The People’s United Party has appointed three new opposition senators who will take their respective places in the House of Representatives. Of the three recent appointments made, one includes San Pedro’s very own Honorable Eiden Salazar.
In an interview with The San Pedro Sun shortly after the announcement made on Tuesday, April 22nd, Senator Salazar stated that he is humbled by the new announcement. “I must say that I am humbled and at the same time happy to be given the opportunity to serve the country as a Senator and a member of the House of Representatives. I have always done a lot of service work for this community and work for this country and I will do full my duties as a Senator to the best of my ability.”
When asked if being a Senator for a battered People’s United Party (PUP) is a challenge, Salazar said that he is ready for the challenges ahead. “Yes, it is a challenge but I am not afraid of challenges. I have served this community in several capacities and being a Senator for the PUP will enable me to fight the causes for the Belizean people including the residents of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. I am therefore ready for the challenges ahead.”
After weeks of consultation with PUP supporters, Executive Committees and caucuses of the PUP, the announcement was finally made, stated a press release issued by the Blue Machine. The release went on to say that the PUP Party Leader, Johnny Briceño is confident that the choices reflect the new policy of inclusiveness of the PUP, ensuring a wider scope of representation for party supporters countrywide.
The other two senators are Corona Villafranco from the Stann Creek District and Hector Silva Senior from the Cayo District. All three Opposition Senators will be sworn in the first sitting of the Senate scheduled for Tuesday, April 29th.
Senator Salazar is no stranger to the community of San Pedro Ambergris Caye and to most Belizeans. Salazar graduated from San Pedro Junior High school in 1991 and after furthering his education entered the noble teaching profession in 1993. Salazar became involved in politics from a very young age and in 1997 he ran on the PUP ticket for the Town Council elections and was successful. During his term in office as an elected Town Council official, Salazar became Deputy Mayor from 1998 to 2000. Salazar was commissioned as a Justice of the Peace in 1999 and during that same year, in August of 1999, Salazar became the owner of the first radio station in San Pedro Town. His dedication and arduous work in serving the community earn him the title of Senior Justice of the Peace in 2004 and he is a proud member of the San Pedro Lions Club.
The House of Representatives is equivalent to the British House of Commons. The Senate is the counterpart of the House of Lords. It was one of the new features of the 1963 Constitution which was retained in the 1981 Constitution.
The Senate comprises twelve members and one President. The President presides over the meetings of the Senate and is elected from among the membership or nominated from outside the Senate. Each member is appointed by the governor General with the advice of different persons and/or organization as follows:
- Six members with the advice of the Prime Minister.
- Three members with the advice of the Leader of the Opposition.
- One member with the advice of the Belize Council of Churches and Evangelical Association of Churches.
- One member with the advice of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Belize Business Bureau.
- One member with the advice of the National Trade Union Congress and the Civil Society Steering Committee.
Besides debating and confirming Bills passed by the House of Representatives, the Senate has other functions including:
- Authorizing the ratification of any treaty by the Government of Belize, including any treaty for the final settlement of the territorial dispute between Belize and the Republic of Guatemala.
- Approving the establishment in Belize of any new military base of operations for any foreign military forces after the 15th day of January, 2002.
- Approving the appointment of an Ambassador, a High Commissioner, the Chief Justice, a Justice of the Supreme Court, a Justice of the Court of Appeal, the Contractor General and the Ombudsman.