THINK ABOUT IT

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THREE NEW SENATORS

Congratulations are in order to Dr. Louis Zabaneh, Michel Chebat and Isabel Bennett.

This is a powerful team.

The Senate is a rubber-stamp as the opposition party is only allowed three members. There are representatives for the labour unions, the business community, and the N.G.O community. The government has six die-hard UDPs as senators and the president. A section of the churches are represented but satan has been able to contaminate the church appointee who invariably votes in favor of the government and corrupt practices.

The Constitutional Opposition’s new team will bring a high quality of discussions which will keep the nation fully informed.

HOME INVASION AND RAPE

A week ago another home invasion took place. This time in Belize City. Two animals were able to get into a home early in the morning. Only one female was at home. They started ramsacking the place.

One of them grabbed the woman and dragged her in the bedroom. Terrified she started begging for her life. The low-down creature used a knife at her throat and raped her.

After wards he threatened her that if she ever said anything he would return and kill her. It was morning and she could clearly identify the persons, especially the rapist. Despite her ordeal and death threats, this brave woman reported this horrible crime. Her identification was clear and detailed enough for the Police to capture the rapist.

The woman is thinking of relocating, maybe even leave Belize. If so the rapist will get out of jail on bail and eventually walk free of the charge. He will continue to rape other women. A rapist is like a murder who is emboldened when he commits a crime and is able to get away with it. Thieves, robbers and burglars also have this attitude.

Part of fighting crime is to make sure the police arrest the correct persons and gather enough evidence to obtain a conviction. Cases like this one should be heard within months as the longer it takes the more likelihood it will fall apart.

On Another matter we are informed that a home-invasion crew has been operating out of Hattieville and have been successfully carrying out their invasions in Cayo, Belmopan and up North. We are told of three successful home invasions and in one case eighteen thousand in cash and jewelry and, in another, a rape was committed.

It is not every home invasion that is reported. Some victims, especially where women are raped, and threatened with death, prefer to suffer in silence, rather than have their names put on police charge sheets and become public.

SERIOUS FALLOUT

There is an ongoing backlash against the Perdomo loan write-off, the butane monopoly and the 90 million dollars tax evasion. These are the topics of talk in the streets and homes of the country. For the ordinary citizens it sounds too incredible to be true.

Why not collect the taxes and use the funds to reduce the cost of petroleum and in return reduce the cost of living? People are hurting out here. The cost of living is just too high for thousands of Belizeans. Life was never this cruel to poor, innocent Belizeans.

Why not collect the taxes from the rich land owners and subsidize fishermen and farmers so food can be cheaper? How could the government so blatantly be helping certain rich landowners and offer no relief to poor families and the struggling population.

What a lie, to tell Belizeans that the government cannot collect the 90 million dollars worth of taxes when there are easy ways to collect taxes. Who doesn’t pay are taken to court. If they cannot pay, a portion of the land is forfeited and auctioned to cover the taxes. It is an unbelievable act of arrogance and abuse of power which is taking place. These politicians are really out of control.

There is another angle to this ‘facey’ move. This type of authoritarian law is a political move. Such a law allowing big landowners to pocket many millions by not paying anything for all the years of arrears is only done when a government is planning early elections.

Such a massive abuse of the legislative process is not the result of humanitarian or altruistic motives. This is hustling and this too is corruption.Please note that there is no list of farmers whose crops have failed from an unkind act of nature. No list or explanation as to why certain persons are being favored in a land where poverty and hard times are on the rise.

General elections are not far away.

It won’t be in November next year. It won’t be in September next year.

We don’t think general elections will be after Patrick Faber and John Saldivar split the UDP following their leadership battle in February 2020.

To repeat general elections is not far off. We will see if certain section of poor voters can still be bribed come Election Day. The word needs to get out, take their money and vote them out.

ORANGE WALK IS ANGRY

Residents of Orange Walk Town and surrounding areas are angry over the massive government negligence that has led to the poisoning of the New River.

It is the worst river poisoning to take place. Each day thousands of dead fish are floating up on the river banks. Last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, some three to five tons of dead fishes were carted away to reduce the horrible smell now polluting the atmosphere. This is in addition to the horrible toxic stench coming from poisoned river.

Given the lousy governance of the country it is really no surprise that the environmental officials have completely messed up. Their excuse that the lack of rain is part of the problem is not acceptable.

They knew and they know that the sugar factory as well as other smaller entities have been engaged in wholescale dumping of waste and chemicals in the river. Failure to carry out monthly inspections is a failure of the Ministry and the Minister.

This crisis is not a sudden, over-night problem.

This is a massive buildup of months and years of dumping in sections of the river which was already under siege from ongoing dumping. Now that the quantities of toxic chemicals has overwhelmed the river, the river has been killed. Long areas of New River is dead and so is everything that lives in it, from tiny fishes to the awesome crocodiles. This is what governmental negligence looks like. This is the result of the political incompetence of the Minister and his government.

HOUSE ARREST

An insidious operation is underway. The Police have been secretly writing down information against persons whom they are targeting as gang members. These persons are then charged and taken to court. Secret information should always be suspect.

Most young men who are charged plead guilty and are fined two or three thousand dollars. They do so because to plead not guilty means they are denied bail and sent to jail which is a dangerous place as many real gang members are there.

The problem with pleading guilty is that on the next occasion they are taking to court for gang-related offences, they will automatically get long prison sentences. This they are not aware of. A few plead not guilty as they know they are not gang members.

Last Friday, there were three persons who applied to the Supreme Court for bail having been remanded by Magistrates separately on allegations of being a member of a gang.

The Judge who presided at the bail hearing last Friday was a judge who normally sides with prosecution when the prosecution opposes bail for citizens. Last Friday the prosecutor was a known objector to bail. She uses every trick in and outside of the book to keep citizens in jail. Her favorite trick is to tell the judge she needs more time to deal with the applications. This way several persons are sent back to jail for another week or two.

Another trick is to tell the Judge she will be opposing an application and will need to submit her arguments in writing. Those persons are then sent back to jail another week or two.

A third trick is to bring selected statements from the Police to show the Judge there is a “prima facie” case against the person, meaning that on the surface it looks like there is a case. The Judger then uses this prima facie trick to deny bail, this is unfair.

The Judge should then deny bail.

Bail is a right. Every persons is entitled to bail. It is at the trial stage that the question of the innocence or guilt is the issue to be resolved.

It is unfair to use police statement at bail hearings. Bail concerns whether a person is a flight risk and whether he or she will try to interfere with witnesses. A Judge will also be concerned if a person applying is a habitual offender.

Last Friday, the same prosecution lady from the DPP office made some really weird and disturbing submissions in order to keep persons in prison.

She submitted that such applicants for bail must be kept in prison for six months, as under the Rules for a trial, a trial should commence no later than six months (Everyone knows that trials drag on much longer). The Judge agreed not to grant bail but refused to go along with the six months request. Instead he ordered that the person can re-apply at the end of September if no disclosure was given.

In a second hearing, the Judge again refused the objections and gave bail on stringent conditions. One of the conditions was a curfew from 9:00 pm to 6:00am. Dissatisfied, the prosecutor stood up and insisted that the person be placed on HOUSE ARREST. Even the Judge looked appalled.

House arrest is for Palestinians in occupied Gaza and West Bank by the brutal Israeli government. Or by the Nazis under Hitler.

House arrest, it’s frightening. That is really frightening.

Ed Note: The views expressed above are of the writer and not necessarily those of the PUP.