Wednesday, April 1, 2015

NO 9th Amendment!

Friday, August 5, 2011, 12:24
This news item was posted in Headline category and has 13 Comments so far.
[caption id="attachment_9189" align="alignleft" width="186" caption="Senator Lisa Shoman"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_9190" align="alignleft" width="186" caption="Jacqueline Marshalleck "][/caption] Chamber, Bar, Senators, Activists and even Hubert Elrington say Barrow is “heading the wrong road” Belize City, August 3, 2011 There is mounting opposition to the Government’s proposal for a 9th amendment to the Constitution that seeks to remove the authority of the Courts to review and challenge constitutional amendments, and place supremacy and rule on the legislature. The latest group to express its disapproval and displeasure is the Belize Chamber of Commerce who sent out a release on Wednesday afternoon declaring that the 9th amendment creates a “dangerous situation” and that they are calling on the Government to “withdraw the Bill”. “If enacted, the proposed Ninth Amendment to Belize’s Constitution creates a very dangerous situation, which is not contemplated by our Constitution. It allows the Legislature to have absolute power to amend the Constitution…. In effect, we move from a Constitutional Supremacy where the laws passed by the Legislature must conform to the Constitution, to Parliamentary Supremacy where the Parliament is supreme and can pass any law without reference to our Constitution,” stated the Chamber’s release. Allowing Parliament to bestow on itself such absolute rule opens the doors to possible abuse, viewed the Chamber, and that could result in the removal of citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms without being able to challenge them in the Courts. The Chamber warned that the suggestion was not a fear tactic, and pointed out that it is this very same Barrow Administration who “proposed drastic changes to our personal liberties” through Preventative Detention and the 8th Constitutional Amendment. While it has been withdrawn the “8th Amendment can be reintroduced, and we would be unable to challenge its substance in the courts,” admonished the Chamber’s release. The Belize Chamber of Commerce is the most recent in a string of organisations, well-known activists and political heavy-weights from both sides of party politics to declare their opposition to Government’s 9th constitutional amendment. Last week Wednesday, the Bar Association declared their objection. So did a bevy of attorneys and even former Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Said Musa. On Saturday, the Coalition for Liberty through Action, Belizeans for Justice, the Maya Leader’s Alliance and Opposition members marched against the 9th Amendment through the streets of Belize City. Well-known advocate Audrey Matura-Shepherd, who is a former UDP Senator and editor of the UDP newspapers, and attorney and Human Rights official Antoinette-Moore have come out swinging against the proposed amendment. Current Senators Lisa Shoman, Godwin Hulse and Henry Gordon have also declared their staunch objection.  No one was more clear about the reasons against the amendment that Senators Shoman and Gordon and Bar Association President Jacqueline Marshalleck when they participated in a debate of the issue on a Love FM exclusive on Monday night. The proponents of the amendment were former Attorney General Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington and his newly hired Solicitor General Jamaican-born Cheryl Krusen. While the best rationale Elrington and Krusen were able to muster was that in their view the Constitution already gives the National Assembly supremacy, and the 9th Amendment only made it “double sure”; they were hit with blow after blow that exposed that the amendment is a far-reaching abomination to democracy, or in the words of Senator Gordon it created, “the potential for a dictatorship”. Senator Shoman and Marshalleck who articulated the important role the Courts play in a constitutional democracy said what the 9th Amendment proposed to do was to remove the basic tenets of our Constitution.  Marshalleck said that in simple terms the Barrow Administration sought to “strip the judiciary”. Elrington did not shy away from the accusation.  He even went further to state that indeed the Parliament had such power, and even more.  “This gives the Parliament the power to revoke the Constitution,” he noted. Elrington said the Government’s position is that all the Courts could do was review the procedure by which a constitutional amendment or law is introduced, but that it could not review the content.  He said the 9th amendment sought to make that position explicit. The debate was aired live on radio and television and was popular online as it reportedly attracted 13,000 internet viewers. When the opportunity was given for callers to question the panellists, even those participants rejected the Government’s proposal in fear that their fundamental rights and freedoms were in danger. Belizeans will have an opportunity to have their say on the 9th Constitutional Amendment when a public consultation is held on Wednesday, August 10th, 2011 at 7 p.m. at the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall in Belize City. Consultations will also be held at different venues across the country. The Prime Minister and his political hacks, however, have the propensity of turning serious forums of discourse into political rallies which could become a serious deterrent to public participation.  So far, there has been no commitment from the Prime Minister that he will keep away the hooligans and thugs who will likely harass and intimidate the common man who may want to attend and defend his rights.
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13 Responses to “NO 9th Amendment!”

  1. Anonymous said on Monday, August 15, 2011, 14:56

    What does the great “Father of the Nation” has to say about this issue?

  2. Ricky Malthus said on Wednesday, August 17, 2011, 19:48

    All Supreme Court Judges must be Belizean born. These alien judges are always rendering bad decisions ; at the same time we don’t want Belizean Judges who have been compromised and who have been proven to be untrustworthy because they stole or commingled clients’ funds. Belize must get rid of Barrow and UDP so we the people can restructure the economy to integrate all dynamic changes to increase productivity by investing in Belizean businesses in private sector which will hire the vast pool of unemployed and underemployed Belizeans. We will get all the banks and credit unions to make loans within parameters of 5 to 8 percent to bring sanity to the banking industry and in line with global rates. We will arrange private loans for all industries in Belize both locally and foreign if local banks are not forthcoming. We will restructure the BNE contract so that Belizeans own piece of the action and not the government of Belize. People ,you have to wake up to the reality that if you let government be your trustees for your oil wealth for your present and future beneficiaries, you will remain poor, paupers forever. We will restructure Social Security so Belizeans receive substantially more benefits for unemployment, health care, and aid to the poor instead of giving welfare to the rich Belizeans who don’t pay back. We have to restructure the entire banking system , the mortgage loan system and many more economic, political, legal, and social systems.

  3. Glenda said on Friday, August 19, 2011, 15:13

    I’ve been a UDP supporter for years; however, I am disappointed with the proposed 9th ammendment. I do not support the 9th ammendment. The PM is acting on behalf of his own interst. I’ve been seeing that some people are supporting it due to their political affiliation; but they are not reading between the lines. Our freedoms are being taken away right before our own eyes.

  4. concerned Belizean said on Thursday, August 25, 2011, 20:17

    Get rid of them immediately! And all their family. We don’t need them – they have done nothing for this country but send us back in the stone age. Damn! Are we not reading? Why is it that the poor are always the ones being hurt in these situation. The well off can afford to live along with their mess or more like BS. We need to stand up for our country. We have nothing going on for this country – what? Can someone please tell me one thing they have done and has been successful. I sure don’t know of anything. Please! Anyone? I didn’t think so..

  5. Yazikhov said on Thursday, October 20, 2011, 14:31

    Well the 9th amendment is a Bull Shit. Lol. The United Democratic Party has Turned into the Uncivilized Demons Party

  6. Ricky Malthus said on Thursday, October 20, 2011, 19:01

    I have urged the PUPs to demonstrate and shut down the country. But nothing was done to address and stop this 9th Amendment in the eleventh hour. Now the country is in for a bloodbath if Asinine Barrow challenges good , rational judgment and illegally passes this Amendment. I am saying again barrow is responsible for the bloodbath that will ensue. Be aware!!!!

  7. Background | Who is McAfee? said on Saturday, November 17, 2012, 9:41

    [...] Trial by jury removed as a right. Government can try anyone by choosing a single judge, chosen by the PM and loyal to the political party. One person then decides guilt or innocence of accused people and decides appropriate punishment: -or- (read one or the other, or both if you’re so inclined) [...]

  8. Tom said on Tuesday, December 4, 2012, 21:57

    Leave John McAfee alone!

  9. Daniel said on Thursday, December 6, 2012, 20:04

    en todos los paises hay corrupcion

  10. Crazy Larry said on Saturday, December 8, 2012, 14:42

    Free John McAfee!!

  11. Anonymous said on Sunday, December 9, 2012, 1:10

    So. how long was the PUP in power? And what good did they do for our country? Now they blame it all on the UDP!

  12. John Adams said on Friday, December 14, 2012, 4:43

    In the United States, amendments to the Constitution must be passed by at least a two-thirds majority of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and must be ratified by the legislatures of at least two-thirds of the states. Amendments to the Constitution are not subject to court review, because they are constitutional by the mere fact that they are part of the Constitution. Amendments can only be modified or abolished through a subsequent constitutional amendment. The interpretation of the Constitution is ultimately left to the U.S. Supreme Court.

  13. Digging deep into to roots of the 9th Amendment to the Constitution of Belize [FYI] - said on Friday, March 14, 2014, 4:48

    [...] to The Belize Times: “If enacted, the proposed Ninth Amendment to Belize’s Constitution creates a very dangerous [...]

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