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Apr 9, 2019

PM Barrow Gives Latest Update on I.C.J. Referendum

Cabinet met late this afternoon at the prime minister’s office here in Belize City, a departure from its usual meeting place at the Sir Edney Cain Building in Belmopan.  High on the agenda was government’s strategy going forward in respect of the postponed referendum, ahead of a scheduled House meeting this Friday.  But what’s the tempo among members of the Barrow administration on the heels of successive losses in the high courts?  News Five caught up with Prime Minister Dean Barrow following the meeting and got a feel about the pulse of his senior officials after Monday’s defeat at the Court of Appeal, which caught them by surprise. Now that the dust is settling, prime minister says cabinet is optimistic that the passage of a new legislation this Friday will be guaranteed and that the I.C.J. referendum will proceed in the upcoming weeks.  He expects that the government side will all vote yes. The state of play after the Court of Appeal’s decision, says PM Barrow, is a mixed bag.


Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“People are extremely upbeat for two reasons; we know that there is absolutely no uncertainty about the fact that we will be having the referendum.  It is just a matter of time and there are extremely encouraged because we are going to the House as I promised yesterday on Friday and then the Senate on Monday to in fact pass legislation that in our view will be fail-safe.  Also, there is a sense among our people that to some extent the P.U.P. strategy has backfired because there are so many people who are saying, “Let us just vote and get it over with.”  And for us to be able to point to the fact that the delay tactics of the opposition have now reached a level that a lot of people feel is entirely unsatisfactory, if not bizarre, is something that we think ultimately will help us as we return to the campaign over the next few weeks before the new referendum date actually takes place.”


Isani Cayetano

“How does your government maintain its composure in an instance where within the space of a week or a week and a half there are all of these developments in court?”


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“It’s not easy, but it’s not particularly hard, in the sense that we know that the ultimate objective is not about particular political winds or particular political losses.  It is to have this referendum on this question of the greatest national importance so that the people of Belize can decide.  And of course when the Chief Justice issued the injunction we were shocked.  Nobody could have been more shocked than I was, but that happens.  You’re thrown off balance for a little bit and then good sense reasserts itself and you recognize that the delay is going to cause confusion, a degree of upset and it can’t be helped.  But the fact is that as government we have the tools to make sure that a new date is fixed as early and as urgently as possible and once you start looking at what is positive in terms of the ultimate endgame it gives you back a sense of equilibrium, of balance.”

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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