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Jun 30, 2023

Shyne Disallowed from Talking About Redistricting in the House

The Redistricting Task Force has presented a report to the Elections and Boundaries Commission.  That document is complete with proposals for how Belize’s electoral landscape should look.  But serious concerns are already being raised by the Leader of the Opposition after copies of the document were leaked. Today, Moses “Shyne” Barrow rose to share his thoughts on the matter, but he was stopped on the perception that the matter is before the court. Barrow opted to leave the chambers for the day thereafter and explained to reporters why he wanted to bring the matter to the fore.


Moses “Shyne” Barrow

Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition

“Madam Speaker, I would like to speak about redistricting. That is my issue of national importance. Madam Speaker, I have a constitutional and moral responsibility to bring to the public’s attention to the blatant…”


House Speaker

“Yeah, I know. One second. I need to get clarity. Yes, redistricting, and I’m asking for the clarity because of the standing order. You should take a seat. Thank you. Is the redistricting matter before the courts?”


Clerk of National Assembly

“Yes, ma’am, I think the matter is before the courts.”


House Speaker

“I will have to ask that we cannot entertain that. Members, I’ve been advised by the clerk that it is still a matter before the courts and it should not be entertained. The clerk guides the office of the chair and I have been so guided.”


Shyne Barrow

“Madam Speaker, the redistricting is something that has to happen every 10 years. So I can speak on the importance of redistricting and concerns that we have in regards to redistricting?”


House Speaker

“Members, I have been so guided, and I will take that guidance.”


Shyne Barrow

“We talk about the same things over and over: the economy, healthcare, all of these issues recycle. So, again, there’s an attempt to suppress the voice of the Opposition. When I rose to talk about redistricting, which is a very serious matter.”



“But it’s sub-judicated.”


Shyne Barrow

“No. the court made a decision, the parties agreed. That is a settlement. That means that matter is settled, unless there is a violation of the consent order. So it is not a live matter before the court. And the standing order says reference shall not be made to any matter on which a judicial decision is pending. There is no decision pending. What is pending is compliance with the decision that has already been rendered.”


Marion Ali

“So, is this a walkout?”


Shyne Barrow

“Well, there’s no purpose in me being in there when my voice is being stifled. My colleague tried to speak and she’s being stifled. So, I prefer to speak to the fourth estate. We don’t have an objection with the mergers of contiguous constituencies, whether it’s Queens Square into Mesopotamia as it rightfully should be because Mesopotamia was there in 1961. Fort George was there in 1961 and Caribbean Shores came about in 1984, as a combination of Freetown and taking away from Freetown and taking away from Fort George to create Caribbean Shores. So what is fair? What is in keeping with the consent order that the courts decided on Is to have equal representation. And equal representation should not come at the risk of gerrymandering, transplanting voters from Caye Caulker into Fort George; voters from across the Belizean River in Alberts into Fort George to dilute the Fort George vote.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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