<iframe width=”243″ height=”182″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/r6ntQvq1PKY” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>We’ve heard a lot over the past few years about the 13th Senator that was promised by Prime Minister Dean Barrow. However, that never came to fruition after his “change of heart” on the issue; but what about the 12th senator? Last Friday, only 11 senators were sworn in at the inaugural Senate Meeting held in Belmopan. The missing senator is the one for the Unions and Civil Society. Now, viewers may recall that the General Council of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize voted to remove Ray Davis as its Senator in late August; but tensions began in March of this year after Davis abstained from voting on the Petrocaribe Loans Act when it was first passed into law on March 30. There was public chiding of Davis by the NTUCB who says it would have expected and wanted Davis to vote “no”. However, the NTUCB’s dismissal of Ray Davis as Senator was not as easy as they would have liked as Senator Davis also represented the Civil Society Steering Committee (CSSC) and WIN Belize which issued statements saying that they should also have a say in who is their senator and whether he can be dismissed or not. Well, all of that struggle over the dismissed senator has now carried over to the choosing of a new senator following the general elections and has caused the Union and Civil Society to still be without a representative in the Senate. We spoke to President of the NTUCB, Marvin Mora,
who told us that WIN and NTUCB held meetings on Monday and held earnest discussions aimed at forming a working committee to get the process of nominating and selecting a senator started.
Marvin Mora, President of the NTUCB: We have kind of an update because as you probably know when Belize had not made a decision and even though we had put forward a recommendation for a person to replace the senator that we had there. We basically did not get anything. This Monday we had a meeting with them, the congress met with them and we had an earnest conversation, and basically both of us agreed that we need to move the process forward. So one of the things that we are doing, we have an agreement that we are going to form a working committee 2 members from the CXC and 2 members from the NCB. Basically their job will be to establish simple process in regards to how do we remove select, well nominate and select a senator.
Viewers may recall that the NTUCB had already made a recommendation for who the new Senator should be after they dismissed Davis. That person, they said, is Dr. Sharmayne Saunders. Mora says they have made it clear that they do not want Ray Davis to represent them again but they still have to work with WIN at an agreement for a new senator.
Marvin Mora, President of the NTUCB: We still have to work out in a synchronized manner so that both of us can come to an agreement of the person that can do a roll of representing of, and then in a sense. We have mentioned the name of Dr. Sanders. Well we don’t know what the CSTU will do because Dr. Sanders seems to be a very logical choice for them. As in it actually she’s a member of WHIM and by that definition she would also be member of NCSB, which would be the larger body of all the networks connected. So we don’t know what they will decide but we hope that logic prevails and that we can move the process forward quickly.
Carolyn Reynolds, Executive Director of WIN Belize has said that while WIN would consider Dr. Saunders as senator, they would like to have a more open nomination process. She also said that that 13th Senator idea that the Prime Minister has since dismissed would actually be ideal so that Civil Society and Unions could each have its own senator. That may be an unlikely occurrence, unless the Prime Minister has another change of heart, however, in the meantime, WIN is supposed to submit two names for the working committee today and according to Mora, they have about two weeks to work up a draft that they can utilize to move forward in selecting their senator.