At the last House Sitting on March 8th, Parliament approved five bills that will give the Minister of State with responsibility for Immigration, Beverly Castillo, authority to sign immigration documents and other powers. That Bill did not sit too well with the Opposition Senators who objected to the Bill yesterday when the matter went for second Reading before the senate.


Senator Eamon Courtenay – Opposition Senator for People’s United Party


“What this is saying is that Minister Hulse may issue his order, delegates to Minister Castillo the ability to exercise and perform all the power under section 10 and 16 of the Nationality Act but at the same time simultaneously notwithstanding that delegation Senator Hulse reserves all to himself the right and ability to exercise all an any of the functions at the same time that Senator Castillo has the right to exercise any and all of those functions that is a duality of powers, when god forbid Senator Castillo says yes to something and signs it and I am not suggesting anything on to all but through some administrative slip up some oversight or just the fact that Minister Hulse was not made aware of it the matter comes to him and he says no on the same matter who prevails.”


According to Lead Opposition Senator Eamon Courtenay, if accepted the new Legislation would award substantive power to a person who is not a member of Cabinet thus going against the constitution.


Screen_Shot_2016-03-30_at_8.12.49_PMSenator Eamon Courtenay – Opposition Senator for People’s United Party


“Some of these amendments purport to give to a person who is not a member of the Cabinet the power to make subsidiary legislation, the power to issue regulations, the power to set feeds, the power to hear appeals those are the substantives powers that are conferred to Minister Hulse and not to Minister Castillo, the Constitution in my opinion is very clear, section 43 of the Constitution provides and I will read with your permission Mr. President, whenever a minister other than the Prime Minister is absent from Belize or is in Belize but by lean of the Governor General is not performing the functions of his office or by reason of illness is unable to perform those functions the Governor General may authorize some other minister to perform those functions or may appoint a member of the House of Representatives or of the Senate to be a temporary Minister in order to perform those functions and the minister may perform those functions until his authority or as the case may be his appointment is revoked by the Governor General or he vacates the office as a minister under section 44 of this Constitution.”


After the objection, the senators went into committee of the whole senate where they received advice and recommendations with respect to the legislation.


Senator Eamon Courtenay – Opposition Senator for People’s United Party


“Out of the five Bills only two were passed and three were held back because they require further work so I believe that our intervention in this regard was very effective.”


Reporter


“Can you be able to share which three have been kept back?”


Senator Eamon Courtenay – Opposition Senator for People’s United Party


“The three that have been kept back is the amendment to the Immigration Act, the amendment to the Passport Act and the Immigration and the amendment to the refugee Act.”


Reporter


“So the ones that were passed, what effects do they have?”


Senator Eamon Courtenay – Opposition Senator for People’s United Party


“Right, the ones that were passed were the Belizean Nationality Act, and the CARICOM free movement of persons Act, and the reason those two were passed was because the power that the Minister could confirm that Minister Castillo was only to sign the certificates at the end of the process whereas other legislations purported to give her power to pass statutory instruments to set new fees, to hear appeals from persons and so on and we were saying that would be unconstitutional for her to do.”


So, will the Senate face difficulties in passing the remaining Bills? According to Leader of Government business, Senator Godwin Hulse, they shouldn’t.


Senator Godwin Hulse – United Democratic Party


“So two were gone and there was no issue, the other two were just held in committee for a little clarification and among our Senators and also our Parliamentary council Mr. Edwards we have decided that we will just hold them in the Committee and until we get the necessary clarification on a point we were looking at.”


Reporter


“And where will that Clarification come from?”


Senator Godwin Hulse – United Democratic Party


“Well once the legal people have looked at it in debt then we will move forward.”


Reporter


“Do you expect that there won’t be any issues with that?”


Senator Godwin Hulse – United Democratic Party


“Absolutely not”


Prime Minister Right Honorable Dean Barrow has said that from the start, they wanted Minister of State Beverly Castillo to have the operational control in the ministry.

Share this post

This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comment.

Headline News