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Jul 28, 2011

Minister Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington defends 9th Amendment of Constitution

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

The ninth amendment bill, on its surface, aims to enshrine the government’s majority control of shares in utilities.  But several attorneys, including those from the Human Rights Commission of Belize, the Bar Association of Belize and Senator Godwin Hulse, have all spoken about grave concerns on the Belize Constitution (Ninth Amendment) Bill, 2011. On Wednesday, the bar emphatically stated that it called on the government to withdraw the proposed amendment in its entirety.  The bar takes issue with the definition and treatment of the term other law.  According to Bar President Jacqueline Marshalleck, any amendment to the constitution in a constitutional democracy should be subject to judicial review. And any attempt to reject the jurisdiction of the courts undermines the Rule of law and violates the doctrine of the separation of powers, all essential elements of the constitution. And in the face of such criticism from an array of legal minds, Foreign Minister Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington explained the government’s position on the ninth constitution which aims to amend sections two and sixty nine of the constitution.

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington, Foreign Minister

“The national assembly can make any law, so long as it complies with the provisions of the constitution; any law, so long as it complies with the terms and provisions of the constitution. It can amend any law as well so that…”

Jose Sanchez

“But to borrow from Senator Godwin Hulse, the way he put it earlier in the week is that yes there are certain ways you can amend the constitution using the majority and he says he is happy with that—that you can do that. But it doesn’t make it right because we’re using an amendment in the constitution, you can do away with freedom of expression for example; but while that may not be right, you would still be able to challenge that in Court. But if you make it as a constitutional amendment, in what the ninth is putting to do, you won’t be able to challenge it at all.”

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

“No, and that is where he is fundamentally wrong. Any piece of legislation can be challenged it in court. The question is can you challenge it successfully? The only body in the country that has the authority to make laws is the National Assembly; the elected politician. Laws are made by elected politicians. They are made in the interest of the people. They are made by the politicians because the politicians believe that this is what the people want and this is clearly provided in section sixty-eight of the constitution which says that subject to provisions of this constitution, the National Assembly may make laws for the peace, order and good governance of Belize. Only the national assembly has this authority.”

Jose Sanchez

“But in having peace and good governance, wouldn’t that also mean you should have access to courts to challenge the government? Isn’t that what the ninth seeks out to do?”

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

“No, and that’s what I’m saying. The ninth does not seek to do that. What the ninth amendment seeks to do amongst other things is to say; that if you want to challenge the provisions of the amendment, you are bound by what section sixty-nine says has to be done.  You can’t go outside of section sixty-nine because section sixty-nine is comprehensive and it tells you all the steps that you must follow if you want to amend the constitution.”

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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17 Responses for “Minister Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington defends 9th Amendment of Constitution”

  1. rasman says:

    Elrington is so dam confuse like the duns in Cabinet; His response says it all

  2. I Have Awaken says:

    Sedi, for the right amount of money, I am sure you would defend the devil in taking your mother’s soul from her dead, cold corpse. In Belize, there is a saying among lawyers,”No money, no law.”

  3. Ricky Malthus says:

    But Sedi, no Constitution in all the world is INFALLIBLE . The Ninth Amendment is construed to oppress the people and take away their freedom to seek justice through legal procedures. Your argument is specious and fallacious in that once the utilities are nationalized and enshrined in the Constitution no one can change nor challenge the law because you will be against the Rule of Law. The thrust of the ninth amendment provides the police with dictatorial powers arrest anyone on any pretext without due process thus creating a dictatorship and police state.I just wonder what kind of logic they teach at UWI because you graduates are not demonstrating wisdom but callousness and crass stupidity.

  4. Rod says:

    We need to fire all of this udp gov, they all need to go from the top down they all need to be fired all a bunch of idiots like vega perdomo and so on all idiots send them all into exile for ignoring the will of the people.

  5. Nimmo says:

    I find it incredible that Sedi could not put politics aside and country first. Remaining in power must be more important to him and his dictator PM than letting Belize remain democratic. Shame on you! Hubert has more sense and is more patriotic than you! Could it be that your hatred for the former CJ Dr. Conteh has no bounds?

  6. Sam says:

    I expected a better crafted response….one that I would be inclined to believe. Sick and tired of hearing “IN THE INTEREST OF THE PEOPLE” bs! The real beneficiaries of this are the law firms, government officials and their family and friends. Checkmate GOB….the voters are watching closely. Don’t be fooled by the silence of the people!

  7. P. Revere says:

    Be very careful with amending your constitution, it is a slippery slope. the official UDP government newspaper is requesting to shut down this forum because too much negative things are being said about your Prime Minister , Barrow..

  8. blvnjah says:


  9. Earl Grey says:


  10. someone says:

    SEDI, where have the consultations with the citizens of Belize taken place?

    “The only body in the country that has the authority to creat laws is the National Assembly; the elected politicia”….that is precisely the problem. Our politicians are corrupt and hence our laws are not in the best interest of the general populace.

    I second that motion, Earl Grey.

  11. Indian Woman says:

    Elrington is another joke. Why are these people still tolerated? Seems we cannot do better.I am telling you ….. these people are useless and cannot deliver what we as a nation needs for growth. I f they could we would not be where we are. Wanna give them another chance? And another? and another? Come on people… when it is time to vote choose wisely.And again…….. if indeed the country cannot produce competent people……….Maybe we need to look abroad.Bring in Belizeans from abroad.Put out a Wanted add.Our country is in crisis. It is like a burning house….. will you wait until the house is engulfed in flames to make your exit?We have been waiting too long to get out of bed. Wake up Belize…… RISE….. BEFORE THE SUN SETS.

  12. incredible says:

    Another problem in our system of government is that the executive branch controls the legislative branch. While I concede that in countries such as the U.S., where the legislative branch (senate) has more power, government work sometimes gets gridlocked (e.g. the current dept crisis), it is equally important that there be some level of separation between the two branches. In such cases the head of the executive (president or P.M.) is not able to both create policies and turn them into laws automatically. In Belize our senate (legislative) is just a rubber stamp for cabinet (executive). That is the case now and has been the case under BOTH parties.

  13. Prudence says:

    Our liberty and freedom is at stake! We need to unite to battle and defend our freedom before we loose it without blood shed. Because later on, the only way will be, by means of unrest like what has happened in Salvador and Nicaragua. We need to come out tomorrow. COLA is making the move– let’s take heed and peacefully show that we are not happy with what is occurring in Bz.
    I’m sure that the North will not subjugate to Barrow and his draconian laws. The Maya have never surrender to enslavement, neither their descendants the Mestizo. Barrow has clearly shown his real colors, his intention to introduce a dictatorship in Belize. Long live Belize and the true Belizeans.

  14. Roy Yates says:

    Hey Sedi, If you read this forum, can’t you se that the vast majority does not want that piece of legilation that you say is for them? READ THERE LIPS—-THEY DONT WANT IT; so you are not doing it for them., end of story. Now I would like to see you deal with Barrow’s disrespect for the order of the Supreme Court. Give the country an answer to that. Mr. Minister of Foreign Affairs and one time Minister of commerce, what can you show that you have accomplish for the country, other than spending money traveling? Why can’t you be like your brother that call it as he see it?

  15. belizeanpride says:


    we the people of belize don’t approve nor agre with this 9th amendment at all. so stop the crap and b.s saying that for the interest of the Belizean people be proud od you country sedi and not of your party don’t be dumb like barrow but reflect that it will haunt even you future grandchildren and ours too.

  16. Teacher says:

    Sedi is definately Redi!!!! Traitor!! Worse than sell out Belize to Guatemala…selling it out to the Barrows

  17. carol says:

    I am disappointed with what the prime minister is doing. He is acting on behalf of his own interst. He is becoming a dictator. I am so not voting for that party anymore…..

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