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Jun 14, 2012

8th Amendment had it wrong?

A court ruling was delivered on Monday, which had to do with the nationalization of Belize Telemedia Limited and the Eighth Amendment, which generated a huge public outcry last year. Prime Minister Dean Barrow and his government believed that once they had a supermajority in the House, they could pass any amendment to any law, including to the Belize Constitution. They then introduced the Ninth Amendment into the House to accomplish this in July of 2011. There were nationwide consultations, paid ads for and against it and even a song written against it. There was also a campaign that gathered over twenty thousand signatures to try to trigger a referendum on it. The Bar Association, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and, at one time, the Churches had all come out against it.  The Solicitor General had advanced the government’s position saying:


Cheryl Krusen, Solicitor General

Cheryl Krusen

“We look at Section 5(a) where you have a simple majority. So essentially to amend the constitution as it now exists in section 69, there are certain provisions that require three-quarters majority, some are two-thirds majority and some are simple majority—that is what the present section 69 says. The existing section 69, as I have just explained it, remains—that has not changed. All of those provisions that I have spoken to you about still remain in the proposed ninth Amendment. The only difference to section 69 as the ninth Amendment would seek to do is to include a new subsection, which is subsection 9. And that subsection is a subsection which is seeking to remove all doubts by declaring that there is no limitation—whether substantive or procedural—on the power of the national assembly, which is the power given by the existing 69, to alter any provisions of the constitution and once it is passed in conformity with section 69, then it shall not be open to challenge in court—an ouster clause; the same thing like the Speaker of the House cannot be inquired into any court of law. That is what section 69 as is proposed does.”


Despite the opposition, the eighth amendment was still enacted in October of 2011. Well, in Monday’s court ruling, the Supreme Court settled the dispute. It ruled that the Government was wrong. Judge Oswell Legall  said that the “Founding Fathers of the Belize Constitution could not have intended by section 69 to empower the government with required majorities, in the National Assembly, to make any amendment to the Constitution that would remove the fundamental pillars of democratic rule and the rule of law.” The justice also said, “I therefore rule that even though provisions of the Constitution can be amended, the National Assembly is not legally authorized to make any amendment to the Constitution that would remove or destroy any of the basic structures of the Constitution of Belize.” Well, this is the position that the Bar Association of Belize had been advocating all along.  It is extremely embarrassing for the Government of Belize and no doubt that is not the last we will hear about the Eighth Amendment.

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 “8th Amendment had it wrong?”

  1. I Belize it says:

    The ultimate belief that GOB is never wrong, as proved by their legal argument “of natural LAW” which says the GOB is GOD and therefore shall do as it pleases, when it pleases: Citizens are now hereby declared nuisances, one year in purgatory and $200,000,000 BZD fine.

    Just like in the independent states of Gangland, Corruption, U-De-Poorer (and don’t forget the newly reorganized District of PUPPIES), to steal is the ultimate privilege of GOB legal writ; a right of absolute power, allowing criminal franchises to create fake police road blocks and enforcement of the new consitutional amendment to rename the former country of Belize, as “The Democratic Natural Republic of De Jewel”. Those against natural law shall be hunted and fed to animals at the Natural Zoo.

    All hail GOB.

  2. Rod says:

    Sick sick gov. And pm the nation is in severe trouble and we have no leader I repeat their is no leader in the nation the problem with Belize is their is no pride in themselves anymore no pride in themselves and no pride in the nation because of the type of leadership we have.

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