As we've reported, there's a new Area Representative in Cayo South. The PUP's Julius Espat crushed his opponent Ramon Witz to emerge as the area representative in one of the country's largest divisions - but he's already run into trouble with the UDP Chairman of Teakettle Village.
It happened today in the Arizona area of that village where Espat is sponsoring the completion of a bus shed.
He got villagers to chip in with labour - and work was proceeding today with seating and columns for a roof.
But village Chairman Matthew Patnett wasn't happy and someone called police to arrest the young men who were working on the shed. That's just what Belmopan police quite inexplicably did - and the young men were taken into the station.
As these images from PLUS TV show - shortly after that - hostile forces proceeded to smash the shed and reduce it to rubble.
It is the ugliest kind of political tribalism - and more than that, it denies the area a bus stop - which would be used by students.
We understand that the two workers have been released but warned by police that they are not to return to the site.
Julius Espat, Peoples United Party area representative for Cayo South visited Plus TV's offices late this evening with a complaint that two guys who were working on a shed he was finishing up, were arrested. They were being held at the Belmopan Police station. Espat told us that the incident was politically motivated as his guys were not doing anything wrong. Our journalist went to the Police Station where the men were being detained. We were able to speak with Marti Mendez one of the guys who was working on the project.
Marti Mendez We live in Teakettle, so we were just volunteering. Mr. Julius Espat provided the material and we in the village volunteered to get the bus stop up for the kids. Police then came and detained us.
Jesse Mendoza, Plus TV Journalist When the police came, what did they tell you?
Marti Mendez Well the Chairman Mathew Patnett said that he runs the village and he runs the show, so we couldn’t finish it. He was the one that called the Police and they brought us up here. So we will see if they will charge us; however I don’t know what they will charge us with because we were only volunteering.
While interviewing Mendez someone from the village called saying that they were breaking down the columns for the bus stop. We travelled to Arizona which is located in the village of Teakettle where sure enough we observed blocks from the columns on the ground and numerous persons from the community standing around.
Villager The Chairman Matthew came back after the police left. He then got out of his vehicle and told him that he would shoot him if he ever sees him here again at the bus stop. He said that Matthew physically did it by himself and why he could have done it by himself is because the substance that were used to stick the blocks were still fresh. As you can see, the substance is still there. He even broke the steels that were in the columns. Apart from that, they came out and took out a camera, took his picture and told him that they have him on camera and that they will shoot him if he ever comes back to even assist with this bus stop.
Espart told us that it is not about blue or red for him but that elections is over and he had pledge to help the village of Arizona get a shed up for the school kids to wait under while waiting for the bus which takes them to school.
Julius Espat, Area Representative, Cayo South We made a commitment to them that we would, so we went out and got donations and we made an agreement with the villagers that they would provide the labor free of cost so that we can work as one. I spoke to the Chairman of the village, who is a UDP Chairman, because he was Ramon Witz’s right hand man. So I went to speak with him and I told him “Let’s work together and find a way that we can help the villagers.’ He said he received instructions from the top that no one in Cayo South will do anything that is a PUP effort. So we proceeded to continue to put up the structure. By the way I am an architect by profession, so I know what I am doing when it comes to structures. So they sent the Police from Belmopan, but what is surprising is that the Police can never come to Cayo South when we have a murder or a burglary, but they can send the Police to Arizona in vehicles to deal with an issue like this. They picked up the two gentlemen that were here volunteering and they took them to Belmopan.
The structure was initially started by Richard Smith when he was running in Cayo South back in 2008 but only the foundation and seating had been built and Julius Espat was completing the structure. We ask Espat how he will proceed with the project.
Julius Espat This is not about PUP and UDP; this is about the people of Belize and we have to stop this, politics ended on March 7th.
Jesse Mendoza How will you move on with this situation here now?
Julius Espat Well I will be dealing with my attorneys tomorrow to find out the legal course, because it seems that with this Government, the civilized way of doing things will not happen, so we will go through it the legal way. It is not only the Prime Minister that has attorneys beside him, we of the PUP also have attorneys on our side and I will challenge him to the end, until my people are given what they deserve.