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Senators Debate the merits of the Referendum bill, PUP Senator Abstains

As we noted, the debate was heated and the Attorney General, Michael Peyrefitte held the floor for more than half hour, speaking of the intentional misinformation being circulated.  Love News was at today’s sitting and we file the following report.

Jose Sanchez: “The debate in the Senate did not have all the fireworks of the upper parliament. Senator for Business Mark Lizarraga felt flaws at the Vital Statistics Unit and the Elections and Boundaries Department needed to be remedied as they are disenchanted Belizeans who cannot register to vote.”

Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte: “ Liar, that is not even Vital Stats Office.”

Mark Lizarraga Senator of Business: “Since you want me to mention Vital Stats I think the Opposition has done a good job of mentioning Vital Stats but since you want me to mention Vital Stats perhaps we really should try to correct this first. This is how the people’s records are being kept.

Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte: “Liar, that is not even Vital Stats Office.”

Mark Lizarraga Senator of Business: “Mr. President please can I have some respect from the Senator?”

Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte: “At least say things that are true.”

President: “If you need to make a point of order Senator Peyrefitte you may rise to give your point?”

President: “Senator, if you are not sure, then how did you show it?”

Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte: “Why did you show it?”

Mark Lizarraga Senator of Business:  “Well then the Honorable A.G. can correct me.”

Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte: “You could have shown me that before we came here I would have told you that it is not true.”

Mark Lizarraga Senator of Business: “Mr. President, please.”

President: “One second Mr. Perryfiete.

Mark Lizarraga: “He will have his turn.”

President: “I know but I am saying that if you are saying that you are not sure that, that picture is from Vital Stats?”

Mark Lizarraga Senator of Business: “It may not be sure but I am sure that the disarray that we have heard from the very people that work in that Department that there would be no reason for me to disbelief that the records in those Departments are in total disarray.”

Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte: “If you come to the Vital Stats Office and you don’t come correct, as long as I am in charge you will be rejected. Go on youtube, go on dom tube. What did Ricky Trooper say? go on Youtube, dom tube, Channel 5, I don’t care where you go. Stop promoting a false propaganda about Vital Stats and the Government service. The three people who sent you those emails were people who were fired because of inappropriate behavior. The Chief Justice didn’t say we did anything wrong. All he said was in local parlors I need to think about this and so since I need to think about this let’s put everything on pause. He may very well say that there was nothing wrong with the Prime Minister’s Writ, he may very well say that there was nothing wrong with the Governor General’s Writ. He didn’t say we were wrong, stop pushing that silly narrative, stop it, for God’s sake stop it. On the Treaty matter, you are going to bring up Treaty matter, weren’t you in Court Senator Lizarraga? The Chief Justice clearly indicated that there was nothing wrong with the Treaty, nothing wrong with the Senate passing it and making it apart of what we do here. It is a simple, simple, simple piece of legislation, really? Plain English and bad manners, simple, simple, simple legislation. We want to give the people an opportunity to decide if they want to go to the ICJ or not, simple. Whichever day it is set by the Prime Minister if this Bill is passed you go and you vote yes or you vote no and whatever the result is the people will determine that.”

Jose Sanchez: “PUP Senator Eamon Courtney hit back with facts, specifically errors he feels make the Senate look idiotic.’

P.U.P. Senator Eamon Courtenay: “How can you come to this Senate, present a Bill that just has in it something that is false. It is false, it is wrong. Protocol to the Special Agreement means the protocol to the Special Agreement between Belize and Guatemala signed on May 25th, 2015 and ratified by the Senate on 30th November 2016. Mr. President you know, I know, all of us in here know that is not true. The Bill continues, Special Agreement means the Special Agreement between Belize and Guatemala to submit Guatemala’s Territorial Insular and Maritime Claim to the International Court of Justice signed by Belize on December 8th, 2008 and ratified by the Senate on November 30th, 2016. That is not true, this Senate cannot ratify a Treaty, this Senate did not ratify a treaty. In truth and in fact it was in 2018 that instruments of ratification were exchanged between Belize and Guatemala. This thing is saying that the Senate ratified it, ratification of a treaty is an executive Act by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, not the Senate. We are looking like idiots to the international community when you put in a law that a Senate ratified a treaty. When this Referendum is held and the votes are close who is going to be fighting over whether a ballot should be accepted or not? Who?. And you know what: one of the biggest flaws in this piece of legislation. There is absolutely no provision that entitles anyone to go to Court to challenge the result of the Referendum.”

President of the BNTU Elena Smith: “From the NTUCB I will reiterate that we want our people to take part in a Referendum but we want it to be done properly and therefore as the NTUCB my direction today was that we say no to this Bill, thank you, Mr. President.”

Herbert Panton Senator: “I set an appointment to meet with a client for this afternoon you know Mr. President and do you know why I set the appointment? I could not imagine we would still be in this Chamber. I could not imagine it, it is bear hogwash. They can’t even muster two hundred people to come to a meeting but they want to have a monitor in 201 polling stations stretched countrywide, that is stupidness. If you give them the opportunity they will not be able to muster the human resources necessary to monitor all those polling stations.”

Jose Sanchez: “NGO Senator Osmany Salas supported the Bill.”

Osmany Salas NGO Senator: “ WIth the resounding support of my NGO Network I am comfortable in supporting it after the questions that I have raised have been favorably answered.”

Jose Sanchez: “There was one abstention: P.U.P. Senator Valerie Woods felt that this may be her Swan Song.”

P.U.P. Senator Valerie Woods: “Balancing those interests of country, party and guided by my conscious I am compelled to abstain from today’s voting and if it should be my Swan Song Mr. President I am comforted that it should be on an issue of existential importance to this country so if my head will be rolled, let it roll on this most critical national issue and let the chips fall where they may.

Jose Sanchez for Love News.

As we reported PUP Senator Valerie Woods abstained from voting.