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Sep 15, 2011

9th Amendment Consultation Road Show in P.G.

In Belize City at the Bliss, three Prime Ministers, past and present shared their perspective of nationhood on Wednesday night. While that forum was taking place another event was being staged in the southernmost district of Toledo. Punta Gorda residents as well as hundreds of villagers were transported to the multipurpose centre for the Ninth Amendment consultations.  It was a full house event that has become a political football game; it was painfully evident that many who support or oppose haven’t got a clue on what is at stake if the ninth is passed. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The southern leg of countrywide consultations on the proposed Ninth Amendment Bill was held in Punta Gorda Town on Wednesday with Minister John Saldivar deputizing as chairman of the Constitution and Foreign Affairs Committee in the absence of Minister Patrick Faber.  From the onset it appeared to be that residents of Toledo District like others elsewhere, who have attended and voiced their opinions on the suggested piece of legislation, are not fully literate on the ramifications of the proposed changes.  Despite supporting the bill Reynaldo Ico, a resident of Silver Creek, echoed that very sentiment.

Reynaldo Ico

Reynaldo Ico, Supports Ninth Amendment Bill

“Many do not understand this Ninth Amendment Bill but yet we have some people saying yes to the Ninth Amendment and no to the Ninth Amendment and as a Maya person I am kind of disappointed with my Maya people.  I have confidence that the Ninth Amendment to this constitution will serve the country the best interest of the masses of the people.  From experiences with the involvement of private corporate investors in our public utilities it has not worked well for the Belizeans. So, I stand here in support of the Ninth Amendment Bill, thank you and goodnight.”

Former president of the Belize National Teachers Union, Anthony Fuentes, took his opportunity at the podium to voice his disapproval of schools being closed for the day, less than a week and a half into the new academic year, in order to facilitate the movement of villagers into town for the public forum.

Anthony Fuentes

Anthony Fuentes, Doesn’t Support the Ninth Amendment Bill

“This government closed schools today in order to accommodate people from the villages to come to this consultation today.  My brother it’s a shame that school just re-opened on the fifth of September and you have the audacity to close school today when school just opened on the fifth of September.  It’s a shame and I’d like to register my disappointment.  In addition to that, in addition to that in the villages there were people going around asking for signatures.  Again I must say it’s a shame that you will have people sign on a referendum meaning that they do not support this consultation.  I personally do not, if one thing you’ll leave [with] from here today.  If [it’s] one thing you must leave with from here today is that I Anthony Fuentes as a citizen of Punta Gorda Town and the founder of the Toledo Teachers Credit Union do not support the Ninth Amendment.”

Another villager, who objected to the passage of the bill, pointed out that signatures were being solicited in exchange for food items, a move she says was an act of dishonesty on the part of village leaders.


Villager, Doesn’t Support Ninth Amendment Bill

“Is this for all Belizeans or is this for a political party because if we cannot get honesty from our village leaders then I am not ready to support the bill until my people are educated on what is taking place.  It hurts to know that some out there are just being used, like my friend before some time ago said he’s signing a paper concerning food when it is for this bill.  Now why should our village leaders be honest to our own people?  Until we can have or this can be explained to my people in the different villages of the south then I cannot support this bill. Thank you.”

Toledo East area representative and Minister of Social Transformation Peter Eden Martinez, on behalf of the current administration, also supported the proposed amendment as expected.

Peter Eden Martinez

However, it was his remark about the bussing of residents from the far reaches of the district that brings to question their knowledge of the issue.

Peter Eden Martinez, Minister of Social Transformation

“I am going to stick to it and support my government and I’ve asked my people, we have brought them from all parts of this district to say yes to the Ninth Amendment [Bill] and we are asking and you will be hearing it resoundingly today Mr. Chairman.  Thank you very much.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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6 Responses for “9th Amendment Consultation Road Show in P.G.”

  1. Rod says:

    Why is this gov. Trying to force down this amendment on the people of this country come on my Mayan people vote no to this amendment or you will be the ones who are most affected by this so don’t be dumb on the subject if you do not understand it do not vote at all until you understand totally what it will mean for you if this gov and pm would put as much effort into controlling crime in this country as they are in trying to stuff this ignorant amendment down the mouths of it’s citizens we would not have half the crime we have this is another black thing that barrow wants if you look onlyis the blacks want this amendment to go through I wonder why So if you are not black you better not vote for it because you will end up getting screwed Barrow say he hates all Spanish Chinese Indian or any other race other than black he is a bigot racist this is why he is sending back the shrelankans but yet he leaves all the illegal Haitians to stay in Belize. Out barrow out guan you are a goal failure get out .

  2. M. Jackson says:

    What a farce!!!!! The Government takes children out of school and scares them to death by LYING to them and telling them a big storm is coming so that the Government can use the kids’ buses to transport people to the PG “consultations.” Consultations my eye – dog and pony show is more like it. Consultations are supposed to be INFORMED consultations, not “come and get your T-shirt and piece of food” media shows. Instead of spending time creating public spectacles, the Government should be doing something productive – such as making sure kids STAY in school and creating jobs.

  3. Teacher says:

    Sheeps to the slaughter!

  4. CEO says:

    They should ask people what they like most about the 9th Amendment. I am sure most would not know how to answer this question because they do not understand it. Just to get up and say I support it with no real knowledge and understanding is unfortunate.

    If I am the only and last voice to say this it is a bad law! The potential for disaster is too great. Ownership of utilities is good but making laws and completely removing the posibility of a court review is nothing short of a dictatorship!

    To allow judicial review (if called upon) would only add respect and give teeth to good laws and make bad laws go away. If I may ask what is so bad with this? Wake up and think my people!

  5. KarmaCatchesCharmeleon says:

    To CEO: I am going to take you on. Why is this a bad law? Why do we need judicial review of the substance of a constitutional law?

  6. concerened TOLEDO!!!!! says:

    I am not happy about what has happened! i believe these persons have been brain washed to believe that the ninth amendment is about ‘good things’. i do not support the ninth amendment…this is politically inclined as they went for the maya people who they can brain washed.I am a Mayan and a proud one, but i am disapointed with waht is happening to my people!! Where is greg choc when he is needed ????? that man is a farce also!!!!! just like this administation…………..

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