Ninth Amendment = Will of the People 643 Support – 260 Reject Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 06 October 2011 00:00

Opponents of the Belize Constitution (Ninth Amendment) Bill have changed their point of controversy as the debate evolved. Initially they pointed to the addition of a subsection 9 to section 69 as the reason why the bill was “dangerous”. The government heard the concerns of the people and removed the controversial language to remove any doubt about the true intention of the bill. After such an act of good faith, opponents of the bill scrambled to find other talking points. They picked at the bill to try and find other language they can contest. However, none of their talking points stuck. Therefore, they decided to take a philosophical approach and started to speak about the will of the people.

Fortunately, they do not have to wonder what the will of the people is since the consultation process has provided an opportunity for the people to express their will. In Belize City hundreds of Belizeans turned out to the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall to express their views. Those present can attest to the fact that the majority in attendance supported the ninth amendment. They even wore shirts saying “Support the Ninth Amendment- Utilities for Belizeans”. However, based on official statistics, 36 people officially expressed their views and of that number 16 were in favour and 20 were against. In the Corozal District 45 people expressed their views at the consultation. 35 people were in support of the amendment and 10 people were against. 127 persons expressed their views in Orange Walk District. 58 were in support and 69 were against. 203 people expressed their views in Punta Gorda. 131 were in support and 72 were against. 178 people expressed their views in Dangriga. 132 were in support and 46 were against. 314 people expressed their views in San Ignacio/Santa Elena. 271 were in support of the bill and only 43 were against. The official numbers for the consultation in Belmopan have not been released as yet.

Amendments to the Constitution of Belize require a 90 day waiting period to pass. The government uses the 90 day waiting period for a consultation process. During that consultation process the House sub-committee is tasked with listening to the will of the people. So far, 643 Belizeans have come forward in support of the Belize Constitution (Ninth Amendment) Bill and 260 have come forward to oppose it.

Citizens can also express their views by writing to the Clerk of the National Assembly.