After the division of votes on the 12th Amendment Bill was reconciled, 24 parliamentarians - or 77% - supported its passage, which means that the bill now goes to the Senate.

The accompanying piece of draft legislation makes way for is the Senior Courts Bill of 2022. In this proposed reform of the judiciary, new positions will be identified, and the administration of the judges in both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal will take place by one office, the Chief Justice.

It's supposed to be the first step in a total reform that would be complete when the judiciary gets its own complex to house all the courtrooms and office spaces.

Opposition Leader Shyne Barrow was among the parliamentarians that didn't support the 12 Amendment and this bill, and here's his verbal sparring with his government colleagues:

Francis Fonseca - Minister of Education
"I move the second reading of a bill to repeal and replace the Supreme Court of Judicature Act, Chapter 91 of the substantive laws of the Revised Edition 2020, and the Court of Appeal Act, Chapter 90 of the Substantive Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2020, to provide for new positions within the judiciary, to assist in the functioning and administration of the senior courts, and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. I propose to move further amendments to this bill, which have already been circulated to Members, Madam Speaker."

Moses "Shyne" Barrow - Leader of the Opposition
"The Opposition cannot support this bill for the mere fact that the Judiciary, as currently configured, is woefully underfunded, and this is not political hyperbole. None other than the former Acting Chief Justice, in her annual presentation, complained about the lack of funding for the Judiciary and how it compromises their ability to provide justice for all Belizeans. I believe even Madam Justice Shoman has been soon complaining about not having basic things. We thank the Americans. I see they just donated a half-a-million dollars in equipment. But this government has not taken seriously its promise to properly fund the Judiciary. It was a part of their Plan Belize, and they have not delivered on it. Madam Speaker. So, to understand what this reconfiguration means, it's not as simple as having the now-Chief Justice oversee all of the other courts. It costs. This has more of a demand for spending than our current configuration. And if we cannot properly finance our Judiciary, as [it] stands, how can we undertake to reconfigure where it will cost more than we are currently spending?"

Kareem Musa - Minister of Home Affairs/PUP Area Rep. Caribbean Shores
"I have listened, Madam Speaker, to the Leader of the Opposition, the Member for Mosop., speak to the cost of this type of undertaking. And I wholeheartedly agree with him because I sat on that side of the House condemning the fact that we have underfunded our judiciary for thirteen long years. And let me say, Leader of the Opposition, thankfully, we have records When we come to this Honorable House next year for our budget debate, I am hoping that you give the same type of response when we increase the budget to allow for greater efficiency within our Judiciary."

John Briceno - Prime Minister
"Do you know that the judiciary, the judges had no health insurance? Your prime minister, back then, was there for thirteen years. They spent $1 billion. But they couldn't think about 'Oh, we have to fund the judiciary.' And now, you come here like a hypocrite to say, 'Oh, you have to fund it two years after we get into government. Two years, when you gave us a bankrupt government, when we are fixing the finances of this country, fixing the economy, now, you want us to -two years - to be able to come and say, 'Oh, fund the judiciary overnight, when your government had thirteen years to do that."

Channel 7