘s hit the pause button, let‘s sit down and talk with respect to one another and see how we can move this process forward.  Well I think we should start off with the people‘s declaration because the people‘s declaration that we issued was after consulting all thirty-one constituencies and we put a number of issues of concern, not only that you‘re bypassing the National Assembly and the legislature, but also making the point that the education campaign has to be well-balanced and well-resourced and that has not happened.  There are a number of pieces of legislation that need to be amended, like the Maritime Areas Act, the Referendum Act, the People‘s Representation Act.  All of these need to be corrected and I don‘t see how that can be corrected between now and Friday or next week to be able to have a referendum say within thirty days.  So there‘s a lot of work ahead of us, that is why for us it is important to hit the pause button.  Let‘s sit back, let tempers go down, let emotions go down and let‘s see how we can rationally work together as Belizeans.  What is again important for me and I can‘t overemphasize my appreciation for the representatives from the P.U.P. and standard bearer Anthony Mahler who decided to take up this fight for us and also where it started off with Anthony Sylvester Junior and Dickie Bradley Senior and Junior and Kareem and all the rest and of course with lead counsel here, Eamon Courtenay. We appreciate all the work that they have been doing and I think we as a nation need to show our appreciation to the work that they have done. Thanks to them we are here having an opportunity for us to stop and let’s rework this all over to ensure that we could get everybody to come together to work as Belizeans to be able to have a consensus for the benefit of all Belizeans.”


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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