THINK ABOUT IT (February 19)

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DEAN BARROW IS LYING

Dean Barrow is lying when he said he sold an expensive government vehicle to the President of the Court of Appeal because that judge had been driving the said vehicle for twelve years.

This is not true. It is a lie.

The President of the Court of Appeal had a previous government vehicle. After the last election, the Judge was sold that vehicle. After the 2020 election, the Judge was again sold an almost new vehicle.

The Judge/President of the Court of Appeal was sold two vehicles. As to the excuse for selling the latest vehicle, is that the Judge did not use a driver, well what of the expensive residence rented for the Judge just few streets from where he lives. He is allowed a whole house to relax, at taxpayers’ expense. The Judge got two vehicles, not one. The ex-Prime Minister said none of this.

The Commission of Inquiry held Monday 15th February 2021, is a historic occasion. For the first time in the history of Belize, a Commission established to delve into possible wrong doings and criminal activities regarding taxpayers’ assets, has summoned a past Prime Minister and questioned him.

In this case, unable to dodge attending, our disgraced Prime Minister turned up and Belizeans got another opportunity to see why they despise this man. Apart from his unbearable arrogance, Belizeans got a reminder of how terribly he mismanaged the country.

For 13 years, he was Prime Minister and Finance Minister and does not know where the vehicle care unit keeps vehicles.

Worse, Vehicle Care Unit is Not a Lawful department or unit. The law is that the Auditor General, Accountant General and officials of a Ministry physically check on government assets before they are written-off or sold. The nonsense that one contract employee with no public service back ground can be in charge of millions of dollars worth of vehicles, furniture, computers etc., is contrary to public service laws and regulations contained in the Financial Orders and Stores Orders Regulations.

When a vehicle is in a crash and damaged beyond repair for it to get written off, there is a detailed process through the professional (not political) public officers. The information is sent to the National Assembly for approval to write it off.

All his previous years in government and the past 13 years as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mr. Barrow has done no reforms, no improvement in the public service. The way he met the public service and the government is the same way he left it only much worse.

He even subverted most if not all, of the institutions put in place as the checks and balance against abuse, waste and theft of taxpayer’s monies and assets.

When confronted with evidence Minister Castro was abusing tax dollars by buying racing bicycle for his sons and pay for funeral for his family from monies at Civil Aviation Department, Prime Minister Barrow did nothing to improve the system so it could not happen elsewhere or again. Abuses by his Ministers continued unabated.

When confronted by disappointed UDPs and angry Belizeans in California, over how they are all treated at the Ministry of Lands, Prime Minister Barrow told the gathering, ‘the Ministry is a cesspool of corruption’. But then did nothing to put a stop to it or to put in place better systems and people of integrity to prevent reoccurrence.

No government department or Ministry can provide themselves with monies for any vehicle, building, road, bridge or wasteful unnecessary stuff. ALL monies are provided and approved by the Prime Minister as Minister of Finance. He is ultimately responsible for any waste, fraud, theft and corruption. What happened with government vehicles was happening with lands, contracts and politically appointed unnecessary additional employees.

When, for example, the do-nothing Minister of Housing had sixty seven extra employees attached to his Ministry in Belmopan, the monies were provided by Dean Barrow Minister of Finance. The employees themselves have come forward to say they had no work but collected wages all year round for years. This too must be investigated.

Patrick Faber has tried to play down the Commission of Inquiry, even calling it a circus. Be careful, he and Peyrefitte may well turn out to be the clowns. There is nothing circus-like for Mr. Barrow to buy a brand new luxury vehicle ten months ago for $90,000 for Minister Hugo Patt and then sell it to him just before election for a few thousand dollars.

The very Peyrefitte who was paid as Attorney General, whose duty to advise Barrow, Faber and all CEO‘s that it is illegal to be buying and selling government vehicles and assets, he himself was doing the illegal buying. Faber bought alcohol and pibil for voters in the 2015 elections from PetroCaribe monies.

Let it be absolutely clear, Dean Barrow and the Minister have no authority to sell government vehicles and furniture and computers. There is a legal procedure and it was not followed.

We want these people to pay for their unlawful behavior.

We also want a Commission of Inquiry into the unlawful give away of boledo and lottery. And another into how PetroCaribe millions were abused, stolen and squandered.

ASH WEDNESDAY

Lent is the term used in the Christian religion to describe the period of 40 days of prayers and fasting and denying some of the pleasures of this wicked world.

Lent starts on Ash Wednesday, Christians place ash on their foreheads as a sign that they are repenting of their sins and displaying their love for the Almighty God.

Belize media is losing their duty to report on our Christian faith. We need more Christianity and love in our television and music which promote hedonism, nakedness and low morals.

Foreign influence has become so powerful that we are eating and drinking food produced abroad when we have natural, healthy, home-grown, Belizean produced food and drink.

BLACK DISTORY MONTH

Shantel Berry is a female police. She has dreadlocks hairstyle neatly tucked under her police hat. The Supreme Court Order that she be paid $9.000.

Aleeya Wade is another police officer who wears dreadlocks she too will receive $9,000 by Order of the Supreme Court.

The historic decision was handed down by Supreme Court Judge Sonya Young at the end of January, last month, which coincides with this February, which is not only Black History month, but the birth of most famous dreadlocks of them all-Bob Marley.

The Honourable Justice Sonya Young began her historic 32 pages Judgement with this opening paragraph;-

“In 2016, the young black women at South Africa’s Pretoria Girls High School were advised to “discipline” their hair by relaxing it. Similarly, Shantel Berry and Aleeya Wade, two female police officers of African descent had been formally warned to remove their dreadlocks in order to confirm to the Police Regulations, by refusing to comply, they forced disciplinary action”.

Shantel and Aleeya are two of seven female police officers who faced disciplinary charges by the Commissioner of Police who was adamant that he would not tolerate such hair style.

Their lawsuit against the Attorney General Peyrefitte and then Police Commissioner was that the Police Regulation which forbids women Police from wearing their hair in “braids” was unconstitutional and violates the right to freedom of conscience, freedom of expression and freedom not to be discriminated against. Also, that the disciplinary proceedings against them is unlawful.

The dreadlocks police women won.

Anthony Sylvestre, one of only four or five dreadlocks lawyers, along with Leslie Mendez represented the women police and, by extension, all dreadlocks persons oppressed by persons in high positions in the private sectors and the public service where much oppression lingers with discrimination and an ugly neo-colonial mentality.

Judge Sonya Young deserves the Nelson Mandela and Bob Marley awards, for what is right and righteous and for the constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of conscience, freedom of religious belief and non-discrimination which were violated.

Judge Sonya Young also declared that the policy and the directive of the Police Department which restricts female police from wearing dreadlocks is UNLAWFUL.

The magnificent seven women police who refused to be intimidated and faced severe disciplinary proceedings, as well as being publicly shamed and ridiculed by their Commissioner and a female Assistant Commissioner, are to be commended. When wrong doing, bad policies and injustice takes place in our country, those who stand up and fight for what is right, are heroes and sheroes heroines. We hope that another twenty to thirty thousand dollars will be awarded by the Judge as damages.

We join with the twenty-three member group of lawyers of the Association Deference Attorneys in stating that Anthony Sylvestre is Supreme Court judge material. His special gift of research and his analytical mind will be a great credit to our Judiciary.

We are disheartened that there are three universities in our country and none did any panel discussion for February, treated elsewhere in the world as Black History month.