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Constitutional amendment introduced; Minister says “this is not about any individual”

Posted: Friday, July 2, 2021. 1:14 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Minister of the Public Service, Constitutional and Political Reform, Henry Charles Usher, has introduced the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution to provide additional grounds for the disqualification of a person as a Member of the National Assembly.

The Bill proposes to amend Sections 58(1), 59(3)(a), 63(1) and 64(3), said Usher, and came out of widespread consultation, including ongoing talks with the trade unions.

“There are those, Madam Speaker, who believe this is all about them,” Usher said in what appeared to be a dig at Leader of the Opposition Moses “Shyne” Barrow. But it is really about signalling the commitment to good governance, and if the Opposition is “true and real about reform,” they should support the measure, he added.

It is about finding those of the highest quality who can represent Belizeans in and outside the House, said Usher, including barring those with corrupt backgrounds and those with criminal convictions in and out of Belize – (no mention of whether that is retroactive). The Government is also seeking to bring in members of the Belizean Diaspora to vote and participate, but the laws must reflect “what is best for Belize…going forward.”

To Barrow, Usher said he should continue to learn with humility, not hubris.

The Bill will be considered by the Constitution and Foreign Affairs Committee, and will likely include widespread public consultations as has happened with previous Constitutional amendments.

 

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