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Sep 2, 2021

Belize Network of N.G.O.’s Concerned about 10th Amendment Reading Friday

Osmany Salas

The House of Representatives meets on Friday and a full agenda has been put together for bills to be tabled and read through in parliament.  Among the proposed pieces of legislation that will be up for a second and possibly third reading is the Belize Constitution (Tenth Amendment) Bill which has raised serious concerns within the business and N.G.O. communities.  Earlier today, the Belize Network of N.G.O.s issued a statement regarding what they consider to be a push by the Briceño Administration to pass the controversial bill.  As it stands, the Belize Constitution (Tenth Amendment) Bill seeks to preserve the requirement that the office of a member of the Belize Advisory Council, the Elections and Boundaries Commission, the Public Services Commission and the Security Services Commission shall become vacant, “at the next dissolution of the National Assembly after his appointment.”   News Five spoke with N.G.O. Senator Osmany Salas earlier today who explained B.N.N.’s position.

 

Osmany Salas, N.G.O. Senator

“The four social partner senators have, on two occasions now, written to the prime minister expressing our concerns about what we consider the piecemeal approach to amending our constitution.  I know that a number of other individuals and stakeholders have also written to the House Committee that is charged with, you know, vetting all the feedback on the bill and there have been some very valid concerns raised as to why it is not a good thing to amend the constitution in this fashion.  So the Belize Network of N.G.O.s decided that they would issue their press release saying, our position statement, expressing our grave concerns.  So even though several sectors have raised very valid concerns, we notice that it is on the agenda for tomorrow at the house meeting where seemingly the government intends to carry through with the second and third reading.  It would then, once that happens, because the government has the supermajority, they do not need a single opposition vote for the Tenth Amendment Bill to pass and that would mean that it would make it to the senate next week Wednesday.  That is why we felt the need to issue out a press release.  The four social partner senators wrote to the prime minister on the whole matter of the constitutional amendment at the end of June and the middle of August and we are yet to receive a response.”


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