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May 7, 2019

Opposition Leader Takes Final Jab at Barrow Administration Ahead of ICJ Referendum

The message from the Leader of the Opposition, John Briceño, had a different ring. Briceño took aim at the ruling party for failing to properly educate the masses of voters via a public awareness campaign headed by the Referendum Unit.  He also points to government’s lackluster record in litigation at home and abroad as a reason why voters should be concerned about going to the I.C.J. at this time.  Here is what the P.U.P. leader shared in his message.


John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“On Wednesday, Belizeans will go to the polls to make one of the most important decisions of our lifetime.  As we have said, the PUP believes that this is such an important issue that every Belizean should have been provided with all the facts so that they can make an informed decision.  The government had a responsibility to ensure that Belizeans were given all the information in such a manner that it was unbiased, clear and understandable.  They failed to do that.  We asked for a balanced education campaign, they failed to do that.  They also failed to follow the proper legal procedures to ensure the smooth execution of the referendum and they failed to bring Belizeans together on this important national issue.  The UDP failed because of their disrespect for the opposition and their disregard for the rule of law.  Instead of working with others, they decided to act in their usual fashion, like a bully, forging ahead no matter what.  The government squandered the goodwill of everyone, including the social partners and civil society and yes, we in the PUP.  The failure of this process is solely the responsibility of the prime minister and the foreign minister.  Dean Barrow, for not being able to work across party lines to build a national consensus on this issue, and Sedi Elrington for allowing Guatemala to strong arm the process.  Even in light of their promise to the international community, Guatemala refuses to sign a protocol on the Sarstoon, something we believe must be done as a sign of good faith before we agree to go to the ICJ.  Consider this, we still have thousands of Belizeans being kept off the voters register.  Is it right that legitimate Belizeans who want to vote are disallowed due to no fault of their own?  What of all those Belizeans in the Diaspora who so love our country, who contribute millions to our economy feel it their patriotic duty to participate in this referendum?  They too were not given consideration by the UDP.  Everyone of their elected representatives voted no to even debate whether Belizeans abroad should participate in Wednesday’s referendum.  Even now there are still many loose ends with respect to the management of the referendum by the Elections and Boundaries Department.  Even now, Belizeans have no idea who the lawyers are that would represent us should we go to the ICJ or how much millions it will cost us.  Even now, the legal issues in respect of the validity of this referendum are still in question and as such, are still before the courts.  We cannot forget the track record of this UDP administration that has lost case after case in every international court and even in the Supreme Court of Belize.  I have said it over and over, we have to get it right.”

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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