While the Prime Minister was curt on most of the subjects today, he was a bit more forthcoming when the media asked him about all the organizations that want representation on the People's Constitution Commission.

You've heard complaints from the National Kriol Council, youth advocates, and the UBAD Education Foundation that they should be able to make representation on behalf of the groups of Belizeans that they specifically advocate for. The PM said that the youth advocates and the Kriol Council would be added as members of the Commission but that the government does not intend to include anyone else.

He made the point that whichever group of Belizeans feel that they should be heard, they will be given a fair opportunity to consult with the entire People's Constitution Commission about their views and concerns:

Paul Lopez - Ch 5
"How many representatives can we really have? When we do, we stop and say, this is enough?"

Hon. John Briceno - Prime Minister
"I think we want to stop where we are. We, yesterday, agreed to do including two young people. They are two different organizations. Well, there's a group of people. I don't remember the name of the different organizations of young people, of which Minister Usher has asked them to name one. And then there's another one, if I am not mistaken, Young Leaders Alliance. They have been an outstanding group, so we will be asking them also to name a person. And then lastly, we agreed at that time that although the Kriol Council of Belize is not very active, they are asking that they want to put somebody in there. So, I guess we'll put somebody just because one of the issues is that everybody speaks Kriol in Belize. So, we want to put them in there. What is important is that the commission is going to have extensive consultations with everyone. So, if you are not in the commission, that does not mean that you cannot go and put your position, give your ideas, express your concerns and ideas as to what you want to see in how we can reform the Constitution and make our democracy even deeper and stronger in our country."

Alindy Marisol-Amaya - News Director, KREM News
"The Diaspora and UAF, I think the former leader of the Opposition said he supports a diaspora rep."

Hon. John Briceno - Prime Minister
"They will always have access. They can come and speak to the commission at any time."

Alindy Marisol-Amaya
"So you don't support a diaspora."

Hon. John Briceno - Prime Minister
"They can come and speak to the commission at any time."

The Press also asked him about the government's decision to appoint Anthony Chanona as Chair of the People's Constitution Commission instead of allowing the stakeholder groups to vote among themselves for a suitable chair. So here's that back and forth on that matter:

Hon. John Briceno - Prime Minister
"Everybody knows that Anthony Chanona now is highly regarded, and highly respected. I'm disappointed that the Leader of the Opposition when he wrote because when I called him, he immediately jumped at the idea and said that Anthony Chanona now is a man of high regard, great respect for him and would be the ideal person to chair the commission. Anybody you speak to that would want to be truthful would regard Anthony Chanona as a person of integrity, and somebody that would provide good would do a good job as a chair of the Commission."

Alindy Marisol Amaya - News Director, KREM News
"For such a huge role, wouldn't it have been better - and calling it the People's Constitution Commission, Wouldn't it have been better to do something other than something that seems to have been handpicked a process, hand-picking someone?"

Hon. John Briceno - Prime Minister
"Well, somebody has to hand pick them. As the government is setting it up, we, the government, is setting up a People's Constitutional Committee. And then what we have done, we have asked organizations to name members. We are not picking who to be there. Somebody has to pick and pick. Respectfully, respectfully, in the end, it is somebody who has to pick. And I, as a prime minister, felt that I need to try to find the person that I believe can best be able to move this process forward. And I believe that Anthony Chanona meets that criteria."

And turning back now to the membership of the Commission, you heard the prime Minister make the point that the government doesn't want to keep adding perpetually to the list of groups of Belizeans who are represented.

Well, two organizations purporting to speak on behalf of East Indian Belizeans sent out a press release demanding to be represented on the Commission. They are the East Indian Council of Belize and the Corozal Organization, and the Corozal Organization of East Indians.

Today, they sent out a release saying quote, "The East Indian People of Belize, according to the 2010 Census, comprises about 3.8% of the population of this nation, which is close to 10 thousand Belizeans. East Indians have made Belize their home for almost 150 years and have contributed significantly to the development of our nation…It is therefore imperative that we should be represented at the table of the People's Constitution Commission…" End quote.

Channel 7