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Editorial
We’re not ready for the 13th Senator Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 16 October 2014 00:00

“The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a plan to raise the federal debt limit and cut government spending, ending a bitter partisan stalemate that had threatened to plunge the nation into default and destabilize the world economy.” wrote Lori Montgomery of the Washington Post. JANET HOOK and KRISTINA PETERSON of the Wall Street Journal wrote, “A potentially crippling U.S. debt default was averted late Wednesday, as Congress passed legislation to end a political showdown that had rattled financial markets, splintered the Republican Party and showcased Washington dysfunction.” This was after an agreement could not be reached on the 2014 Budget Debt ceiling of the United States of America.

In Belize while we have similarities to the US’ system of Government, we also have differences. Our Senate consists of twelve members and is constituted as follows:

1. Hon. Marco Pech (the President), Hon. Godwin Hulse, Hon. Juliet Thimbriel, Hon. Charles Gibson, Hon. Lisel Alamilla and Hon. Marconi Sosa are the six government representatives.
2. Hon. Mark Lizarraga represents the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Belize Business Bureau.
3. Hon. Noel Leslie represents the Council of Churches and the Evangelical Association of Churches.
4. Hon. Ray Davis represents the National Trade Union Congress of Belize and Civil Society Steering Committee.
5. Hon. Lisa Shoman, Hon. Anthony Sylvester and Hon. Jason Patrick Andrews represent the Opposition People’s United Party.

As is, there is a balance between the Government and the other groups which are represented. If at any point there is a stale mate, the President’s vote serves as a tie breaker. Some time ago it was contemplated to introduce into the senate a 13th Senator but after careful consideration and after seeing how the members opposing government did so just for opposing sake, the idea was scrapped.

In 2011 a group proclaiming to represent civil society appointed Greg Choc as the 13th Senator designate. They even took government to court over the matter and in June of 2011 the court ruled in Government’s favor. Now the thing to consider here is that had Greg Choc been appointed the 13th Senator there would have been a shift of balance of power in the Senate and that shift would have been in favor of the non-governmental members. Seeing the current state of affairs and now in hindsight considering all the opposition that has come from some of the non-governmental members in the senate, we can hazard a guess as to what will happen if we do have a 13th Senator the likes of Greg Choc. What happened in the United States of America would be common place events in Belize. There would be a stale-mate every time the Senate meets. It somehow feels that the non-governmental members are intent on usurping the elected government’s authority to administrate our nation.There is evidence that one senator in particular opposes everything brought before the Senate no matter what it is. If they want a 13th senator the suggestion will then be let all 13 of them be elected Senators.