BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Aug. 15, 2019– It is being reported by some sources that the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) will be naming two new senators very shortly.
Although it has not been confirmed as yet, we were told that Senator Valarie Woods will be replaced by newly endorsed standard bearer for the Mesopotamia constituency, Belize City Councilor, Dr. Candice Pitts; and Senator Paul Thompson, the PUP’s Albert constituency standard bearer, will be replaced by the Dangriga, Sarawee and Hope Creek standard bearer, Dr. Louis Zabaneh.
In the case of Senator Woods, her abstention vote on the International Court of Justice referendum law that the Barrow Administration passed to get around Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin’s injunction which had stopped the ICJ referendum from being held, appeared to some in the PUP as an act of bad faith, because she had departed from the position that her party had taken at its parliamentary caucus, a position she had agreed with.
Senator Woods, apart from voting contrary to the party’s position, dared the party with her expression on the Senate floor that if her head should roll, “then let the chips fall where they may,” comment.
Dr. Pitts, who was swept into City Hall by gaining the most votes in the City Council elections last March, went on the offensive against her party when she was blocked from running in the Port Loyola constituency.
Having now secured a constituency to run in general elections, Dr. Pitts and the PUP will have to decided if she wants the Senator position badly enough that she would resign from City Hall, which would also trigger a by-election to fill the vacancy her departure would create.
Under the City Council Act, it states at 7-(1) that: No person shall be eligible for election as a member of the Council, or having been elected, shall sit or vote on the Council, who: (j) is or becomes a member of the National Assembly or of any commission established by or under the Belize Constitution .”
The PUP and Dr. Pitts will have to decide if a seat on the Senate is worth the hassle of calling a by-election, or if the national prominence of being in the Senate would help the first time candidate for national office.