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Apr 17, 2019

Clear Inaccuracies Identified in New Referendum Bill

The Belize Territorial Dispute Referendum Bill 2019 has been signed into law, following the Governor General’s assent on Tuesday.  But as our coverage of the special senate meeting that preceded its ratification winds down, we are left to wonder whether the glaring mistakes pointed out by Senator Eamon Courtenay were simply the result of haste or poor draftsmanship.  During his presentation, the opposition senator, himself a senior counsel, identified several inaccuracies in the piece of legislation that was brought before the upper house by government on Monday.  Courtenay was sure to call attention to the fact that the Senate cannot ratify a treaty and therefore the bill was flawed in its account of those details. Still yet, the bill was passed and then went into committee to correct the deficiencies.


Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay, Lead P.U.P. Senator

“The first point is this, how can you come to the Senate, present a bill that just has in it something that is false.  It is false, it is wrong.  Protocol to the Special Agreement means the protocol to the Special Agreement between Belize and Guatemala signed on May 25th, 2015 and ratified by the Senate on November 30th, 2016.  Mr. President, you know, I know, all of us in here know that that is not true.  The bill continues, Special Agreement means Special Agreement between Belize and Guatemala to submit Guatemala’s territorial, insular and maritime claim to the International Court of Justice signed by Belize on December 8th, 2008 and ratified by the Senate on November 30th, 2016.  That is not true.  This Senate cannot ratify a treaty.  This Senate did not ratify a treaty.  In truth and in fact, it was in 2018 that instruments of ratification were exchanged between Belize and Guatemala.  This thing is saying that the Senate ratified it.  Ratification of a treaty is an executive act by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, not the Senate.”

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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