Cabinet agreed to amend the Maritime Areas Act on May 14. On Monday the act which was passed in 1992 will be taken to the National Assembly where it will be tabled at the next sitting of the House of Representatives. But the political parties were divided on the issue and promoted opposing views on the ICJ. Today the Peoples United Party held a caucus meeting at the Leader of the Opposition’s Belize City office to discuss the strategy and plans of how they will move forward on the issue. Opposition Leader John Briceno told us after the late evening meeting, that the party will support the amendment to the Maritimes Areas Act.
John Briceno – Leader of the Opposition (PUP): “Before we have a House meeting and Senate meeting all Parliamentarians meet to discuss the order of the day and build a consensus as to what the party’s position is going to be for the House meeting so that is what we just had this afternoon. There are two Bills that they are proposing: one is an amendment to the Maritime Areas Act, well it is a Bill as we speak, also the Income Tax and a procedure, a Bill where they are attempting to merge both the Income Tax and the GST departments as one. As I understand, on the the Income Tax one I have been informed that it is only going to be presented for first reading so there is not going to be a debate on the Maritime Areas Amendment Bill. I think it will go through all the three stages on Monday. As you all know the People’s United Party has been very clear when we took out the People’s Declaration where we said that one of the recommendations/ demands that we were making was either the amendment to the Maritime Areas Act where we can claim the entire Maritime areas that we can as afforded under international law so we had that discussion this afternoon. Obviously then we as Parliamentarians are prepared to go and support that; ironically it is pretty much identical to the Bill that Senator Courtenay presented in the Senate I think sometime last year. I don’t see us opposing to those amendments.”
On Tuesday it will be submitted to the Senate.