PUP Sound Bites at House Sitting

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House of Representatives on September 25, 2020

Orange Walk Central, Party Leader and Leader of the Opposition the Hon. John Briceño:

“Yesterday I got a bunch of payments from the Ministry of Human Development. These payments were to the Minister and to members of his family totaling 1.5 million dollars…I see one member of the minister’s family getting 90 payments for rent in just a little over a five year span. What is most interesting is that the Minister also got 86 payments for rent totaling 568 thousand 859 dollars and eighty five cents. The other family member got 586 thousand 359 dollars and fifty five cents. Now what I find strange in the payments from the ministry is that it is all for rentals. What building or what it does not state…In November 9, 2016, Jules Vasquez asked if the Ministry for Human Development renting from its Minister? The Honorable Member then said, ‘the building is for my daughter.’ Now we find out that the same Ministry is renting from him.”

Hon. Kareem Musa, Caribbean Shores: “It will not be tolerated any longer. We need to stand up with our women in the military. We need to stand up with our women in the Police Department. And while it is primarily against women it is not exclusive, there are instances of abuse against males. The signal nonetheless needs to be sent today from this honourable House is that we will be cracking down and allowing the police department to do their job and the DPP to do their job against those offenders within the military and the Police Department.”

“That matter has never been debated in this house. My friends for Lake Independence and Cayo South have raised it and today I raise it on the adjournment…He(PM) said in an interview, ‘if my son is awarded a contract, I don’t know what that has to do with the price ah rice.’ On another topic then, since I am not allowed to speak on the BRADS BOLEDO CONTRACT…His son is affiliated with the awarding of that contract and he should have known, as the Minister of Finance.”

“Let me thank the good people of Caribbean Shores for entrusting me the past five year to be their representative. I am grateful and humbled. It is my hope that we will be on that side in a few days. The topic I want to talk about after having five years to reflect, is the issue of nepotism in government. The Prime Minister once said ‘nepotism is NOT corruption.’ Every year since I have been here the bill is five million dollars plus in legal and administrative fees…I have seen wire transfers for up to five million dollars to brother Denys and other family members who are lawyers have benefited from this administration giving them private legal contracts. None of those were ever put out to tender or else I could have applied and got one of the jobs. Who knows? (PM interjects that Musa does not qualify.) I don’t qualify, my name is not Barrow he is right.”

Cayo Northwest, Hon. Landy Habet: “I want to thank the good people of Cayo Northeast and who I am certain will return me as their representative. I am seeing negative developments in the Cattle Industry…an oxymoron. In Cayo the watermelons went down to 10cents a pound, this is unsustainable. A problem with the other side is Solipsism. There is an oversupply of Cattle which would have otherwise been exported to Guatemala. The government stopped it. Now in the subsequent month farmers will have serious problems but the PUP will make sure that the cattle is sold.

On August 11, 27 head of cattle were exported and this will not happen again since they lost money. The profit margin was 98.50. That is not sustainable. On the 27th of August in a deal with some business people from Mexico some two hundred head of cattle were exported. Now almost a full month, payment still has not been made. Is it a problem with Central Bank?… This administration has not helped the farmers. They speak it but they don’t do it. It will take a PUP government to bring this relief.”

Cayo South, Hon. Julius Espat: “As the representative of peasants and a peasant himself, I will tell the Prime Minister Let’s rumble in the jungle, call the thing boss. Mek we deal with it one time, once and for all. We in Cayo South are ready to rumble…the Prime Minister tried to call me his friend but that is a wish that he is never attain. You are a Pseudologia Fantastica, sir.”

Orange Walk South, Hon. Jose Mai: “Eight years in this side felt like twenty years. The time has come for the people to decide how they want to live the future of this country. I have learnt a lot. I have learn very good things and I have seen some very bad things. I want to thank the people of Orange Walk South for having me here. I got a scolding from my mom in one of the arguments with the member from Orange Walk North for my misbehavior but I did and I still justify my behavior. This government had neglected, disrespected, and distended, the hard working farmers of the country.

Today we hear them speaking of agriculture. The hypocrisy. Today that has come to an end. I have learnt and have learned a lot. I want to thank my Party Leader and former Party Leader Fonseca and former Party Leader Said Musa.”

Corozal Southeast, Hon. Florencio Marin Jr.: “I agree we should not disrespect the electorate since they have voted for us time and time again. I agree it is time to rumble.

We need to extend the age and I don’t think anyone(in the military) will disagree with that. The issue that I did not find in the bill, and it could be that it is in there but I just tried to read it this morning since we got it, the only one that would get an extension will be the commander of the Belize Defense Force. The issue with that is that there is a career timeline for each soldier.

I am not sure that the career structure of the soldiers and the officers have been fully thought out. Also, pensions only go as far as lieutenant-colonels. When our military leave after 22year there is usually a serious issue with unemployment. There is not an immediate translation of their skills. We cannot be creating a bill but it has to have career structure of each solder taken into account… ‘Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier’”

Toledo West, Hon. Oscar Requena: “I want to take the opportunity as well for giving me the privilege to be their representative. I have tried my utmost best to bring their interest. Most of those requests have fallen on deaf ears.

Certain institutions, the Julian Cho, has been spending the people’s money. A series of problems and irregularities were catalogued in an Auditor General report. This happened because of a whistle blower and the Auditor General went to carry out an investigation. There was a series of misappropriations. Right now as we speak there is a new school building at the institution. This building was named in the report. This building was built by a teacher who was awarded a contract of more than a million dollars. This building is now leaking to the point that the new principal has have to invite tenders to fix the building which is only three years old. The former principal was certainly asleep at the wheel. The Audit and Finance reform act were certainly violated. The Ministry is fully aware of this. We are dealing with taxpayer and parents’ money. Over 2.2 million dollars have not been accounted for. The person involved have now been made a candidate.

The years 2018 and 2019 are also showing a bad picture of bad spending that is not properly accounted for.”

Stann Creek West, Hon. Rodwell Ferguson: “I want to thank my colleagues and the leader of the Opposition. My colleagues on the other side of the house and the speaker. I humble myself and I would have never believed that I would be a member of parliament. My people from Stann Creek West, I thank you. I tried my best. Even as the PM refused to call it today. So thank you so much and I appreciate everything.”

Toledo East, Hon. Mike Espat: “I want to thank the people of Toledo East for sending me here for five time. I am sure they will send me back to defend their issues. Maybe the standing orders need some amendments. I might have been done at another time since we represent the concerns of the people. As members of the opposition, we have a big wall. We were all elected by the people of our country. We have been quarrelling for three terms of the United Democratic Party Government. Do you know why we have squatters in all the constituencies in the south? It is because not one pays attention to them. It surprises me when my opponent shows a few land applications and then asks to be voted in, (Hon. Espat listed a number of land transactions that were done in a single day) all for one former Mayor of Punta Gorda. Why is it that one person because of political affiliations can get what they want? This has to be fixed. If my government does not adhere to serve the people I will not stand here with them. And if the people out there are paying the price for you here. It is not fair.”