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Oct 8, 2013

A glaring error in the amendment to the Criminal Code

Mark Lizarraga

An amendment to the Criminal Code was discussed up to late this evening in the Senate Committee in Belmopan. It drew the attention of a large representation from the churches who feel aggrieved by particular section of the amendment. The Committee of the Senate last week passed the bill and it did so despite a glaring error in the drafting. In fact, that error escaped the watchful eyes of the legal draftsman in the Attorney-General’s office, the Cabinet and even the House of Representatives. Last week it made its way before the Senate for final vetting, and that’s where senators Mark Lizarraga and Lisa Shoman pointed it out. In a nutshell – the bill states that any exchange or transfer of goods, whether those goods are stolen OR NOT would be an offense punishable by imprisonment.  The thing is that despite the very serious discrepancy which was pointed out, the Senate still passed it, using its government majority to do so. It passed, but leader of government business Godwin Hulse did not opt to read it a third and final time, which effectively stalled it. Senator Mark Lizarraga told News Five today that a Senate meeting has been called for Wednesday, and he expects the bill to be fixed there. But he maintains that the bill should never have made it so far.


Mark Lizarraga, Senator, Business Sector

“Obviously it’s in error but it basically proposed that any importation, or any exportation, any trade in goods, any exchange in goods whether such goods were stolen or not would have been an offence…which is ridiculous. So this is why I’m so disappointed that it even made it to the Senate floor because like I said I raised it before the Senate session commenced and I was hoping that such a bill, as ludicrous as this one was would not have even made it to the Senate floor, or certainly it would have been amended but as it is, we’re coming back for a session on Wednesday and I suggest that it will probably be corrected then, but it’s unfortunate that we have to go back to Belmopan to fix something that should have been caught by legislators in the House, by Cabinet before it got to the Senate.”



“You said that you raised it at the appropriate times, and I understand Senator Shoman raised it as well. What was the reaction?”


Mark Lizarraga

“That was the most disappointing part because I think Senator Shoman was very aggressive at the Committee level in trying to get them to see the logic for our requests…I mean it’s obvious. You read it yourself a while ago and nobody had to explain it to you. For the life of us we cannot understand what the reason for passing it through the Committee was.”

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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1 Response for “A glaring error in the amendment to the Criminal Code”

  1. Name Witheld says:

    Dean have something up his crooked/corrupt sleeve. Believe me Dean isn’t clean!! Belizeans beware

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