Amendment would give unyielding power to any ruling political party
Arthur Saldivar’s objections were heralded by Hubert Elrington, another attorney that often speaks out on constitutional issues. Elrington sat at his side in a joint interview and put the proposed amendment into further context. He said that if passed, the National Assembly is going to have power that will exceed that of the constitution. Whoever has the majority, whether the United Democratic Party or the People’s United Party, would be able to make any law that would go unchallenged while in power.
Hubert Elrington, Attorney
“Your liberties and freedoms are at stake. This particular amendment now puts the life, liberty and freedom of every single Belizean at stake—all of our freedoms, all of our lives, all of our liberties are now being put at stake. This absolute madness.”
“This is not about B.T.L., B.E.L., or WASA?”
“This has nothing to do with anything beside removing constitutional government and creating government by the will of the people who control the national assembly. It is no longer the constitution that will be sovereign; it is whoever controls the national assembly that—you will have now parliamentary sovereignty.”
“And we’ve known from the past that not all governments may have had or done things in the best interest of the people.”
Arthur Saldivar, Attorney
“And this is the thing Jose. In England there is parliamentary sovereignty, but when we talk about the English Westminster model and parliamentary sovereignty there, you have two houses—the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The way the debate is structured in England, it allows for mass participation and input on both sides. Here is Belize; you have an autocratic regime taking over every five years. Whoever is in the majority has no duty or responsibility to gain consensus from those in opposition. So this is the situation that basically allows for one side to put his position forward and to advance that with impunity. In this regard now, it is being taken a step further. We are not talking about subsidiary legislation, which comes under the constitution; we’re talking about creating a new animal within the constitution to render the constitution itself null and void by act of parliament. Nobody went to the polls with that in mind, nobody voted for that.”
Beginning on Wednesday, our morning show will be featuring a series of experts on the constitution and the proposed ninth amendment.