BELIZE CITY, Mon. July 20, 2020– The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry leapt to the defense of the Business Senator, Mark Lizarraga, after Wednesday’s proceedings in the National Assembly. During the debate on the appointment of attorney Estevan Perera as the new chair of the Elections and Boundaries Department (EBD), Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte asserted that Senator Lizarraga’s lack of support for Perera stems from his (Lizarraga’s) political affiliations, which make him inclined to disagree with any motion made by the government:
“I heard Senator Lizarraga say he can’t vote for Mr. Perera because of his voting record in the Senate; he votes too much for the government, for the UDP whenever he is representing here. Well, that would make Senator Lizarraga not qualified because he always votes against the government if you are looking at [his] voting record. Let’s call this for what this is. The government is putting up somebody, and you just have to object to everything this government does. That is the stone-cold fact, and it is irresponsible for people to do that,” commented Peyrefitte.
Lizarraga quickly rebutted and denounced the Attorney General’s statement, and called upon Peyrefitte to present his (Lizarraga’s) voting records, to prove his stance.
While this was not done, the Belize Chamber of Commerce (BCCI) still felt it necessary to defend Senator Lizarraga. In a press release dated July 16, 2020, the Chamber made note of their concern about the disrespectful treatment toward the Business Senator and classified the statements made against him as “false, malicious accusations.”
The statement goes on to remark that despite Senator Lizarraga not receiving ample notice about Senate meetings and documents to be debated, he never fails to consult with his constituents (including the BCCI) before making an appearance in the Senate.
The Chamber also stated that they actually do keep records of how each appointed Business Senator votes in the Senate, and contrary to Peyrefitte’s notion, Hon. Lizarraga has “consistently voted in the best interest of the constituents he represents, and not along partisan political lines.”
In closing, the BCCI, in the final paragraph of the press release, went on record to state that a vote by the Business Senator against a government motion does not indicate that he is aligned with the Opposition. In fact, Senator Lizarraga evidently received a “mandate” from the BCCI to vote against the appointment of the new Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries due to Perera’s political affiliations.
“The business community feels strongly that the Chairman of this Commission should be independent and should not have a record of political appointments or affiliations. The Senators appointed by the other social partners, save for the Senator who represents Churches, share this view,” the BCCI said.