The UDP seems to have forgotten that little thing called consultation with the people as it seeks to pass a bill to reintroduce preventive detention. On April 11, 2011 the constitutionally mandated period for public consultations will elapse, but the consultations have not materialized. In the consultation vacuum created by the UDP, other organizations and individuals have embarked on countrywide consultations and today Leader of the Opposition John Briceno weighed in with a letter addressed to the Hon. Patrick Faber, who is the Chairman of the Constitution and Foreign Affairs Committee.
In that letter, Briceno proclaims out front that, and I quote – “the People’s United Party is not in support of this proposed 8th Amendment Bill which reintroduces preventive detention. Considering the overwhelming public opposition to this proposed amendment, we are calling on the Government to withdraw the amendment.”
Briceno continues to scold Faber, stating, and I quote – “it is regrettable that as Chairman you have not announced any meetings for consultations to allow Belizeans to express their views on this important constitutional amendment…We in the Opposition expect that an appropriate opportunity will be given to the Belizean people to express their views and that your government will not seek to hold meaningless last minute consultations.”
Of note and extreme political significance is that while Prime Minister Dean Barrow has publicly stated that public opinion notwithstanding they will push through the amendment, his Senior Minister and UDP whip Michael Finnigan has stated that he does not support it and will take his opinion to other UDP ministers. That should make for interesting times in the UDP camp.