Was It All A Misbegotten Misadventure?

About 4 months ago, we told you about how the PUP's Petrocaribe Lawsuit appeared to be losing steam. As viewers may remember, this is the case where Julius Espat, the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, was suing Prime Minister Barrow and the Government over the legality of the Petrocaribe Spending.

At the end of July, coming off the bruising and divisive bye-election defeat in Dangriga, the attorneys on record pulled out - leaving the case on life support.

Well, today, after a decisive general election victory for the UDP, we found out that the case had been withdrawn.

We caught up with the main claimant, Julius Espat, and he told us that he chose to simply pull the plug because the voters have spoken on November 4:

Hon. Julius Espat, Claimant
"It's a complex explanation. But it's a combination of listening to the advice of the attorney and also listening to the people of Belize. The first one is that the attorney has advised us that basically because the law was changed two times to accommodate what was done, it was not worth the while continuing. In reality the only thing pending is the retrospective supplementary appropriation and that continues to happen as we move along. We believe that that portion and that part of it is also important and we shouldn't have it mixed up with the whole scenario of just Petrocaribe. Because the retrospective supplementary appropriation is not only just about Petrocaribe. So we will be pursuing that, but as a separate case and on its own merit. Secondly, the people of Belize spoke on November 4th and I personally believe in democracy. The United Democratic Party of the total voting population garnered about 36% of the votes. The People's United Party garnered about 34%. So it was close. But 2% more is still 2% more and that's democracy and we have to respect that. It seems that a certain population of the country of Belize is happy with the way Barrow had changed the law and happy with the way how he had spent the Petrocaribe money and we will not argue with that fact."

So, was this all just a misconceived, misbegotten political misadventure? Here's what Espat had to say to that one.

Hon. Julius Espat, Claimant
"We have to fight for the 34%. We have to fight for the 147,000 people that came out for the People's United Party. We believe that those people in that change was necessary. Those people believe that good governance is important."

Daniel Ortiz
"One would make a critical judgment of the decision to pursue this case as a political misadventure for the PUP. Do you agree?"

Hon. Julius Espat, Claimant
"No. In life you have you ups and downs. In this case, we are dealing with democracy. If you don't believe in democracy, then it's a farce in what we are doing."

Daniel Ortiz
"While for you it's about principle, can't an outsider take the view that for the rest of the party it was purely political? Because that's a major....."

Hon. Julius Espat, Claimant
"Well I cannot speak for the rest of the party. If you notice this case did not say the People's United Party, it said Julius Espat as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee. So I cannot speak on behalf of the party."

Daniel Ortiz
"Do you concede that by taking on the principle positions you took for the Petrocaribe issue, the party suffered for it?"

Hon. Julius Espat, Claimant
"I disagree with that you are saying. Our people except Cayo South accepted the money from the Petrocaribe and go back in history and that is proven. I was the only person that did not accept it and I didn't accept it based on the fact that I had other means of being able to deal with the Christmas situation."

Daniel Ortiz
"But sir, because you took that principle position, it appeared as though there was something wrong with the money - that it was dirty money. Something inherently...."

Hon. Julius Espat, Claimant
"At the time yes, I believe it was wrong, that's why we took it to court. It was an illegal use of money and then the Prime Minister made it legal which only the Prime Minister can, by changing a law."

For clarification, we note that while Espat said that his PUP colleagues did share in the cheer, while he didn't - that's not quite the way we recall it. They did share in some cheer, but for Mother's Day 2015 the party leader took a hardline position that no PUP area representative would take Cheer money.

It can be argued that Ivan Ramos and his Dangriga seat was a direct casualty of that Espat-led policy decision. Back on May 29, he was the one who broke the party line and accepted the Mothers Day Cheer money of $25,000. Espat blasted him for it. That started his downward trajectory to his eventual resignation as the Area Representative of the Dangriga Constituency. His resignation triggered the 2nd By-Election which the PUP lost, to Frank Pawpa Mena.

Channel 7