Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
#517127 - 08/27/16 05:24 AM Helluva Historic Day At The House  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,978
Marty Online happy
Marty  Online Happy

Today at the House Meeting in Belmopan history was made and in the most ugly way imaginable. In fact what happened exceeds the limits of the imagination.

First the police fired a warning shot - while the House meeting was underway - directly in front of the National Assembly stairs when a protestor burst through the police lines….No one was hurt, but we've been covering the house for decades and we've never seen anything like that.

That was from a militant splinter of the church protest in front of the house.

And when the excitement from that died down that's when things went berserk inside the House chamber...

Cayo South Representative Julius Espat was named and suspended form the house but refused to leave, that's when police forcibly ejected him on the order of the house was a scene unlike any in Belize's history...

And in the rush, our news director Jules Vasquez was also forcibly ejected from the house - dragged away by police.

We'll show you every single detail tonight - when we present the news in a different kind of way - instead of editing the stories we'll present it raw with my News Director Jules Vasquez narrating the store here in studio with me - we figure it's the best way to give you the whole story of this historic day...that's coming..

The Day Started with the Church Protest Which was Hijacked

But first we start with the church protest that preceded it all - Daniel Ortiz showed you COLA and the Christians along with The Poor People Organization for Healthy and Righteous Society laid the ground for a volatile mix:..

So that was the protest which started the day off - and you saw how the Belize city based agitators more or less hijacked the protest organized by the Spanish Arm of the evangelical churches...and things quickly got out of control after that.

A First: The Forcible Removal Of A Member Of The House

So we start with the biggest event on a day that had many - the police forcibly ejecting a member of the House, PUP Cayo South Representative Julius Espat...

Espat Says He Was Muzzled Because He Had a Point To Make

When he got out of the House Sitting, Julius Espat said he was deliberately muzzled by the house speaker:

Hon. Julius Espat, PUP Cayo South
"Well it's the first I've gotten beaten up by the police forces (smiling)

"Inside the House."

Hon. Julius Espat, PUP Cayo South
"God damn. All I was doing was trying to explain the level of corruption that this country is experiencing and they beat me up. The Belizean people have to understand that I am not fighting for Julius Espat, I'm not fighting for PUP, I am fighting for the people that put me here and I have to be given an opportunity to express myself for them. I mean we are having so much problems. You know why they didn't want me to talk was because they knew I had information from the Attorney general about Barrow himself. He knows it. The Speaker called me the day before and say 'boss you can't talk about that man.' You see the Speaker went on the media yesterday to try to explain that the auditor general report is not important, because they made one mistake and to have them do that in the House. I apologized, but I am talking creole because that is coming from my heart."

Jules Vasquez
"What point do you stand on? You were wrong inside the house. You accept that and you were ready to apologize."

Hon. Julius Espat, PUP Cayo South
"My point was governance in public places. I have a right to speak about corruption in public places. That's my job, I'm the chairman of PAC."

Jules Vasquez
"You insulted the Speaker. The House has rules."

Hon. Julius Espat, PUP Cayo South
"I told him the truth. He is a paid assassin for the UDP in there. He ran for the UDP. So what do you expect, us to forget that? He was the man who was trying to break up Belize by saying "ram it." This is the same guy and I have had enough of him."

"Sir but you are asking for rules to be followed elsewhere. You are not following the rules."

Hon. Julius Espat, PUP Cayo South
"Well if the rules have to be broken in Belize right now so that we could get back our country - I want my country back! And I am ready and willing to go to jail. That's what I told the police officers. I have officers from my constituency who knows I fight for them. One of them is right behind me. I fight for them and they were honest and they were fair. Some of them beat me up, that is cool. They took you all out so that you all couldn't see how they did it."

Jules Vasquez
"How did they eject you sir?"

Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition
"We have the video just like you."

Hon. Julius Espat, PUP Cayo South
"I am laughing right now, but it's not a laughing matter. I am feeling what the poor, oppressed people of this country faced every day - the Southside, Cayo south side too, Toledo - they can't their information when the god damn thieves are giving away passports to people left and right. 55,000 passports. That is 16% of our population have illegal of fraudulent passports - 16% of 350,000 people have illegal or fraudulent passports and they don't want us to talk about it in there."

"What do you expect to happen after this?"

Hon. Julius Espat, PUP Cayo South
"I don't know ma'am, but I will fight for my people to the end."

Jules Vasquez
"Mr. Leader of the Opposition, what's next for the PUP?"

Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition
"Certainly as I was pointing out to the Speaker, that he needs to be more tolerant. That the member from Cayo South was speaking the truth and the UDP does not want to hear the truth. This was all planned out that they did not want us to talk about the auditor general report, because we know the level of corruption is from the highest levels of the UDP all the way to the bottom to the drivers. Minister are named, you have drivers named, you have UDP operatives are named and when you a put a money figure to the amount of Visas and passports that are missing, we are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars that have been stolen from the people of this country and this UDP is saying that they don't want and will not hold anybody responsible. The Prime Minister said that there was no wrongdoing when the auditor general is saying that there are illegal actions taken by ministers. This is in the report Jules and they are doing nothing about it."

Hon. Julius Espat, PUP Cayo South
"The reason why they kicked me out is because Dean Oliver Barrow and Kim Simpliss Barrow recommended a person for nationality that could not and doesn't have the requirements to pass nationality and that person is his brother-in-law. His brother-in-law didn't have the necessary information and the necessary time in Belize for him to become a Belizean citizen and Barrow in his way allow everyone to break the law so that he could have gotten his nationality and he could get his passport. Mr. Vasquez and all the media, page 172. It quite clear right there. This is the reason why they kicked me out of the House of Representatives. Who recommended him knowing fully well that?"

"Kim Simpliss Barrow."

Hon. Julius Espat, PUP Cayo South
"And Dean Barrow. That is why they kicked me out. They don't want it on the record."

Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition
"That is why they don't want us to discuss this record. When I was going through this I wanted to vomit, I wanted to vomit when you look at the level of corruption that's taking place under this government and nobody is going to be held accountable? Something must be wrong with this government. Jules anybody could see, look at any page you could see all the wrongdoing that is going on with this government."

"What do expect need to happen to them?"

Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition
"They need to be held accountable and I am saying right now, I am going to have our senators to call for a senate investigation. When Senator Lisa Shoman was calling for the senate investigation, what did Godwin Hulse say? "Let's wait for the audit report." We have the audit reports, so I am telling Godwin Hulse let's see what you are going to do. Are you going to block it again? And then once we get into government we are going to go through this and anybody that can be held liable, we are going to them liable and if they have to go to jail, they are going to go to jail. Enough is enough."

"Sir we would not be doing our jobs if we say that the PUP past administration is named in there as well."

Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition
"I said anybody that had any wrongdoing must be held accountable. This government was elected because they say that they were going to stop this and now we find out that it's been the worst it has ever been in the entire history of this government and we are only looking at 2013. Last month 100 visas were given. Let's not forget. When you hear for people to get their visa application accepted, they have to pay $1,000 to get into the door, they have to pay $1,000 to get into the second floor so that the committee can.. We are talking about a lot of money and until we..."

Jules Vasquez
"Even your name is there. I saw it once for recommending a Visa. I saw it. I think it's an international person. It's in the Visa One."

Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition
"Please show me the page. What I am telling you is that we also need to start to put teeth into the legislation. We have enough laws, we don't need no more regulations. What we need is put teeth, that if you do wrong, you go to jail."

7News Director Ejected By Police

We return now to our streaming coverage of today's house sitting - we've already shown you the major events: a shot fired on the stairs of the national assembly and PUP Cayo South Representatives Julius Espat being dragged out of the house.

But the media was also put out of the House. That's also a first - but the police wanted us gone so we wouldn't get footage of when they ejected Julius Espat., In studio with me is Jules Vasquez to narrate just what happened - Jules - you were at the center of it - tell us what happened:...

Channel 7

#517186 - 08/30/16 05:08 AM Re: Helluva Historic Day At The House [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,978
Marty Online happy
Marty  Online Happy

Friday’s House Meeting History: A Recap

And so that's where it is tonight: they PUP want both the House Speaker and the Barrow administration gone - and they're going to "take it to the streets" to get that done.

There's no telling yet where that effort will go, but if Friday's events do demonstrate anything, it's that in politics, a few minutes can change everything. Tonight Daniel Ortiz recaps all those minutes that made Friday's House Meeting pivotal:...

Daniel Ortiz reporting
The day started off as normal with the Members of the House of Representatives debating the different items on their agenda.

Outside, a second protest was organized by members of churches, this time by the Spanish arm of the Evangelicals, with a few familiar faces.

Louis Wade - Protester/Talkshow Host
"Today is different, we are not afraid to call a demonstration today and we're not afraid to associate with COLA, PPORS, the Alliance and other groups as well as some teachers are here today."

But, maybe that was a miscalculation because at the height of the midday heat, the Belize City based agitators slowly started to take over the Church Protest. The subtle hijack looked like ordinary supporters being given a chance to take the pulpit and deliver their sermon of discontent.

Wababa Noralez - Protester
"We stop killing each other, we will war the government now and the police, and do you understand me? No more gang violence, let them pay attention to us. We have to start to pay attention to those people up there."

That could have been taken as a portent of the ruckus which would unfold later, but still, no-one took it as anything but a speech.

And then, Raymond Rivers, firebrand unionist, political activist, and grassroots politician took the lead, and assisted the frontline protesters to tear down the police barrier which all demonstrators agreed to respect.

He then dashed towards the stairs, and realizing that he was alone, he retreats briefly, and signaled others to come over.

When they did, he rushed the police guarding the National Assembly Steps. That's when the cop fired a warning shot into the air.

That confrontation kept them back, and the situation started to calm down.

Inside the house, Julius Espat and the PUP spoke on the adjournment to start lambasting the Barrow Administration for the findings in the Auditor General's report. But things went quickly downhill:

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House
"If you can't get to the matter, we'll have to ask you to end your speech. Get to the matter."

Hon. Julius Espat - Cayo South Representative
"That is what you really want which I know."

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House
"If I wanted to do that.."

Hon. Julius Espat - Cayo South Representative
"Yes I know because you are an honorable member of the house, I found out. I am speaking on corruption in public light."

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House
"That's too broad."

Hon. Julius Espat - Cayo South Representative
"You didn't say that in the beginning."

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House
"I thought you were going to get to your point."

Hon. Julius Espat - Cayo South Representative
"You can't think what I am thinking."

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House
"Listen to me. I will give you another minute, if you continue this way, you will have to sit down and discontinue your speech."

Hon. Julius Espat - Cayo South Representative
"What is your problem Mr. speaker?"

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House
"The problem is they pay me to ensure that you do your job and that is impossible."

Hon. Julius Espat - Cayo South Representative
"They pay you to block me, that's what they pay your for."

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House
"You know what, that statement, can I get a minister to name this person please."

Hon. Julius Espat - Cayo South Representative
"This house of representative is a joke. You are a swear mercenary for that government."

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House
"Can I get a minister to name this person?"

Hon. Julius Espat - Cayo South Representative
"It is ridiculous that a member of the house cannot speak about good governance in this country. its thieves you have over there."

House Speaker Mike Peyrefitte then got what he wanted when Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred Elrington named Espat, getting him suspended from the House.

Hon. Wilfred Elrington - Minister of Foreign Affairs
"If a member shows disregard for the authority of the chair or abuses the rules of the house by persistently and willfully obstructing the business of the house or otherwise, the speaker shall direct the attention of the house there to mentioning the name of the member concerned. The speaker shall then call upon a minister to move that Mr. so and so to be suspended of the services of the house. It is premised on the issue as to whether or not a member shows disregard for the authority of the chair. If you replay the tape, you can't excuse his conduct. I call upon the speaker to suspend you."

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House
"Member, according to the rules, I kindly ask you to leave the premises of the house."

The police tried to reason with Espat, who defiantly chose to hold his ground. The police may have realized that it would become an ugly scene as they tried to forcibly remove an Elected Representative for the first time in Belize's Parliamentary history. That prompts them to try to remove the media, most-likely so as to prevent the ugly scene from being caught on camera. 7News Director Jules Vasquez tried to resist and he was also dragged out.

And then, it was Julius Espat's turn, in the absence of the media, but in full view of his fellow PUP colleagues and their cell phones.

Of course, he says it was orchestrated to block him from speaking on the Auditor General's report. But, just maybe, he was hoping to use his parliamentary privilege as a shield.

Hon. Julius Espat - Cayo South Representative
"It's a lot of pages to review, it's close to a thousand pages but it's easy to review because every page that you have there is signs of corruption and it's not that we're inventing it, the auditor general was quite specific. She quotes in the law that they did things that were improper. But listen to me today in the house and you'll have an idea as I can say more in there than I can say out here."

Opposition Calls For Removal of House Speaker

Tonight Belizeans are still recovering from the stunning images coming out of Friday's house meeting where police forcibly ejected PUP representative Julius Espat from his seat on the opposition bench, and a police officer fired a live round to scare off a small group of protestors who were charging towards the National Assembly building.

Those events made history - and now the PUP want to force another kind of history: they want to Speaker of the House Michael Peyrefitte to resign or be removed because of the events of Friday afternoon. And they want him to apologize to Julius Espat - both of which have never happened before. Today at a press conference at party headquarters, opposition leader John Briceno laid out his party's demands:

Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition - PUP
"Today we are here to serve notice that we have had enough and we will take it no more. What happened in the House of Representatives last week Friday was not only a national embarrassment and a disgrace, but also a direct calculated attack on our Belizean democracy. Hon. Espat was exposing the hypocrisy of the Prime Minister an unprecedented corruption by the UDP administration. He was doing his job. He was serving the people and so we demand an apology from the Speaker, the immediate lifting of the suspension of Honorable Julius Espat and the restoration of all his rights and privileges as a member. Ladies and gentlemen of the press, the events at last Friday's meeting of the House of Representatives was an obscene abuse of the power of power by the Speaker with the complicity of the UDP government. The Speaker showed his bias and unrestrained acts of intimidation against members of the Opposition. A disgraced the office of the Speaker, he brought the house into disrepute and he is a complete disgrace. It is clear that on Friday he had no right to call for the naming of the member for Cayo South who had already apologized. It was the Speaker who was out of order. This will not be allowed to continue. Enough! The Hon. Michael Peyrefitte has completely lost the confidence of the Opposition as Speaker. We therefore demand the immediate removal of Michael Peyrefitte as speaker."

The PUP also said that it is filing a constitutional motion to challenge the actions of the speaker.

Hon. Musa Says Media Should Not Have Been Moved

img src="//" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5" border="3" align="right"> And the PUP's also say that the media were wrongfully removed. As we've shown you, the police pushed out the media, and dragged out our news News Director Jules Vasquez on his back. Jules's position was that the police don't have the authority to eject the press - only the Speaker does, and we certainly weren't going to go quietly so that the cops could then eject Julius Espat without having the press witness that piece of history. Today - perhaps not surprisingly - the PUP sided with the media:...

Hon. Kareem Musa, PUP - Caribbean Shores
"Because the speaker before leaving his chair did not clear the media from the gallery and so the police officers, I don't know whose instructions they were acting on, then acted unlawfully. Because Jules Vasquez is right. He had all right to be where he was recording history."

Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition - PUP
"Let me as the Leader of the Opposition condemn the disgraceful and abusive treatment of the media by the authorities at last Friday's meeting. The national assembly is the people's house. It is the place where we conduct the business of the nation, so to have the media thrown out is such a violent manner was wrong. There is no doubt it was clearly an intentional act designed by the UDP to cover up the UDP's disgusting and illegal behavior which transpired after the media was forcibly removed from the national assembly."

PUP Says Speaker Made Multiple Errors in Ejecting Espat

And today the PUP gave it's legal opinion on both the forcible ejection of Cayo South's Julius Espat and the rough-handed removal of the press from the House Chamber. Starting with the Espat incident, where he was named by Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington - the PUP says that the House Speaker had his procedure all mixed up. PUP Deputy Kareem Musa explains his interpretation of events:...

Hon. Kareem Musa, PUP - Caribbean Shores
"The Hon. Julius was very emotional, there was a back and forth and he did say something that offended the house speaker. Now, section 44 3 deals with when something offensive is said in the house and that is called the withdrawal of the member for the day's sitting. That is the particular section that the honorable house speaker should have applied and if I may read that section, it says "the speaker shall order any member to withdraw immediately from the house during the remainder of the day's sitting and may direct such steps to be taken as required to enforce such order: A) where the conduct of such member is grossly disorderly or B) where such a member has used objectionable abusive insulting or offensive words or language or unparliamentarily expressions and on being called to order has refuse to withdraw such words or language or expressions and has not offered an apology for the use thereof to the satisfaction of the house.""

"Now the two senior parliamentarians realized that Mike Peyrefitte was offended because he kept saying "I will not hear you honorable member, I don't want to hear from you, because of what you told me, you told me that I am being paid to block you." So he was offended. What we need to realize here is that the honorable member Hon. Julius wanted to apologize and that is what this section says, that you are to be offered the right to apologized and the house meeting, the business of the people is to continue. But the speaker was so irate, he was so offended that he decided to take a drastic step and so it's not the withdrawal because that withdrawal would have been for the day. He did not apply this section of the law. He went to naming a member which is not applicable in this situation, because this requires that Julius Espat, the member for Cayo South disregarded the authority of the speaker. For instance, had the speaker said 'honorable member desist from representation and sit down' and Julius continued with his presentation, then he shows he has disregard for the order of the house speaker. This section says and this is the one that deals with naming, this is the drastic measure employed by Mr. Peyrefitte - "if a member shows disregard for the authority of the chair or abuses the rules of the house by persistently and willfully obstructing the business of the house or otherwise, the speaker shall direct the attention of the house thereto mentioning by name the member concerned, the speaker shall then call upon a minister to move" and that Mr. Julius Espat be suspended from the services of the house."

"Now again, fought with irregularities. The procedure applied by Hon. Sedi Elrington and the speaker of the house fought with irregularities, because Sedi Elrington, the foreign minister did not call Julius Espat by name and that is what he was legally bound to do. After Mr. Elrington, if he had so complied with these rules and he had said the Hon. Julius Espat's name, it says that the speaker shall forthwith then put the question. Meaning he have to had put it to a vote. So after Sedi Elrington had said Julius Espat's name, if he had so done so, then Mike Peyrefitte ought to have put it to a vote to the house and say all those in favor of suspending Julius Espat say, I, all those against say, nay. That also was never done. Mike Peyrefitte picked up from his seat and abandoned his post."

So, what's the House Speaker's response to all this? Well, this afternoon, he spoke with us via telephone, and he told us that the PUP is unfairly accusing him of trying to muzzle them in the House on Friday, when that is the furthest thing from the truth. He told us that on Tuesday - three days before the House Meeting - he spoke with both Julius Espat and John Briceno via phone. He said that he attempted to do some housekeeping related to the Auditor General's reports because he knew that they would bring it up, and he wanted to ensure that they were keeping in line with the Standing Orders of the House. He said that he asked them if they were going to debate it, as soon as it was tabled or if they would choose to speak on it on the adjournment.

Peyrefitte told us that he was willing to allow them 4 bites at the cherry if they had decided to debate, since the Auditor General had produced 4 reports. He said that neither Briceno nor Espat could give him an immediate answer, and they promised to get back to him later in the week, but they never did. Peyrefitte said that they did agree that if they were going to debate it, they would allow the Minister of State Beverly Castillo to respond even though she is only a Minister of State.

He said that during the ejection of Julius Espat, Briceno came and spoke with him, and he told them that he was more than willing to allow them to return to the house and debate the report if they so choose. They walked out, and ended the House Meeting.

So, by his account, he bent over backwards to accommodate the Opposition to speak about the Auditor General's reports, so long as they followed the rules. He added that he was upset that they would now tell lies on him saying that he told Julius Espat not to bring up the Prime Minister the day before. He stressed that they spoke on Tuesday, and not on Wednesday or Thursday.

Channel 7

Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!

Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!

Things to do

Daily News
Daily Weather

Classified Ads
San Pedro Sun
Ambergris Today
SP Town Council
Channel 7
Channel 5
Love FM
The Reporter
Caye Caulker

TV Newscasts
Radio Stations

Click for our
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites

Event Guides
Event Calendar
Specials & Events
Things to Do
iTravel Belize
Paradise Theater

San Pedro Scoop!
Tia Chocolate
My Beautiful Belize
I-Travel Belize
Belize Adventure
Belize Hub
Romantic Travel
Bound for Belize
Conch Creative
As The Coconuts Drop
More Blogs...
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites
Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
Lil� Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31
Cayo Espanto
Click for Cayo Espanto, and have your own private island
More Links
Click for exciting and adventurous tours of Belize with Katie Valk!
Mini Chat
Who's Online Now
1 registered members (1 invisible), 33 guests, and 11 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Statistics
Most Online1,262
Jun 10th, 2007 HELP! Visitor Center Goods & Services San Pedro Town Message Board Lodging Diving Fishing Things to Do History Maps Phonebook Belize Business Directory Picture of the Day

The opinions and views expressed on this board are the subjective opinions of Ambergris Caye Message Board members
and not of the Ambergris Caye Message Board its affiliates, or its employees.

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0