Opposition Leader Submits No-Confidence Motion Against Prime Minister Briceno
Leader of the Opposition, Moses Shyne Barrow, has made a submission of no-confidence to the House of Representatives against the Prime Minister. It is a private member’s motion that Barrow submitted to the Clerk of the National Assembly. In a press conference this morning, Barrow says there are several instances that has led to this move of no-confidence in Prime Minister John Briceno.
Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “Well, we hope that the many cabinet ministers that opposed the prime minister’s leadership internally will do so publicly. I can assure you if John Briceno were to go to a convention right now, he would lose. And that there is an internal struggle right now because many senior members of the People’s United Party do not believe in his leadership. So it is my hope that in the interest of democracy, in the interest of the benefit of the Belizean people, that many of those ministers who do not believe in John Briceno’s leadership ability and his capacity to take us forward would vote and let there be a dissolution of parliament and new elections. John Briceno needs a new mandate. The PUP need a new mandate led by John Briceno. So for an administration that claims to be above board, that claims to be about accountability and transparency, there is absolutely no reason that motion should not be brought to the House floor for debate. It just needs to be seconded. That is the requirement. This is not a private member’s bill. This is a private member’s motion, there is a distinction if you’re not aware.”
While it is highly unlikely that this motion will bear any fruit, Barrow says he feels obligated to make the submission, particularly, following the saga of the infamous Definitive Agreement.
Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “We will take a vote of no confidence on the Prime Minister of Belize and his government. Whether it is outlining the malfeasance, the nonfeasance of the Prime Minister in regards to the Portico Definitive Agreement, as has been listed out there, his cousin being the attorney for Portico Enterprises Limited, his Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and his Minister of Immigration have a law firm called Coye and Courtenay. Courtenay and Coye and they represent the CEO of Portico in his personal interests and all of the allegations of nepotism, cronyism, self-enrichment that have engulfed the Briceno administration in relations to Portico, the Special Senate Select Committee to investigate the genesis of the Portico agreement all the way to the confidential cabinet memorandum 84 being submitted by the prime minister who is the Minister of Finance and as he has said I quote “the buck stops with him you can’t blame Christopher Coye.” and that is where we started with that saga and the evidence unfolded that the Prime Minister lied. He said that when he was asked about legal advice he and the Minister said they were seeking legal advice but as we now know they had already gotten, at least the Prime Minister, had gotten legal advice from Ben Juratowich King’s Council before the definitive agreement with the respective legislation to be passed was submitted to the cabinet. So we now know that it is a lie that the Prime Minister did not know anything and just submitted the definitive agreement to say hey, you know, look at this guys, what do you think? We now know that there were two definitive agreement legal opinions sought and received before the cabinet memorandum 84 was submitted for approval urgent recommendations so that it could be passed in the House of Representatives.”
Barrow filed the motion in accordance with several of the House’s Standing Orders as well as Section 37 of the Constitution of Belize. In order for the motion to be successful, it would need the support of several members of the government’s side of the House of Representatives. Barrow is hoping that he would get support from members of Briceno’s Cabinet.
Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “When you have a government that was ushered into office on a platform of anti-corruption, a platform of good governance, ethical governance, transparency, accountability, and we see from the Prime Minister’s office the stakeholder, the social partner senators are not opposition senators they deem themselves independent senators. So all that I have said is credible as it relates to the prime minister and this definitive agreement, the Minister of Finance, because they themselves moved a motion that was unanimously passed to investigate not just as the PUP hacks would want you to believe the signing of the agreement. The terms of reference of the motion that passed in the Senate is to investigate from the signing of the agreement to the submission of that agreement for approval to the cabinet and legislation in the House so these are things that prove that the Prime Minister of Belize, John Briceno has lost his way, has lost his mandate, has lost the confidence of the Belizean people. When six of his own cabinet ministers publicly denounced an agreement that he tried to get passed, that is a problem.”
This is the second motion of no-confidence to be lodged in Belize post-independence. The last was lodged in February 2020 against Barrow’s father, the then Prime Minister Dean Barrow. That motion was filed with the Clerk of the National Assembly and sponsored by the then Leader of the Opposition, John Briceno and Cayo South Area Representative, Julius Espat.