Hon. Mark King Caught Up In Corozal Casino Chaos

Posted By: Marty

Hon. Mark King Caught Up In Corozal Casino Chaos - 02/06/13 02:10 PM

Gets Suspended w/o Pay!

Lake Independence area Representative Mark King rose to public prominence for his volatile public behaviour - and tonight that volatility has him in the Prime Minister's dog House and facing multiple criminal charges.

Last night King was caught up in what might be called a "hot mess" at the Princess Casino near the Belize Mexico border. 7news has been following the story since morning and Jules Vasquez reports:..

Jules Vasquez reporting
This is the Princess Casino just outside the Corozal Free Zone and right next to the Belize Mexico Bridge.

It's the last stop before you get to the bridge - and reports say this is where Mark King and a number of associates were this morning at 2:00 am. That's when one of his male associates was reportedly caught with a female in the men's bathroom - and that man was ejected from the Casino.

Reports say that King became incensed at this and had a temper tantrum - ripping down decorations inside the casino, berating staff and even assaulting the manager. We are told King ended up sitting on the floor of the Casino.

Eventually he and his companions were thrown out - which is when multiple reports say shots were fired outside the casino as an act of defiance.

We stress that the Casino management denies that anything happened inside - and pointed us to this police booth where they say most of the acting up happened.

From there we are told that King and his entourage headed to the border station where they had a confrontation with police who were trying to arrest one of the men in an unruly group. Reliable reports say one of King's group was detained and King then jumped into the police pickup.

He could not be reached for comments despite numerous attempts - and the police press office conveniently omitted his name form the official release on the incident.

The most we know officially comes from a Cabinet release which says that "Mark King was involved in behavior not consistent with his obligations as a Minister of State."

It adds that police "will be laying charges of disorderly conduct and threatening words on…King." We are told he may also be charged with aggravated assault. By midday the Prime Minister had announced King's three month suspension without pay.

The only man police did mention in their sanitized report was this man, 22 year old Diego Witz Jr. According to police, he was the first person escorted out of the Casino at 2:30 am - who police witnessed trying to hit one of the security guards. A PC Ramos intervened and Diego Witz allegedly pushed him and punched him in the face. Witz Jr. was subdued and held until this afternoon at 2:30 when he was taken to Corozal Magistrate's court. He was read a single count of ?Assaulting PC Ramos and pleaded not guilty. He was granted bail of four thousand dollars and will re-appear on April 16th. Despite repeated requests form the media, he refused to comment.

The relationship between King and Witz is not known but they were both thrown out of the casino at around the same time. Corozal police refused comment saying they need to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation. We note also that the Prime Minister's Office announced King's charges before police had even mentioned his name in a police report.

Police are presently reviewing footage from multiple security cameras - namely those inside the casino - which show King at the height of his tantrum and the footage from the Belize border station. Both the Casino and the Border Management agency refused to release those surveillance videos.

The swift decision from Cabinet said that King would "issue a statement of apology to his constituency, colleagues, and the country." Well, by 5:00 pm, he did. The statement appears less than contrite; it says quote, "My fellow Belizeans, by now you would have learnt through the media that I was involved in an incident while socializing at the Princess Hotel & Casino in Corozal, which resulted in a breach of the peace and the imposition of charges against me by the Police." It continues,

"While I make no admission of wrong-doing and will take all necessary steps to be properly represented at the trial of those charges, I want you all to know that I am very sorry and deeply regret that this incident occurred."

It concludes, quote, "I apologize to you, the Belizean people, members of my constituency and to all my Cabinet colleagues for this unfortunate incident." King is expected to be arraigned on those criminal charges at The Corozal Magistrate's Court tomorrow - becoming only the second Minister or Minister of State to face criminal charges. Marcial Mes was charged criminally during the last PUP term. Until the time of his suspension, King was Minister of state in the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation, Poverty Alleviation and Peace in Progress.

And while the PM took immediate punitive measures, the PUP says it's not enough, in fact, it's not even close. In a statement, the PUP calls the response "feeble." It adds that quote, "Elected officials, and in particular Ministers of Government, should be held at a higher standard than ordinary Belizeans…. As such, the PUP views the sanction imposed by the Prime Minister as a slap on the wrist and calls for the immediate removal of Mark King from office." End of quote.

The PUP says that King is also guilty of a breach of the Code of Conduct under Section 121 of the Constitution of Belize. Observers point out that King has had a long history of bizarre public and political behaviour; for example, walking on the railing of the national assembly. He also, very famously, went on a rant against his own Mayor in 2008.

Channel 7

Honorable Mark King issues statement regarding Princess Hotel & Casino Incident

My fellow Belizeans, by now you would have learnt through the media that I was involved in an incident while socializing at the Princess Hotel & Casino in Corozal, which resulted in a breach of the peace and the imposition of charges against me by the Police.

While I make no admission of wrong-doing and will take all necessary steps to be properly represented at the trial of those charges, I want you all to know that I am very sorry and deeply regret that this incident occurred.

I apologize to you, the Belizean people, members of my constituency and to all my Cabinet colleagues for this unfortunate incident.

Posted By: Marty

Re: Hon. Mark King Caught Up In Corozal Casino Chaos - 02/06/13 05:51 PM

Mark King received bail for offenses committed on the early morning of February 4th, 2013.

He has been charged. Today the Corozal Daily was at the Magistrate
Court but no appearance was made by the King as the charges have
not been filed in court.

Arraignment and formal appearance in the Corozal Magistrate court
will be expected tomorrow Thursday February 7th, 2013 and not today
as was previously reported.

Editor’s Note: It will be interesting to note how the separation of powers
between the state and the police unfolds in this unfortunate incident. Keep an

Courtesy: Corozal Daily (…Sometimes)
Posted By: Katie Valk

Re: Hon. Mark King Caught Up In Corozal Casino Chaos - 02/06/13 08:00 PM

If GOB intends to reinstate, he should be required to submit to substance abuse and anger mgmt programs and have his gun license revoked for the duration.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Hon. Mark King Caught Up In Corozal Casino Chaos - 02/07/13 02:23 PM

King Apologizes Again, but Maintains No Wrongdoing

Mark King is expected to appear in Corozal Magistrate's Court tomorrow - 48 hours after police assessed him with three charges. Those are aggravated assault, disorderly conduct and threatening words.

The charges arise out of a bizarre event that unfiled at the Princess Casino at the northern border early Tuesday morning. According to reports, King became enraged that a member of his entourage had been thrown out of the Casino and eyewitnesses say he exploded into a wild tantrum - which continued all the way to the border station where he confronted police.

Today King sent out another apology on Facebook. His first - official - one didn't show much contrition, in fact he said he did nothing wrong. And his second - unofficial one posted on his facebook page at 11:00 am said, quote, "A big thank you to all those who…supported me and didn't judge me. For those of u who did, I accepted to be charged as myself or no one is above the law. I remain firm and sincere with my apology to this nation where the peace was breached..."

But, King makes it clear, he's not the one to blame: "I continue to keep firm I did nothing wrong." And he adds, quote, "my apology for trying to save and innocent citizen in an event that went most unfortunate."

So he says he was trying to save someone but he sure had a funny way of doing it; eyewitnesses tell us he tore down the decorations at the Princess Casino, accosted the manager, sat on the floor, tussled with security, and then got into it with police.

Today the Prime Minister discussed the King quandary, and its implications:

Prime Minister Dean Barrow - Prime Minister Of Belize
"Well, I did hear that Mr. King intervened when the security guards were trying to eject somebody who was part of the group he was with. I did hear that when that person was ultimately put into the pan of a police pickup, that Mr. King jumped into the pickup, again saying that he didn't think that it was fair for his friend to be arrested and taken away by the police. That's the sort of report that I got."

Jules Vasquez
"Sir, the Opposition has said that you have been too tame, that in fact, he should be removed from office completely."

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"What else would they say? I seem to recollect the Carlos Dias incident. I want the Opposition to tell me when it is that in government, their prime minister ever disciplined any minister. I have now done this for a third time, and I believe that I can say with absolute truth that I act in a manner that distinguishes the conduct of my administration from of the Opposition. And I will leave it there."

Jules Vasquez
"There are those in the UDP who would attest that this individual has been out of control by his public actions, and by his not-so-public actions for some time now, and that being in office has only perhaps inflated his exposure to this type of incident."

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"I have no knowledge that. I know that when he was in Opposition, and was fighting for the cause, that he was a brave soul who would engage in public displays meant to dramatize his opposition. And, I can clearly have no complaint on that score. In terms of since he's become a minister, really, I have found Mr. King to be extremely self-contained. The thing is, Jules, that clearly what was done was not well-done - to put it mildly. We have acted. Mr. King has been subjected to my personal sanction. He must now face the courts, where there is a chance that he will punished a second time over. He has apologized. He asked me again when I was on the radio just now to reiterate that apology. While accepting the gravity of the situation, I don't think we should engage in a public lynching. It is as I said; the courts will deal with him. I have dealt with him, but he has been man enough to come forward, while preserving his options in terms of the trial, to say look, 'I apologize; I am sorry, and we are believers in second chances."

And while the Prime Minister is forgiving, now it's up to the courts. Tomorrow, King will be arraigned on those charges we mentioned at the top of the story: aggravated assault, disorderly conduct and threatening words. The aggravated assault is the most serious but it does not refer to a firearm assault; it refers to an assault on a police officer - and any such assault is considered aggravated.

Today the Association of Justices of the Peace and Commissioners of The Supreme Court issued a statement saying that quote,"As a Justice of the Peace Mr. King has violated the JP Code of Ethics". It concludes, grimly": "Let us hope that justice is served." And while they join a chorus of disapprobation, we note that the association regularly has no comment when JP's are implicated in major acts of immigration and land fraud.

Channel 7

Posted By: Marty

Re: Hon. Mark King Caught Up In Corozal Casino Chaos - 02/08/13 02:06 PM

PM says suspension of Mark King is political punishment enough

Princess Casino – Corozal

The involvement of Junior Minister Mark King in a self described “breach of the peace” incident in the wee hours of Tuesday morning in Corozal continues to be the focus of discussions around the country. Today, Prime Minister Barrow told Love News that bearing in mind that court system will be allowed to run its due course, the swift political punishment he meted out on Tuesday morning is sufficient enough, given the gravity of Minister King’s transgression.

While King is suspended from Cabinet, he remains the duly elected area representative for Lake Independence. The Prime Minister says that the fact that he acted swiftly to deal with the situation is an indication that his government does not sanction misbehavior by elected officials. Mr. Barrow says that he expects that at the end of the suspension period, Minister King will resume his official duties.

One person has been formally arraigned as a result of yesterday’s incident at the Princess Casino in the Corozal Free Zone. Twenty two year old Diego Witz Jr was arraigned on a single charge of assaulting a police officer. He pleaded not guilty to the charge, was released on a bail of four thousand dollars and ordered to return to court on April sixteenth.


Posted By: Marty

Re: Hon. Mark King Caught Up In Corozal Casino Chaos - 02/08/13 02:14 PM

Amateur Video Shows The Momentary Madness Of Mark King

The video of Mark King throwing a tantrum at the Princess Casino exists but Casino management isn't even admitting anything happened din there, much less sharing the video. But tonight, 7News has obtained amateur video footage of the fracas at the border crossing, where king followed police after they picked up his associate on Tuesday morning at 2:30 am.

As you may be able to make out in the footage, Mark King is the man in the maroon and white shirt being pulled by his shirt collar by a woman.

One of King's companions is trying to block the photographer from videoing the scene. If you look closely, he is in a confrontation with a police officer, and other bystanders are trying to get him under control.

He is swinging his hand at someone in the background, and as the frame cuts, you may notice that police are trying to talk him down. He is eventually placed into the pan of a pickup truck, and that's where the person with the camera ends the footage.

Hon. King Arraigned In Court

Today, that Mark King Saga ended up in court, 2 days after the minister of state was charged for an incident that started at the Princess Casino near the Corozal Free Zone and ended up at the border crossing.

During that time King is accused of throwing a wild tantrum in the casino and then assaulting police as they tried to arrest one of his friends. Today he became only the second sitting member of cabinet in memory to be brought up on criminal charges as he was escorted to the Corozal Magistrate's court. Daniel Ortiz was there and he has this rpeort:..

Daniel Ortiz reporting
King arrived at court promptly at 9 a.m., and along with his entourage, went directly inside the building. In his haste, trying to elude the cameras, he ended up dodging into the clerk of court's office. He quickly realized that he was in the wrong area, and he then moved to the court room area.

It is customary that Magistrate's Court starts with older matters where adjournments are dealt with first. But not today, Magistrate Clive Lino called up King's matter as soon as he formally opened the session.

The 38 year old minister moved to the defendant's area, where he was read his charges in the presence of observers and his attorney, Ellis Arnold. According to Police Constable Nelson Ramos, on Tuesday, February 5, King committed an aggravated assault against him.

Police say that during that incident, he engaged in disorderly conduct, but perhaps the most attention-grabbing charge is the use of threatening words.

Again, PC Ramos alleges that while trying to intervene and get King under control, King uttered the words, quote, 'Ah Feel like shoot you with mih gun.' The allegation is a damning one for the Minister in charge of the Gang Truce - now Peace in Progress.

He was granted bail of $4,000 by Magistrate Lino, and he must return to court of April 16. Again, there was another reminder of the high office King holds because after the arraignment, he was allowed to wait inside the clerk's office for over an hour.

He enjoyed the amenities of the office area where he and his entourage waited for the bail signatory to show up to finalize the document. It is a stark difference in treatment in relation to other defendants awaiting bail because they are usually placed in a holding cell area until the documents are complete.

After he was free to leave, members of the media tried to no avail to get comments from him, despite being an elected member of government, and perhaps obligated to answer to the public.

Daniel Ortiz
"Minister King sir, can we get a comment from you? Sir you are a Minister of the State; a Minister of the people."

Ellis Arnold, Attorney
"No comment to nobody. Respect that for me please."

Daniel Ortiz
"But he has only given in different text form."

Ellis Arnold, Attorney
"He will not give any comment under hos attorney's advice. Excuse me."

"You have only given a press release, will you a say a verbal sorry? When can we expect a verbal sorry from you sir?"

After that, he moved into the police station to sign a few more documents, and he left in his vehicle, quiet and contained.

There was a brief moment when the media was following him, where he seemed willing to relent and address the nation, but at the urging of his attorney, he dropped that idea, and stuck to the plan.

King joins Marcial Mes as the only two members of Cabinet to face criminal charges. Mes, the PUP Representative for Toledo West at the time knocked down two children in 2007 - and was suspended from Cabinet until his case was decided on. His case was eventually thrown out.

King becomes the second UDP minister of state to be suspended for three months without pay. The same fate was dealt to Juan Coy. Without pay in this case means without pay for his Cabinet duties. He continues to receive his salary as a member of the house - which is about $3,500 dollars per month.

Even if he is convicted King would not lose his seat, because only those who are sentenced to jail terms are disqualified form sitting in the house. The charges in this case are too minor for that.

Channel 7

Posted By: Marty

Re: Hon. Mark King Caught Up In Corozal Casino Chaos - 02/09/13 02:37 PM

A Look-Back At Hon. Mark King's Public Life

Mark king a look back from 7News Belize on Vimeo.

Hulse's Cabinet Colleague Mark King, now on suspension has been making news all this week. But, in truth, his career in public life, has always been newsworthy. King isn't like any political newcomer we've ever seen: he's brash, bold outspoken, and daring - his critics say, he's crazy. Maybe all those traits led to an embarrassing event at the Princess Casino in Corozal on Tuesday morning… Tonight we look back at his some of his more outrageous moments since he burst on the scene in 2006 - to try and see if Tuesday's events could have been foretold. Jules Vasquez reports:..

Jules Vasquez reporting
When we first met Mark King in February of 2006 - he wore a sheepish look - and that's because he was seeking nomination as a city council candidate in a city in which he was not even a registered voter.

February, 2006
Stuart Leslie, Chief Elections Officer
"Basically Mr. King is registered in the Belize Rural Central Division and so he did not appear on our list for Belize City."

Jules Vasquez
"Certainly you must have strong words for candidate."

Hon. Dean Barrow
"Absolutely. I don't how that could have happened but I don't want to make too much of it, all is well that ends well."

It ended well for King; he won the election, but just 7 weeks later - he was threatening to resign:

Indira Craig
7NEWS has obtained a copy of a letter written to the mayor by councilor Mark King in which King gives notice of his intent to resign from the council.

He didn't resign, but within a year, he had started boycotting council meetings:

July, 2007, Mark King, Belize City Councilor
"I must differ on issues whereby it comes to issues within the City Council. I know there is a little terminology that Mark King likes to give trouble. I am not a trouble maker."

But by August of 2008, he would prove himself to be one in one of the most damaging and sensational interviews ever:

Mark King, Belize City Councillor
"I want Mayor Moya to resign immediately, before the next election, and I want Mayor Moya to apologize to the Belizean citizens. I think she should be expelled from party politics in the UDP immediately."

"In order for many to live, some must die. Martin Luther King took that stand. I can in no way be that man but today I stand firm to tell the residents of Belize that I am willing to take the stand to let them know the truth. After this interview I don't know what grounds I will stand with the UDP but I can tell you when I leave here the Belizean public has the truth and nothing but the truth and that is something I will always be remembered for."

"And no politician comes out and speaks the way I do because they know they are going to be chopped. I feel right now my head is on the chopping block, then again Jules you know my military background, so let it be.

"In 2006 thirteen thousand and odd people voted for Mark King and those nine councillors. We must give them something back and today I bring it raw and uncut to them."

"Today I might go down as a fallen soldier but I do it with joy, I do it with laughter. I do it for my country and I do it for my party any day, any time."

14 Months later - no longer an elected councilor - King was on the picket line with sanitation workers against his party, or, more specifically, the UDP council he used to be a part of:

Mark King, Belize City Councillor
"I think city councilors can pay themselves and that amounts to over $30,000 every time they pay themselves and I think that money can be used to pay our workers, our Belize City workers."

"Look councillors, if unu tek unu stipend this month, unu really unjust to the Belizean workers out here. Give them the same stipend that you all are getting."

Because of stunts like that King was banned from running for office for 3 years - an when he re-emerged in 2012 they still didn't want him:

Mark King
"The letter states that I have been disapproved to run as a candidate under United Democratic Party for the Lake I division."

Jules Vasquez
"But Mr. King, apparently nobody wants to tell you but I will tell you what I have heard from "big" people in the party that they think you are crazy. They really do, It's not my opinion, its what's they are saying to me "Mark King crazy, we will not allow him to run because he is crazy" Do you accept? Do you know that they feel that way?"

Mark King
"Jules so you are saying right now if any Belizean out there applies to join the United Democratic Party and they tell you that that man is crazy. Let me tell you why the United Democratic is afraid for me, it's because I have video and audio recordings and proof of everything that I say and do in this party."

"Jules, I will tell you right now that I come in peace, I have on my white gloves and I ask the United Democratic Party to work with me when that gloves is on because I don't want to go further than that, it won't be good for any of us."

And it seems that threat was enough - the UDP capitulated and they let Mark King run - again he won, and 6 months after the elections he issued the kind of deathblow that would make even Manuel Esquivel wince: he announced that hundreds would be fired:

Today one man, a first time representative - at that - stood isolated in a small office conference room - far from the grand hotel halls where events had been held in the past:

Hon. Mark King
"As the minister task with this grand responsibility it pinches my heart to know that the program must come to an end as all other things. However reality steps in, we simply don't have the money."

It's still not clear if King went out on his own to make that bold statement, but he took a bullet that no rational politician would if they had a choice - which is what may have earned him the Prime Minister's apparent admiration:

Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"In terms of since he's become a minister, really, I have found Mr. King to be extremely self-contained."

And, also, through his wild days, it seems he also won himself a place in the PM's heart:

Jules Vasquez
"There are those in the UDP who would attest that this individual has been out of control by his public actions, and by his not-so-public actions for some time now, and that being in office has only perhaps inflated his exposure to this type of incident."

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"I have no knowledge of that. I know that when he was in Opposition, and was fighting for the cause, that he was a brave soul who would engage in public displays meant to dramatize his opposition."

And now it has come to this - a public fight with police, following a tantrum in a casino - was the UDP right in 2011, was he unfit to hold office in the first place.

Now he faces history - could he be the first member of Cabinet to be convicted on criminal charges? But with this footage he may already be convicted in the court of public opinion.

King returns to court on April 16th.

Hon. King And The Chaos He Caused

Last night, 7news showed you exclusive video of Mark King's brawl at the border. This followed the tantrum he is reported to have thrown in the Princess Casino at the border. At the Princess, he is reported to have confronted Casino staff and security, but the border is where he got into it with police. And we don't have to say allegedly in this case because we have the video which shows him wrestling with a police officer. Last night we got that amateur cell phone video just before the news; today, we've had more time to analyses and dissect it. Daniel Ortiz did that this morning - and here's his play by play of that confrontation:

king altercation from 7News Belize on Vimeo.

Coming out of that, Police Constable Nelson Ramos, charged King for committing an aggravated assault against him. Police continue that during that incident, he engaged in disorderly conduct, but perhaps the most attention-grabbing charge is the use of threatening words. Again, PC Ramos alleges that while trying to intervene and get King under control, King said, quote, 'Ah Feel like shoot you with mih gun.

He was granted bail of $4,000 DOLLARS.

It is notable that police also had a 4th charge of assaulting a police officer which they intended to bring against him. However, when Magistrate Lino read the charge to him, he told the court that he didn't know about it.

At that point, the police prosecutor informed the court that police will not be pressing that charge, so King didn't have to answer to that one.

We should note that a conviction of Aggravated Assault carries a sentence of two years imprisonment.

Channel 7

Posted By: Marty

Re: Hon. Mark King Caught Up In Corozal Casino Chaos - 08/02/13 10:11 AM

The King Speaks About “That Night” At Princess

Six months ago, on February third, Minister of State Mark King had a major incident in the Princess Casino in Corozal. Reports say he threw a wild tantrum after security tried to put out his friends – and then repeated it when police came. King was criminally charged for aggravated assault, disorderly conduct and threatening words, but maintained his silence – even after he was acquitted in mid-June.

Today though, after months of requests for an interview, he invited us to his political clinic in the heart of Lake Independence on Mahogany Street. He told us he’d take all questions and indeed, he didn’t dodge. The first thing we wanted to know was what happened that night at the Casino.

Jules Vasquez
“What happened on February 4th in the Princess Casino in Corozal? We’ve heard so many reports – what is your account?”

Hon. Mark King
“My account Jules is that I wear two cap – I wear a cap as a Minister of State and I wear a cap as a Justice of the Peace. When I got into the incident it was to actually maintain the peace, however, I was dragged into the incident on a bad note and that was what caused me to end up into the incident. I am sorry I got dragged into the incident but according to you, I did nothing wrong. I say that because if you read the Justice of the Peace – it tells you exactly what you can advise a police man to do. So if anyone would have knowledge of that – even going to court, I felt completely and utterly honest to myself that I did nothing wrong. So at the end of the day I knew – I would have succeeded and things would have been okay. I watched the end game Jules, so at the end of the day – all the rumors and Facebook and what Belize believe in – that is what have them living the life they live. I rise above pettiness, I rise above haters and I rise above jealousy – I rise above the media envy in terms of Channel 5 and PUP and their nonsense. You can say all you want about Mark King – do you see where I am? I am in Lake – I, taking care of people that need help every single day, even if it’s a pack bread – that is how I operate.”

Jules Vasquez
“We’ve received multiple reports that you threw a tantrum in the place, that you tore the place down.”

Hon. Mark King
“You come and ask me what I did and now you’re telling me what I did and it doesn’t balance off, you understand.”

Jules Vasquez
“Okay – now I have a video of you at the border.”

Hon. Mark King
“I saw a video where I was walking to the police with my hand up and I was asking the police and he was pulling my shirt and I pulled it back down, that’s the video I saw. So the interpretation of the video and the editing that you did to it, sort of put another aspect on things and a million other people put another million aspect to it. So at the end of the day what I think, is not necessarily what you think – but when we go to courts – then that’s the law.”

Jules Vasquez
“It looks like you were in the middle of a tossup.”

Hon. Mark King
“It looks like but what it looks like doesn’t have to be. I can’t tell you what you look like because then that is my idea.”

Jules Vasquez
“Did you have anything to do with PC Nelson Ramon, PC Suazo – not remembering? Well in the case of Ramos – he didn’t remember any of the assault and that he accused you and then the other person could not identify you.”

Hon. Mark King
“Jules you know what – I will not discredit our police department, as you can see even after that the commissioner took actions and I was very proud of our commissioner to have done that. At the end of the day, I am in no way going to mingle into the court’s affair – for nobody. If the police officers want to do the things the way they do then I cannot instruct them otherwise.”

Jules Vasquez
“Did you have any influence on them or did anyone do it on your behalf?”

Hon. Mark King
“Absolutely not – I don’t think anyone can influence the police like that and if do – you can inform me how.”

Jules Vasquez
“There are ways, I’m certain.”

Hon. Mark King
“Wow, that’s a new one to me Jules.”

Jules Vasquez
“You were placed on suspension and there was talk that the UDP would have to find a replacement for you because a) you wouldn’t make it through and b) you weren’t stable. There were reports that you weren’t stable from big people in the UDP. How do you respond to that? What was really happening and what will really happen with your candidacy going forward.”

Hon. Mark King
“Jules does are very petty – as far as I’m concerned I have no problem with people thinking whatever they want. People talk politics – as you can see, I do the work and so whatever they say doesn’t bother me. You told me that I was a crazy man and I agreed with you because at the end of the day politics in Belize is local – it doesn’t matter what the wider aspect thinks about you, it is what you do in your division and at the end of the day I represent my people. The people that I assist in this area love me and they love the UDP.”

Jules Vasquez
“Are you still a patron at Casino nightspots? Have you learned anything that happened in February?”

Hon. Mark King
“Of course Jules, we all fall at times and then we rise but it’s not how much times you fall but it’s how quick you get up back and it’s not a lot of people that can get it back when they fall. You know I’ve fallen many times, that is precisely the reason that I am a down to earth person. I go around Belize and I am at every place that I can possibly be to be amongst my Belizean. Why should I just stay up there in an AC room as a Minister?”

Jules Vasquez
“The last I checked you lived at the end of the Prime Minister’s street which is Seashore Drive. Looking at the house, it’s one of the nicest mansions in the city and a reasonable question would be – how can you afford to live there?”

Hon. Mark King
“That is personal and I won’t answer.”

Jules Vasquez
“But you are paid by the public too.”

Hon. Mark King
“Right and I think that I will say this to the whole ‘johnny public’ out there – everyone and especially Lake I knows that I help them from my business and politics is also where I receive my salary so it is only fair for me to treat myself nice. If a person had a board house and wants to move into a cement house – that’s no problem for me, you elevate your life the way you see it fit.”

Jules Vasquez
“But how can you afford it? I’m not trying to get into your business but you’re paid by the public’s purse.”

Hon. Mark King
“No no no – you have it wrong, I am paid by the public’s purse and my business. I won’t tell you the finances of my business because my business makes great money and that is one of the way how I suffice my people in the area too and that is my business.”

Jules Vasquez
“But it also makes great money based on the public contracts.”

Hon. Mark King
“Well I have to go like any old ‘johnny fela’ and apply for those contracts – sometimes when I get, I get good on them. I don’t put all my eggs in one basket, so I’m a survivor Jules.”

Tomorrow we’ll have part two of our interview with King where he discusses his prospects in the divisions and the challenges he may face from Cordel Hyde and from within his own party – where there are known pockets of discontent with the first term Representative.

Channel 7

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