In the United Democratic Party’s 2008 Campaign manifesto, an idea of a 13th Senator was introduced and promised as a measure of serious governance reform by the party. That additional Senator would come from the NGO community, and would have shifted the balance of power away from government.
But in 2010, PM Dean Barrow retracted that ideal citing that the practice in all actuality would make no sense. The PM reiterated the government’s position on that issue on Wednesday’s conference.
Dean Barrow- Prime Minister Of Belize
“It is a wonderful idea but in practice it will make no sense. The Opposition is there to oppose the so called social partners sectors are not there to be friends of the government and if you gave control of that chamber to that combination I am telling you there will be paralysis. Now other people might have a different point of view and I respect that but as far as I am concerned the role of the Senate is to be a watchdog, is to shine the light on what is happening it is like the Public Accounts Committee. It is not to substitute the Government, it is not to frustrate the Government, and it is not to stop the Government. So I am telling you I cannot at this point support the notion for the 13th Senate.”
PUP Leader Francis Fonseca says the ‘flip-flop’ is mis-guided and that while the party supports the idea of a 13th Senator, he says the PM is refusing to advance reform in governance.
Honorable Francis Fonseca- Leader Of The Opposition
“The Prime Minister says that he has now realized that if you have this it would lead to paralysis. Absolute nonsense! Both the PAC and the Senate have limited powers but they cannot effectively stop the work of government. That’s an important point. But I also want to make the point, because as I said I have given this a lot of thought. If a government, if a Prime Minister has a particular law that he or she wants to pass, that the government wants to pass…they have a particular policy that they want to advance, a particular proposal that they want to move forward…man if you are not able to convince one of the social partners – if you are not able to convince the churches or the unions or the business community to support you in moving that law forward or moving that policy forward, then that must give you reason to pause. It must give you reason to pause and you must then go back to the table and say – what am I not doing right? So it is a good thing for us to have a 13th Senator who will require us to pause when we need to pause.”
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