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Apr 11, 2019

Does Barrow’s ‘Super Referendum Bill’ Triumphs Judiciary?

As Briceño notes there is still a case before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin which is scheduled to proceed on Monday when the Senate is scheduled to meet to ratify the proposed new bill. Briceño alluded that certain sections in the new referendum bill can be legally challenged.  He zoomed in on section three which states that the “referendum shall be held to enable electors to vote on whether the Government of Belize should, in accordance with the Special Agreement and the Protocol to the Special Agreement, request the International Court of Justice to determine any and all legal claims of Guatemala against Belize to land and insular territories and to any maritime areas pertaining to these territories, to declare the rights therein of both Parties, and to determine the boundaries between their respective territories and areas.” There is also section twelve which states that ‘if there is inconsistency between the provisions of this Act and the provisions of any other law, the provisions of this Act shall prevail. It means that any other legislation will be moot.

 

John Briceño

John Briceño, Leader, People’s United Party

“When we were just quickly perusing through the bill there would be sections like section three that could very end up in court, that I could be challenged. As an Opposition, we just finished out parliamentary caucus and our parliamentarians including house members and senators find it difficult to be able to support a bill that is being thrust upon today, go tomorrow in one sitting and go through all the three stages. I believe that we need more time. We could be implicitly agreeing to amend the constitution through this section three. We still are not sure and our legal team would have to advice us whether that is so. And if that is so then that would mean that under the constitution you need to give at least ninety days cool off period to be able to make any changes when it goes to the constitution. Whether this goes to go court or not that is left to be seen. What is important is that government should hit the pause button. Let’s sit down and look at his quietly, let’s discuss rationally and let’s see how we can make this piece of legislation that is being proposed tomorrow to make it better. Let’s get it right.”


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