THINK ABOUT IT(Dec 13 Issue)

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REPORTER NEWSPAPER CONDEMNS

BARROW’S CORRUPTION

The Reporter newspaper has condemned the latest reports of corruption of the Dean Barrow’s government. Specifically the Reporter found it “profoundly disturbing to hear reports about the now retired Barrow government.”

The Reporter in its editorial of last week 6th December continued:- “This is why we should view corruption in government as intrinsically evil, malevolence which should be rooted out.”

Also- “There is only one way to break this trend, and that is to make the politicians and others pay for the harm that they do”.

“What are we to make of these accusations is there is no follow-up and prosecution? Are we on the same old merry-go-round?

The editorial ends – “The credibility of the Briceno government is at stake here. If there have been corrupt practices, the new government must act with vigor to set the example”.

Younger Belizeans should know that the owner, publisher of the Reporter newspaper is a staunch supporter of Dean Barrow. Barrow even appointed the publisher as an ambassador to the Vatican (where the Pope reigns). It must have been profoundly disturbing to have heard and learnt of the massive and continued corruption in which Barrow and fellow Ministers were wallowing in.

The Reporter newspaper is an unabashed capitalist and neoliberal spokes agent for the business community. The publisher was a key factor in the formation of the then opposition UDP. To see the UDP become Belize’s most corrupt government must hurt, must rankle all the good decent Belizeans who supported the UDP. What the hell went wrong with Dean Barrow?

The same issue of the Reporter newspaper carried two articles against UDP corruption by two of its premier writers. “Asset Recovery Now” by Neri Briceño and “The Aftermath” by Lloyd Jones, a former BDF Major.

Major Lloyd Jones wrote, “Mr. Barrow has betrayed Belize and he should not be made to forget it, he should be made to pay.”

The article ends with: ‘Mr. Barrow has gone off to enjoy his luxurious life. Meanwhile the rest of us ordinary Belizeans are left with his bitter legacy. In his aftermath, there shall be pain beloved – lots of pain.”

How true Lloyd, how very true.

So powerful is Lloyd Jones’ article that the Reporter felt the need to put beneath it a disclaimer that views expressed are not necessarily those of the newspaper.

Lloyd Jones has emerged these past couple years as a thinker and a thoughtful, insightful writer. He is a disciplined and talented man. He has an important role to play in the new dynamic government just voted in by the vast majority of Belizeans.

JESUS BORN IN MANGER

BABY BORN IN POLICE TOILET

In two weeks, Belizeans will celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Christ whom we are thought is the son of God. God’s son was not born at Medical Associates or Health Care Partners. He was not even born in a clinic on Southside. A was born in a manger. A manger is space where animals are fed.

On 30th November, two weeks ago in the Orange Walk Police Station, a lady from Honduras was begging to use the toilet as she was in pain. She, like other persons detained in the Orange Walk Station was kept in a tiny, little dungeon cell in the back of the yard about twenty five feet from the Police Station building.

A female officer went to the back and opened the cell for the lady. She went to the toilet while the female officer waited to lock her back in the cell. The female says she heard like a little baby crying. She rushed to the toilet and saw a new born baby on the floor still attached to the mother by the umbilical cord. She said she was shocked at the sight. The baby was hurriedly wrapped in a towel and rushed to the Orange Walk hospital, which is less than five minutes distance from the police station.

The new Prime Minister is unhappy over the events that led to this unfortunate incident. Although, he is glad the mother and baby are well.

We condemn the system which shows our inhuman treatment of fellow humans. The lady was caught by Immigration. She has no papers for being in Belize. She is to be deported. She is placed in quarantine. She was sent to a concentration camp type of facility in the Mountain Pine Ridge area of Cayo. It is reported she was kept there for one month.

She must have been swabbed to test for Covid. Was it by a nurse or doctor? No one noticed she was pregnant? No one had conversation with her? No one inquired of her health?

When she was handed over to the Orange Walk police station no one noticed she was pregnant? No one spoke with her? No one inquired from her about her health or physical condition?  Surely a woman nine months pregnant would show signs. At the very least, her belly would show.

In the name of God Almighty, none of the immigration officers, the quarantine staff, the police who checked her into the Orange Walk police station, spoke with her and inquired of her condition? Nobody cared? Is this how we treat human beings, yes, it’s what we have been doing. A new government has been elected but the old ways remain.

This is a major failure on all those persons, their superiors and seniors. What kind of public officers are we employing? What kind of training are they given?

This is a great shame on all of us.

When and how did we become so cold-hearted, so callous in how we treat human beings?

MAGISTRATE CRISIS

There is an urgent need for the new government to sit with the Chief Magistrate and tackle a looming crisis—shortage of Magistrates.

The Magistrate in Punta Gorda has resigned. The Magistrate in San Ignacio has resigned. The Magistrate in Independence has long since left. One of the two Magistrates in Belmopan retires this month. The other is now down with Covid. A Magistrate in Belize City retires this month. Another has gone on vacation. Another has requested urgent leave.

That amounts to eight magistrates not in place.

At the civil court on North Front Street one of the two overburdened Magistrates had to be posted to San Pedro, which has been without a Magistrate for the past three months.

The family court has been on melt-down for the past several months. The Director is gone on retirement. The remaining three Magistrates need to be relocated. Two of them are there too, too long. They do not have the maturity and empathy for that type of specialized responsibility. The army of sad, weary, downtrodden women who have no choice but to seek help deserve better. Much better…

The situation at the Supreme Court is also concerning. Two temporary judges on twelve months contract on the civil side. We may lose Judge Young. On the criminal side, we may lose the best judge, Colin Williams. He is just awesome and a work horse. Covid or no Covid he has disposed of over eighty cases this year. His name sake is the opposite, her record is dismal. Lawyers avoid appearing to do bail applications. In my opinion, she does not follow the laws governing bail, which is a travesty. The other two judges, in Dangriga and Belmopan are also work horses who are highly respected.