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Mar 6, 2020

“It is perfectly permissible” – PM Barrow on Supplementaries

Dean Barrow

The debate on the motion of no confidence tabled by the Opposition was the final agenda item during Thursday’s Special Sitting of the House of Representatives.  Debate lasted until ten o’clock in the night with members from both sides of the floor offering criticism or defending their party’s position on a number of socioeconomic issues affecting the country.  One such ground, for which the Opposition says it has lost confidence in the government, was the recent judgment by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin in respect of the PetroCaribe Challenge. The CJ ruled that the Minister of Finance illegally expended approximately one point five billion dollars from the public purse.  While that judgment has not been perfected, the P.U.P. has referenced that decision, at every turn, to bolster its position that the Barrow administration has failed miserably.  Well PM Barrow, in responding to the criticism, is asking for the written judgment and maintains that supplementary allocations are perfectly legal, since it is enshrined in the Constitution of Belize.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I am yet to see any written judgment from the Chief Justice and the member for Cayo South is showing either ignorance or willful deception when he will try to tell this nation that it is a commonly accepted practice for judgments to be delivered, oral judgments to be delivered without being followed by written reasons.  That may have happened on occasion but if it happened it was very wrong.  The lawyer right beside you will tell you that… because you complain about a certain judge in terms of his failing to do what the duties absolutely require him to do.  Do not try to pretend that it is correct for an oral judgment based on some kind of short written note, not to be followed by written reasons for decision.  And I repeat, Madame Speaker, we are yet to see any written reasons for decision with respect to this case.  In any event, whatever order the Chief Justice made, he froze for a period of six months saying that he was giving, as I understand it, a chance to the government and to the House to cure what he saw as the ills that had taken place.  The point I want to make is this, under the constitution of this country it is perfectly permissible and it is the same throughout the CARICOM region.  It is perfectly permissible, Madame Speaker, and I think the honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs read out the section of the Belize Constitution.”


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