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Jul 5, 2021

How Long Should the Governor General be in Office?

John Briceño

Should the Governor General be held to a term of five years, similarly to what is being proposed in the Tenth Amendment for the constitutional appointments? That’s what Opposition member Tracy Panton says should happen. But in Section Two A of the amendment bill for the G.G.’s condition of service act, this administration wants the term to be seven years. Here’s Panton’s take and the PM’s response at Friday’s House Meeting.


Tracy Panton, Area Rep., Albert

“I am perplexed, if you will, that in the case of the Governor General who is a Constitutional Office holder we can define a term of seven years and I can only assume that we wish to have some continuity at the end of a parliamentary term to another. But in the case of other constitutional appointed offices or bodies, in which the tenth amendment bill and we will get a time to debate that, but I just want to draw the comparison on where it relates to the election and boundaries commission; the public service commission; and the Belize Advisory Council that same kind of institutional memory is not seemingly required and we want to amend the constitution to only allow for a period of the term of the government. And it seems to me rather hypocritical that we would seek to have different terms and conditions for very serious constitutional appointed bodies and offices held by the government’s administration. If we want to look at a five year term, I think it should be applied across the board and if we want to look at a seven year term it should also be across the board.”


Prime Minister John Briceño

“I really believe that the Governor General is on another level of any other appointment in the country. The Governor General is the representative of the Head of State, she is the ceremonial head of this country and we felt that it is best for this appointment to go into the next term and the new government will have enough time to decide who could be another suitable governor general. The position of the GG is one that is above politics; Dame Minita Gordon and Sir Colville Young served with distinction. Sir Colville Young was an NIP supporter and the U.D.P. supporter. He wrote songs for the U.D.P.  But once he was appointed as the GG he left his politics outside and he served with distinction. So, I am asking the member from Albert to give that opportunity to the next Governor General so that in this case she can serve in distinction right now and then go on into the next term and give the new government a chance to take their time to find a suitable governor general.”

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