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Former area rep “Boots” Martinez takes on Governor-General over delayed recall petition; Government “taking advice” from Attorney General

Posted: Monday, February 26, 2024. 10:52 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: According to former area representative for Port Loyola, Anthony “Boots” Martinez, the Office of the Governor-General Dame Froyla Tzalam, may be guilty of “flouting the law” with regard to how quickly his signatures for a recall of successor Gilroy Usher, Sr. went to the Chief Elections Officer.

Martinez told reporters today that he found out this morning via a phone call to LOVE FM from Josephine Tamai that the petitions were handed over to her on February 21, a day after Martinez called reporters to complain that they had not yet been handed over.

Martinez laid blame at the Governor-General’s feet for the delay from when he submitted the petitions on January 16: “You, as the Governor General, you assent all laws into play and have little things to do per day and all day to do it. I have some difficulty with that and I have difficulty, in my humble opinion, in the Governor General breaking the law. And I find that to be very delinquent, her office to be very delinquent, very disingenuous and totally dishonest.” He added that to his understanding, “forthwith” as used in the recall law means immediately or at once.

But could legal action follow? Martinez did not shy away from it, saying he had talked to his former boss and Prime Minister, Senior Counsel Dean Barrow: … there should be some legal recourse that we could take against the Governor General and her office….I am saying to you, breaking the law, breaking the law noh have some consequence? And ih noh matter what I say in terms of what happen wah happen and I maintain that. But I am saying we noh reach there yet. I am saying we are contemplating on the avenues for what recourse is there before the court for somebody breaking the law. There has to be some kind of recourse. So I am just saying that we’re looking on that. Me and Mr. Barrow, we spoke this morning and we’re looking at what it is, because nobody is above the law.”

This evening the Government hit back, reminding of the Governor-General’s place in Belizean democracy as representative of the Crown. The statement continued: “Our laws further mandates that it is unlawful for any person to bring the Governor General in her official capacity into contempt, disrepute or disaffection. Whether one agrees or disagrees with this, the fact remains that this is what the supreme law of the country and the laws of Belize commands. Recent statements made by Anthony “Boots” Martinez to the media scandalizing and bringing Her Excellency into disrepute are unwarranted, unprecedented and unlawful.”

The Cabinet has requested the Attorney General to provide advice on this matter, the statement concluded. No mention was made of the status of the petition itself, purportedly signed by more than 1,700 voters in the Port Loyola division whose signatures must now be verified to proceed further.

 

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