Going back now to actual legislative business where both sides could actually agree on something...

Also passed in the House today was an amendment to the Representation of the People's Act.

It's a simple change; the Government wants to make sure that the entire Election Day is liquor-free. And so, they have extended the restriction of the sale of liquor to make it illegal to sell it for almost 24 hours.

But, during the passage of the bill, the Leader of the Opposition made the recommendation to the Prime Minister to declare the election day a holiday, to make it easier for voters to reach the polls during these COVID-19 times.

Here's that part of the meeting:

Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"Madam Speaker, I move the second reading of a bill for an act to amend the representation of the people act chapter 9 of the substantive laws of Belize revised edition 2011 to extend the time for the restriction of the sale of intoxicating liquor on election day and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto."

Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition
"Certainly we on this side do support the whole idea of extending the time that we do not sell liquor on election day, but I'd like to throw out something or make a recommendation to the prime minister that maybe we can give some serious consideration that whenever the election is called that election day be declared a holiday in this case and I say it simply because we are in the time of Covid and some people have to go to work in Belize City and rush to Orange Walk to try to vote or so last minute you have this big rush of people trying to get to the polls. I think that because of the Covid situation that we can declare a holiday so that everybody has time to be able to go constantly during the day to vote and avoid that rush. I am appealing to you prime minister and to everyone to give that some serious consideration."

Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"The question of declaring election day a holiday has come up before, normally the private sector screams bloody murder, but I will have to consult, but I agree with what the leader of the opposition has said. This is the time of Corona Virus, these are Covid19 times, already it will be a job, a chore to get people to go to the polls, there is a fear factor, if you add to that, if you compound the problem by making it logistically difficult for the reasons that the leader outlined I think then we are not acting in a way that the circumstances demand, so I will put on record my personal agreement with his suggestion, we'll have to go to cabinet. I see my leader-elect saying yes, the minister of health is saying yes. The private sector would have heard this now or later today and if they have any representations they want to make, please do so. But I think it's a fine idea."

Again, this bill was passed by the House.

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