BELMOPAN, Cayo District, Thurs. Oct. 20, 2016–The administration of Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow has finally signed a commencement order to give effect to the provisions relating to the appointment of a 13th senator.
The appointment of the 13th senator was promised in the campaign manifesto of the United Democratic Party (UDP) leading up to the 2012 general and municipal elections.
However, one year after being elected into office, PM Barrow and the UDP had abandoned that promise.
In November 2013, when Amandala asked if he would still appoint the 13th Senator, PM Barrow told our newspaper that he wouldn’t, as the Senate would then be controlled by the Opposition and non-government senators.
“They would have the power to paralyze the Government. I am very sorry. I was the one who, in fact, put that in a UDP manifesto; this Government pushed it forward in terms of constitutional reform, but I came to realize that it’s a wonderful ideal, but in practice, it will make no sense,” he said.
It was Frederick Douglas who said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand,” and four years later the Belize National Teachers’ Union would demand the appointment of the 13th senator, and the Barrow administration would concede.
While Prime Minister Barrow has signed the commencement order for the senator’s appointment, it will take another three months for that senator to be installed.
According to a press release dated today, Thursday, “This order takes effect on 20th January, 2017. The three months will be used to facilitate the necessary consultations with the NGOs to work out the mechanism for selection of the thirteenth senator.”
The 13th senator would then be appointed, almost five years after that appointment had been promised.