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Aug 3, 2011

Said says some parts of Constitution overlooked in Constitution debate

Another perspective on the ninth amendment came from the former Prime Minister, Said Musa. Musa pointed out that if the content of amendments cannot be challenged in the courts, then why the change? And while the amendment would affect sections two and sixty-nine of the constitution, he underscored section sixty-eight, which contains an important provision that has been overlooked in the debate.

Said Musa, Former Prime Minister

Said Musa

“To take the point that has been made that hey this is the law anyway. Well, if it is the law already, why are we amending it? If it is the law that you cannot challenge a constitutional amendment on the ground that it may be inconsistent with the constitution; if that is the law then why are they proposing to amend section two and section sixty-nine? If you look at the constitution itself, that is clearly not the case.  Section sixty-eight —nobody talks about sixty-eight —sixty-eight says the power to make laws is in the National Assembly, true. But it also says “subject to the provisions of the constitution, a very important proviso. If you look at sixty-eight of this constitution, before sixty-nine, it says you in parliament, you can make the laws but you must do it subject to this constitution. “The National Assembly, subject to this constitution may make laws to the peace, order and good government of Belize”. Nobody is denying that the national assembly has the power to make laws. In fact, they are the only ones that have the power to make laws. But it must be done subject to the constitution; to the provisions of the constitution. Not one provision, all provisions. You have to look at the whole framework of the constitution to decide whether any proposed amendment, be it an amendment to the constitution, is consistent with the rest of the constitution.

The essence of our constitution is what we call the separation of powers; the legislature, the executive, the judiciary. The legislature has the power to make laws, the executive is there to implement, carry out the policies based on the laws and the judiciary is there to say what the law is, to interpret the law. Now, this ninth amendment, by denying people or anyone for that matter, the right challenge in court on any ground whatsoever, a future constitutional amendment, is really destroying the basis of our constitution. That is my initial reaction to this whole thing. It is a very, not only a dangerous thing, but it’s something that goes to the very heart of what we’ve been trying to do as an independent country.”

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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2 Responses for “Said says some parts of Constitution overlooked in Constitution debate”

  1. Lucas says:

    In Spanish there is a proverb that says: MAS CLARO QUE ESO, NO CANTA EL GALLO. Translation: CLEARER THAN THAT, THE ROOSTER DOES NOT CROW. In the mid eighties the late President Ronald Reagan said to Mr. Gorbachov: MR. GORBACHOV, TEAR DOWN THAT WALL. The Belizean People now tell Mr. Barrow: MR. BARROW TEAR DOWN THAT 9th AMENDMENT. The Belizean Anthem says: NO TYRANT HERE LINGER; DESPOTS MUST FLEE. I say: DUMP MR. BARROW INTO THE CARIBBEAN SEA.

  2. ang says:

    Listen to what the people say!

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