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Apr 27, 2020

Sixty-day State of Emergency Goes Before the House

Dean Barrow

There was a special sitting of the House of Representatives this morning in Belmopan where only the bare minimum necessary to have a quorum was allowed to participate in the tabling of a motion to extend the state of emergency for an additional sixty days.  A total of seven elected officials, including Prime Minister Dean Barrow and three other government ministers, as well as Opposition Leader John Briceño and two members of the opposition attended the house meeting.  While the galleries were devoid of party supporters, the media was also barred from attending the session, and we will have more on that later.   Inside, all gloves were off.  Briceño proposed a thirty-day extension to the State of Emergency. Deputy Party Leader and Lake Independence Area Representative Cordel Hyde and Cayo South Area Representative Julius Espat both sounded off on why the People’s United Party objected to the two-month extension prior to a vote being taken.  Here is the Prime Minister’s immediate reaction upon exiting the meeting.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I didn’t a straight ride because, as I indicated, after the National Oversight Committee had made its decision, I was called by the Leader of the Opposition a couple of days, I think, a day or two certainly after the meeting and he did make clear that his party had in fact not supported the sixty-day extension and then they put out a press release.  So I knew that it wouldn’t be completely smooth sailing but I didn’t expect the lengths to which two members resorted.  I didn’t expect that to happen so I was a little bit dismayed.”



“We have now gone fourteen days clear without a positive test, what indication does this have for you in terms of as you all try to tweak the regulations which go into place on Friday?”


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“It means that indeed we should be considering a degree of relaxation and I’ve said in the scripted remarks that I gave and of course today, that’s exactly what I contemplate happening.  Remember though, I insist, these decisions are not made by me alone, not even by the Cabinet.  The Cabinet has, in effect, almost ceded jurisdiction as a de facto thing to the National Oversight Committee.  So we will have a meeting of the National Oversight Committee on Wednesday by which time the recommendations that come to the National Oversight Committee from the National Taskforce, the National Taskforce, of course, includes all the CEOs, all sorts of persons from the private sector, especially medical personnel and Dr. Marvin Manzanero and his team.  They will give us their recommendations so that we can consider them, the National Oversight Committee can consider them on Wednesday.  But I fully expect that they understand from us that they are to examine actually what it is that we can do to relax.  So that’s their brief and in consequence, I expect that it’s just a matter of detail now as to exactly what measures that currently obtain will be lifted.”

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