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New Leader of the Opposition speaks on “personal explanation”

Posted: Friday, July 2, 2021. 1:11 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The House of Representatives today sees a first, as Standing Order 22, known as “Personal Explanation,” was invoked by new Leader of the Opposition in the House, Moses “Shyne” Barrow, to in effect, introduce himself in the post as he takes over from Patrick Faber.

Before introducing Barrow, House Speaker Valerie Woods told the members that personal explanations are handled by her office as to leave and content, ensuring that no controversial matter or irregular debate is introduced, and so she guided Barrow as to how to craft his statement to avoid introducing either. The statement must be brief, and heard in silence.

“Only in using Standing Orders will we appreciate the merits or the weaknesses of the Standing Orders. It would only inure to the benefit of all parliamentarians, and to the benefit of the democratic process of any parliamentary institution, that we practice and use the Standing Orders; that we learn from them and we improve them as we go along,” she concluded.

Barrow’s statement, verbatim and in toto, follows:

“Thank you, Madam Speaker, for granting me leave. Good morning to you, good morning to the wonderful people of Mesopotamia, and good morning to all of my colleagues on both sides. Madam Speaker, I stand here before you today, as Leader of the Opposition, not because of political ambition. I stand here before you because I am serious about the reform agenda. I am serious about accountability; and I am serious about restoring public trust and confidence, Madam Speaker. I am serious about being a safe guard of our democracy, I am serious about ensuring the best public policies for the people of Belize. As Leader of the Opposition, I will not only hold the Government accountable for its policies; but I will hold myself and the Opposition members accountable.

This is a turning point in the history of governance in our country, Madam Speaker. I have the fortitude and I have the political will to be the engine that drives change for the better in Belize. Change is never easy, but change is necessary, Madam Speaker. Reform is uncomfortable. Reform makes some unsettled. However, to empower and uplift our people, reform we must. Thank you, Madam Speaker.”

The Opposition benches were filled by, in order of seating from left to right next to Barrow; Hugo Patt (Corozal North); Tracey Panton (Albert)and Faber (Collet), with Denise “Sista B” Barrow (Queen’s Square) absent.

 

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