Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2019. 10:03 am CST.
Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2019. 9:30 a.m. CST.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.
By Dr. Gerald Zuniga:
School of Political Science
Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala
Ever since the inception of Belize as an independent, constitutional, parliamentary, democratic nation with 8,867 sq.mls inscribed in our Constitution, our Governor Generals have not exercised to its fullest their constitutional prerogatives. There are many evidences of this asseveration since September 21st, 1981 when we became an independent nation recognized by the consortium of nations, the United Nations. It was that we baptized our Constitution crafted by a group of citizens who had this new nation in and at heart. Many had made oaths to respect and honour our Constitution. The Spanish man would say “Allí está el detalle.”
Art.36-(1) states that “The executive authority of Belize is vested in Her Majesty”. Paragraph (2) states that “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the executive authority of Belize may be exercised on behalf of Her Majesty by the Governor-General either directly or through officers subordinate to him.” This being said, the G.G. is the Head of our state, The State of Belize, and the rest in the executive are subordinates to him or her. So it is clear and important to know that the Head of the State of Belize is not the same as the Head of Government of the Belize. A state is more than a country even though one can’t exist without the other.
When we go to vote in our general elections every 5 years, we go to elect a government. Ever since our Independence, we have been electing governments from the 2 traditional political parties, namely, the People’s United Party and the United Democratic Party. Recently, we have had the participation of third parties and coalitions but with no success as yet. The government consists of a group of people that executive the policies of that political party in power. These persons are headed by the Prime Minister for a period of five years. So based on the structure of executive power in our state, the sole responsible for the good and the bad that happen in our country by omission and commission, are the Governor General and the Prime Minister.
It is unfortunate in our state that the executive body is also embodied in the legislative body, which from my point of view is erratic and any new legislature should have in their agenda or a manifesto, a constitutional reform which among the reforms should be that of a guarantee of the division of power. We need true division of power and also de-concentration of power. In most democratic republics even though, we don’t have a republican system, their state has division of power, namely, the executive, legislative, and judiciary. Our monarchical system of government has also been dysfunctional for 37 years and months. Our system is conducing us to a failed state so it must be revisited and reformed to enhance the development of our nation. From 2015, I have been advocating for a constitutional reform. I have found out that even though we have a
Constitution that guarantees ample freedom which is the main axis of a true democracy, it also has weaknesses that must be strengthened as the Constitution is executed. Its amendments have been superficial. So then our Head of Government is the Prime Minister and the Head of State is the Governor General in representation of Her Majesty The Queen.
That being said, on April 10th if no moratorium, we are going to the polls to participate in the most important referendum in Belize’s history. Hence it is imperative that the Governor General as the Head of the State and the nation of Belize and the Sovereign, CAN’T AND SHOULDN’T REMAIN SILENT. He should call on and invite every registered voter to vote on April 10th. He should ensure that the correct information is out there and that the correct methodology is used to impart it. The yes or no vote is the responsibility of the voter based of his or her conscious after analyzing and synthesizing the information garnered. The invitation should be only to vote. However, he has the constitutional authority as Head of State to make sure that the due process was followed to reach to this point of calling for a referendum assuming that negotiations had failed. Unlike our central government, that is calling for a “yes” vote.
It is imperative that we as citizens abide by our Constitution at all levels without discrimination. For too long there has been a constant ragaguelization or toilet paperization of our Constitution and this has to stop.
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