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Jul 5, 2021

“Nothing Poor About Leader of the Opposition…” – PM Briceño

Shyne Barrow

Before it was even tabled in the House of Representatives on Friday, the Eleventh Amendment Bill was controversial. It seeks to provide additional grounds for the disqualification of an individual as a member of the National Assembly.  The proposed piece of legislation has been described as “ambiguous” by former Prime Minister Dean Barrow in other quarters of the media.  Himself a seasoned lawyer, Barrow says that the amendment is “an act of war against marginalized people.”  His son, Opposition Leader Shyne Barrow, who served time in the United States following a shooting incident inside a nightclub, has also come out strongly against the revised legislation.  The Mesopotamia area representative criticizes the Eleventh Amendment as a means of barring him from running for public office in a subsequent general election.  He also argues that the new law will disqualify any other offender who has served even a one-year sentence but has since reformed.  This morning, Prime Minister John Briceño responded to the criticism over the bill.


John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“There’s nothing poor about the Leader of the Opposition and yes, he worked hard and he had talent and, you know, he did well, but he is not poor.  And when he’s talking about this is about attacking marginalized people or cutting them off from being a part of the political process, if he were to look closely he would realize that that is already in the law, it’s already in the Constitution.  What the framers of this amendment are attempting to do, they are saying, “Well it’s not fair if you were to commit a crime in Belize and then you cannot serve in the National Assembly, but you could commit a crime outside of Belize and then come back and run for the National Assembly.”  It’s not fair.  We need to have fairness in the system, but probably even most importantly we are looking at this from the lens that a person, in this instance, the Leader of the Opposition.  This is a part of the good governance agenda, in the good governance agenda basically we are saying here that if you are found to have committed a corrupt act in government and found guilty, then it means that you cannot run again to serve the people of this country and to me that is what’s most important that we’re strengthening the issue of accountability, transparency and strengthening our actions that we can take against corruption in public life.”

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