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PM Barrow a Dictator? #411359
07/07/11 02:21 PM
07/07/11 02:21 PM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 2,507
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PUP Calls PM Barrow A Dictator

[Linked Image] [Linked Image] The PUP staged a walkout from the House of Representatives on Monday - and they boycotted the House Meeting two weeks earlier.

So, the loyal opposition had what might be called an accountability deficit with the public - which they tried to fill up today with a press conference that went form morning to noon.

They poured on the PUP special sauce very heavy, but was it enough, or was it maybe too much? Jules Vasquez was there and here's his report...

Jules Vasquez Reporting:

Law and order and the respect for private property were some of the major themes stressed by the opposition at a two hour plus press conference this morning.

Hon. John Briceno - Leader of Opposition
[Linked Image] "Never before, in the 30 years of our Independence, have Belizeans witnessed such blatant and obvious disrespect for the rule of law as we have seen in the past 10 days."

And it's been fourteen days in which the opposition has boycotted two house meetings.

Arthur Saldivar - PUP Standard Bearer
[Linked Image] "Yes, Her Majesty's loyal Opposition walked out of the house. And some of you may say, 'Man, you should have engaged the field. You should have taken the fight. You should have fought the good fight.' The Speaker has no backbone; he has no spine. He is a supine hireling, the moral equivalent of a spinely jelly fish."

And while we're not sure adults can say, "I left school because I didn't like the teacher," after Monday's walkout, the party it seems felt it had to take some public position.

So today with no Speaker there, they had kind of their own house meeting - 29 of 31 standard bearers filled the stage, and the audience, if not a gallery, at least a room full of supporters.

There was ample criticism not of nationalization, per say, but of the circumstances under which the recent utility nationalizations took place.

Hon. John Briceno
"His so-called nationalization was declared null and void, laid bare in tatters, shredded as fake, false and illegal, by the Courts of Appeal. That is his record. What the Prime Minister did in the House on Monday, was not nationalization. It was plain and simple crony-capitalism."

And as for BEL:

Hon. John Briceno
"It was something that was deliberately caused by the Barrow-directed PUC. Because BEL had a temporary cash-flow problem, the Prime Minister did what he wanted to do for a long time: take complete control of BEL. We in the PUP will not accept that the action to take control of BEL is in the interest of the Belizean people until - we repeat - until we see the rates decrease."

And because of what the PUP calls these two unnecessary nationalizations - the PUP leader - in somewhat of a reach - concluded that Prime Minister Barrow is a dictator.

Hon. John Briceno
"Now, our very democratic way of life is under threat. In short, our Prime Minister has gone rogue. And his Government has lost the moral authority to govern this Nation."

And so..

Hon. John Briceno
"It is time for Mr. Barrow and the UDP to leave. We say, 'Call the elections now!"

It is a line that was repeated throughout the morning by all five speakers -in a scattershot event that vacillated from the nationalizations, to what Senior Deputy Fonseca called an economic collapse.

Hon. Francis Fonseca - Senior PUP Deputy
[Linked Image] "This collapse lies chiefly at the feet of a petty, vindictive, and arbitrary Prime Minister and his Government, whose deliberate actions and decisions have created a hostile business environment, and destroyed investor confidence in Belize."

From investor confident to crime prevention measures:

Anthony Sylvester - PUP Standard Bearer
[Linked Image] "When, and if this Prime Minister into law, the preventative detention program, a PUP Government will do away with such law. This next PUP Government will also disband this Gang Suppression Unit."

And From GSU, to musings on the philosophy of democracy:

Hon. Lisa Shoman - Senator
[Linked Image] "And I don't know about you, I refuse to live in a democracy that is subverted and squashed, that is bent out of shape to suit the dreams and aspirations one small group of people."

And even, for good measure, a bit of historical revisionism from the signatory of that infamous accommodation agreement:

Hon. Said Musa - PUP Standard Bearer
[Linked Image] "Turning back, my friends, to the accommodation agreement, the 15% rate of return in the accommodation agreement, was at the time considered reasonable, why, because of the turmoil that existed in the industry at the time."

And while the event jumped from subject to subject, the tone also veered on occasion from press conference to public meeting, and speeches that seemed to leave the podium and end up on the rostrum - such as this flourish-filled one:

Arthur Saldivar

"Now, Dean Barrow would want to tell us, 'Well you see those PUP's. They are sweating fever for Michael Ashcroft. Don't listen to them. They are sweating fever for the 'white devil'.' Well I will tell you this. 'The enemy of the State', he says. A little bit of history: before Dean Barrow first entered elected office, his main client was Michael Ashcroft. Who's been the chief local collaborator with the "white devil"? Let's not forget it, because it's certainly not us. It's not us the PUP."

Entertaining and varied, but in the end, like any buffet serving we weren't quite sure what all we had just consumed, except that the party leader was not in a mood for dessert in the form of questions asked by this reporter about his two absent senior deputies Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde, or anything else for that matter:

Jules Vasquez

"Would you support disciplining those members, since they have taken a contrary position?"

Hon. John Briceno

"That is an internal matter for us, Jules, it's not for you."

Jules Vasquez


Hon. John Briceno

"Next question please?"

Jules Vasquez

"It is the People's United Party..."

Hon. John Briceno

"Next-question-please? I know you have a blue shirt, but I haven't seen you apply for a PUP membership card."

Jules Vasquez

"Do you accept that Michael Ashcroft is the owner of that company which owns 70% of Speednet?"

Hon. John Briceno
"I have absolutely no idea who is the owner of that company."

Jules Vasquez

"You, but..."

Hon. John Briceno

"I-have-no-idea-who-owns-the-company! You can't make me answer what I don't know. Third question?"

Jules Vasquez

"If I may ask one more, since answers come so quickly..."

Hon. Lisa Shoman

"Last question please, Jules, last question."

Jules Vasquez

"Are you able to say if your party would support, since its in section G of the Constitution, if your party would support a Constitutional amendment to ensure that utilities remain principally in the hands of the Government and "the people of Belize"? Speednet not being a utility."

Hon. John Briceno

"I guess that the Prime Minister came with a new definition of utilities, I imagine."

Jules Vasquez

"So would you, or would you not support such a constitutional..."

Hon. John Briceno

"Well the devil is in the details, and we need to see what the Prime Minister is proposing."

A curt, undefined response symptomatic of party that says it supports nationalization in principle, but not in the way it has been practiced by this government.

But putting issues aside, today's event was staged to convince a public that the PUP is as ready as it looks. The question is though whether the event was enough to generate some momentum for an opposition that is left only to criticize after the Barrow administration's bold double nationalizations.

Hon. Francis Fonseca
"We make these points today, yes, to score political points. After all, we are a political party, but much more importantly, to give voice to the crisis engulfing our nation and families, and to call on our Government to do better."

And it seems the governing party listened, but apparently it was not moved.

The UDP this evening issued what we believe to be its very first response to a PUP press conference certainly since 2008. It is also a very lengthy release which refers to what it calls PUP remorselessness, audacity and lack of regard for the rule of law by the signatories of the Accommodation Agreement.

The UDP has also taken the high road on a very low act, condemning the action of a member of the gallery - one of its own supporters - who stoned Orange Walk East Representative Marcel Cardona in the head with a wallet as he left the House meeting.

Live and let live
Re: PM Barrow a Dictator? [Re: Short] #411827
07/15/11 12:15 AM
07/15/11 12:15 AM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 2,507
Short Offline OP
Short  Offline OP
Ex-UDP Senator & Human Rights activists call Barrow a Dictator

[Linked Image] Prime Minister Dean Barrow was called a dictator and compared to the likes of Haiti’s ruthless Papa Doc and Uganda’s cold leader Idi Amin by senior UDP lawyers and human rights officials, who appeared on Channel 5’s Open Your Eyes Morning Show on Wednesday, July 13, 2011.

In only 30 days, the Barrow Government will have the legal authorisation to push through one of the most criminal constitutional amendments which will authorise the UDP’s security personnel to lock up persons arbitrarily for up to 52 days without a criminal charge, right to defense or trial.

The constitutional amendments which will give the Barrow Administration’s so-called anti-crime measure, Preventative Detention, some teeth have attracted immense opposition. Resistance has come from the Opposition People’s United Party, community groups such as COLA and Belizeans for Justice, the Human Rights Commission, and now even from within the Prime Minister’s own political party.

On the OYE show, former UDP Senator who is also the former editor of the UDP newspapers Guardian and Pulse, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, along with UDP attorney Antoinette Moore spoke against Barrow’s Preventative Detention, calling it a dangerous piece of legislation. Matura-Shepherd, who is better known for her leadership role in Oceana-Belize, has come forward to tell the many reasons she believes the Barrow’s measures are the worst anti-crime proposals yet.

Matura outlined that the proposal will terminate every Belizeans’ constitutional right to liberty, right to be informed of the reason of an arrest, right to an attorney, right to inform a parent or guardian (for children), right to a quick trial, and it can be used against anyone based on mere suspicion.

“This kind of legislation is what dictators do,” warned Shepherd.

“52 days, they could beat you three, four times and you recover by the time you come out. It is horrendous; that can never become entrenched in our constitution. People have to understand the severity. But it gets worst. What they are saying is that they can take your children, deprive them of their liberty under the pretense that they are exposed to anti-social behaviour and criminal behaviour.”

Moore posed that the measures proposed in Preventative Detention were an affront to Human Rights, and in fact, would increase the level of human rights violations under the Barrow Administration.

She trashed the Prime Minister’s rationale that the measure has worked in countries such as South Africa, noting that when it was used against South Africans it was during the apartheid, which led to security personnel abuse and the systematic and widespread detention of opposition members and community activists.

Shepherd the added that perhaps that is the goal of the Barrow Administration, to empower itself with a “tool of a dictator…designed to suppress dissent”.

With the ¾ majority the UDP holds in the National Assembly and with the sympathizers it has in the Senate, the Barrow Administration can easily legislate the constitutional amendments. By law, the Government is required to hold a 90-day public consultation period before passing any constitutional bill, but the Barrow Administration is ignoring the requirement totally, apparently hoping the BTL and BEL takeovers would distract Belizeans from the more pervasive issue of the impending preventative detention.

Only massive opposition and mass public dissent can stop the Barrow Administration from its dictatorial course. The Opposition PUP has said it is prepared to fight the Government in the National Assembly and on the streets, before allowing any amendment that dangerously erodes constitutional rights to pass. Meanwhile, groups such as COLA and Belizeans for Justice have been holding consultations across the country to inform Belizeans and gather support for a demonstration they plan to hold on July 30th.

Live and let live

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