Die-Hard UDP Supporters Ejected from National Assembly Amidst Fiery Debate on 11th Amendment
In anticipation of the 11th Amendment going back to the House, a handful of the UDP’s die-hards went to the National Assembly to support the Leader of the Opposition, Moses “Shyne” Barrow. The group gathered in the gallery behind the opposition members and was led by the former Minister of National Security, John Saldivar. They were allowed to observe but after a few hours of hurling remarks during the meeting, the Speaker of the House requested their removal. According to Saldivar, the group was there to rally against what he says is an attempt to undermine Barrow’s leadership.
While Barrow was able to garner the support of UDP’s faithful, he was only able to convince one Member of Parliament to vote against the motion. Barrow rallied against the move and called it a direct attack on him. He says the government is using the constitution to prevent him from doing what he was elected to do.
Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “And now two and a half years later, when no confidence motions are being put forward, when Portico corruption is being alleged, when the Senate is investigating members of the cabinet, now according to the member from Cayo South because he’s getting hot so we have to deal with everything, this, Madam Speaker, is nothing more than a desperate attempt for the PUP to hold on to power. And the member from Cayo South said as much. He said, listen, we cannot have the Leader of the Opposition become the prime minister because we have to have certain level of caliber. Now, Madam Speaker, that sounds like a fascist state. This is a democracy and all that we have read says that this is the people’s house. The people decide who comes into this house. There are some of my colleagues that would say the people in Orange Walk must have dropped on their head to have been electing the member from Orange Walk Central for 30 years but that is not for us to decide. They decide that, so we have to respect their decision. So who are you? Who are you, member from Fort George? Who are you, member from Cayo South? The drivers behind this recommendation to decide what caliber belongs in here? You want to tell me, you want to tell the Belizean people that you have more credibility than the drafters of our constitution? I reject that. When the Constitution was drafted, it was drafted by able, competent people. I can’t say the same for you, which is why we agreed to go to the People’s Constitution Commission so that we can have a bipartisan evaluation of our Constitution, which is there to protect rights, not take away rights. Not because you elitists think that, “oh, only this caliber should belong in the House of Representatives and we need a “greater standard.” That is not for you to decide.”