Constitutional amendments to enshrine government ownership of utilities
This Friday, the government is convening a sitting of the House of Representatives. It is a special sitting at which the Prime Minister will get House approval to change the constitution to entrench control of utilities. Firstly, having nationalized and then re-nationalized Telemedia in a span of twenty-two months and nationalized Belize Electricity Limited a month ago, through its super majority in the House, government will amend the supreme law of the land for it to “at all times have majority ownership and control of public utilities.” The remaining wording of the proposed amendment is worrisome. It reads that the Bill will “clarify the provisions relating to the amendment of the Constitution and to safeguard the independence and integrity of the legislative process.” From what the Prime Minister said on Wednesday, he will not only legislate ownership of utilities, but is going further to secure protection against any legal challenge to the ownership of utilities. Secondly, it’s the ninth amendment to the constitution that is being proposed, and organizations such as the Human Rights Commission are wary and say that constitutional changes should not be carried out as a knee jerk reactions.