Meeting of the House of Representatives
Orange Walk Central, Party Leader Hon. John Briceño:
I have just received news that the Supreme Court has just denied to stay the termination of the thirty six Port of Belize staff and as well as the interim reinstatement for 28 days. I don’t think we should be in this kind of position that they can coldly be fired by text. There wasn’t even the decency to be called. Years of committed service ended abruptly with a text. How can the PBL be allowed to target and decimate a Union in this day and age, in the year 2020?
If PBL is allowed to get away with this, in effect we are saying to hell with the Union movement in this country.
Unions have rights, rights that they fought for. In many instance they gave their blood and their life.
This poses the fundamental question of our times. Who are we? And, what are we all about?
How can any right thinking government send the GSU after peaceful protesters?
(Towerhill protest reference) I was giving an interview to LoveFm when a member of the GSU decided to throw a canister of tear gas right between my legs. We know the modus operandi of the GSU. They took Marisol Amaya and throw her like a sack of potatoes. Jules had to protect his own and the rest of the media went in to protect her.
(BSI protest reference) Again the same UDP government send the GSU at our peaceful canefarmers. It is during that demonstration that Atanasio Gutierrez was murdered. And to this day there has been no justice for the family. NO one was held responsible.
The GSU must be disbanded and an official investigation launched to determine the simple question, who gave the order?
Madame Speaker, let us stand up in solidarity and protect out workers.
Freetown, Hon. Francis Fonseca:
The debate lies when do we reopen and exactly what criteria before we can safely and responsibly open our schools.
When we are talking about the opening of schools we are talking about one third of the national population of our country. This is a very serious undertaking and we have to get it right. The implications of getting it wrong can be very serious for the public health of the entire country.
The BIG concern is that they place too much burden on principals and teachers of schools. They have been tasked with finding the supplies and finding a solution to all these challenges laid out in the guidelines set out by the Ministry of Education. That has to be corrected.
If the Ministry is asking the schools to be prepared for August 10 then there must be resources to support that effort. The government has to find these resources somewhere if they insist on opening on August 10.
Already burdened Principals and teachers are asked to monitor health of students and to provide psychological support.
The whole Covid-19 experience has exposed the inequalities in our societies in a glaring way. That is true in the Education system as well. Some school could cope with the technology but then the poorest among us do not have access to technology.
Cayo South, Hon. Julius Espat:
The Honourable member from Collet keeps insulting the teachers. I think he will be reminded of that in the next General Elections.
We have a culvert that washed away on the 18thof June in the village of St. Matthews, Madame Speaker, the engineer did a wonderful temporary action to make the bridge passable that same night. The concern are beside the culvert or the highway. We had serious flooding. We have Gonzalo at this point in time. It puts that concern so much more important. The temporary fix has gone no further.
It has nothing to do with the engineers it has to do with policy makers. Maybe the minister of works can give us a response, why is it, that a month has passed and, no serious work has been done.
I am concerned that the member from Belize Rural North is more concerned with culinary activities instead of concentrating on what NEMO should be doing. They should be on high alert.
Caribbean Shores, Hon. Kareem Musa:
I am happy to report that he (Rt. Honourable Said Musa) is already back at home and in the country. He is improving significantly with each passing day. We are thankful to all Belizean people for their prayers and the concern for the member of Fort George.
The inexplicable failure on the part of the persons responsible to take action when it comes to the many illegal acts that took place in the Immigration department between the years of 2011 and 2013.
Even in that report, the chairman laments that many people are waiting to see the results of this report when in fact the Auditor General report contained irregular acts that warranted criminal investigation and prosecution but no action has been taken by this government, Madame Speaker.
When you talk about a sanctimonious self-righteous individual who for many year spoke against corruption but he has yet to go to a Police station to make a criminal report on all of the instances of wrong doing. I am sure he is taking the lead from his Prime Minister who has an incredible track record of defending corruption in his administration starting with Elvin Penner.
The Prime Minister said that there is a difference between legal guilt and factual guilt and that he doesn’t think that Elvin Penner deserves to be criminally prosecuted.
This government has a rich legacy of bullying. They bully public officers, farmers, tour guides and yesterday they shot rubber bullets at the stevedores.
When the PUP is in government we will take action against all these individuals found to be doing wrongdoing in this (UDP) administration.
Orange Walk South: Hon. Jose Mai
Covid-19 is real and we do not know how long.
There is a great difference between when we lock down San Pedro and when we lock down San Felipe & Blue Creek. San Pedro has banks and other establishments but SF/BC does not. We should never ever again lock down a community and forget about it. Not even cattle are like that. You don’t treat people like that. There was no plan. The SF/BC was a nightmare. Every lockdown must have a plan of action—food, water, access to money.
I want to applaud Superintendent of Police Cocom for his professionalism in dealing with the situation as best as possible.
Stann Creek West, Hon. Rodwell Ferguson:
I remember when he was away the PM said that the lands department is a hotbed of corruption. There is no control in the ministry of lands. Land Inspectors, Village council chairmen, Standard Bearers, Caretakers have all become the Ministers of Lands. They ask for a payment or portion and they can guarantee that they land will be yours. Under our Lands Act only the Minster of Land can sign on to any lease or title in the country.
That 2000 acres in front of Santa Cruz with an emerging community which will become a town someday should be held for the people of Santa Cruz.
The people in the south will get angry and revolt. I want to see some immediate action to unjust practices in the South.
Lake Independence, Hon. Cordel Hyde:
Brads Gaming Group Limited not to be confused with the previous version Brads Gaming Company Limited. I can believe this; I am flabbergasted that we have approved this very profitable company just a couple months before elections. The audacity to approve this hundreds of millions just before elections. At what points does common decency prevail? We are talking about a 10 year contract. Some experts surmise that it is in an excess of 20 million of profits a year. Some other suggest it is more like 30 million since there is a lot of under reporting. It is obscene the amount of money. Yet we are here to borrow money. We hear about cuts. We have to embarrass ourselves going around begging for money.
Millions of dollars are sucked out of the pockets of our poor. That money should not go into private pockets. If we were in government we would send all our children for free. Build houses. Build classes.
We do not even know who own the company. We are forgoing millions of dollars for a few people while we are borrowing money on the back of the majority of people.
Right now people are choosing to buy there medicine or send their children to school; they are choosing to buy their medicine or buy their food.
Toledo West, Hon. Oscar Requena:
The hotbed of corruption has not cooled down. It is so hot we need the fire engine. Land is a valuable asset. It is a birthright. We should own a farmland or house lot. Status does not matter. Under the UDP only the good UDPs can get land. The majority cannot get one. The Chairman of Jacintoville has asked the Ministry of Natural Resources that they should cease and desist in issuing land in their village. The community does not have access to their own land. During the UDP convention it seems that this land was in a free give away. Minister of Land, you cannot overlook the majority of people for a selected handful.
Toledo East, Hon. Mike Espat:
Why do they call it ‘Vital’ Statistics. It is essential. People that have been voting for 20 years and then suddenly they are dumped off the voters list. Most of the voters in Conejo does not have access to the VS department.
Scalping is happening at the Vital Statistics. I have seen a birth certificate be a thousand dollars. Why do we have to put our people through this? People who want to contest the General Elections for the UDP are getting involved in this. People who were not even born in Belize might have access to this corruption in the Vital Statistics Office.
Corozal Southeast, Hon. Florencio Marin, Jr.:
This week we had a back and forth between a Minister and a grieving mother. We all know that a horrible incident occurred and an investigation that has not fully come out.
I would rather that we wait for the full investigation.
The security forces are putting their whole body and mind in their service to their country. Our security services need some serious attention. No politics belong is this one and the government should do right for those families.
Cayo Northeast, Hon. Landy Habet:
It is four months now that this government found it necessary to close to cattle and pigs trade between and Guatemala. Once it was the chairman of Bullet Tree. Others say it was the member from Cayo North and others say that it went to the Prime Minister.
We have been selling Cattle, Pigs and Corn to Guatemala for many, many years. People had to buy feed but if they cannot sell how can they buy.
You call it informal trade but what do you call the Prensalibre that comes in and is sold all over the country. The cashew vendors are also informal. The shoe shiners are also informal but they come.
Confined animals had to be taken outside while there was no grass. It was all difficult for our farmers.
When the ‘informal’ trade went through Arenal and NOT Bullet Tree some two weeks after Bullet tree was stopped. Guatemala did not stop it. So who stopped it?
Now due to the glut in the number of animals and availability of grass, the price has plummeted.
People in Central America and Guatemala need a lot of food. We can produce. All the food we can produce cannot suffice how much they need. All that can improve our economy.