Accusations of illicit activities at the Ministry of Immigration brought before the House

Accusations of illicit activities at the Ministry of Immigration was the hot topic at Friday’s meeting of the House of Representatives. After the Orders of the Day were executed, Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Francis Fonseca, rose and initiated a war of words that carried on for about an hour.

vlcsnap-2013-11-02-11h48m26s179Hon. Francis Fonseca- Leader of the Opposition

“Forty two days after the UDP have gone from staunchly defending the member for Cayo Northeast, came out and circled the wagons around him and said, we will protect him, we will stand with him, and in fact, the Honourable Prime Minister himself went down to Cayo Northeast for the first time!  People in Cayo northeast seh, “we finally get an opportunity to see the Prime Minister for the first time”, and it took a crisis and a scandal to get him to go down to Cayo Northeast.   And there it was…everybody saw it…it was obscene on the television screens the way all of them behave, but the Prime Minister of course has a tremendous responsibility because he is the Minister of Finance, and it was really, really obscene…the manner in which he behaved pledging millions of dollars to protect Mr. Penner and to protect the Cayo Northeast and to protect the UDP in the Cayo Northeast.   And it was not lost, Mr. Speaker, on the Belizean people…believe me.   Many, many, many, many, good people, not PUPs, but many independent minded people have commented very negatively about the behavior of our Honourable Prime Minister in Cayo Northeast.   Those monies are not the monies of the United Democratic Party and they are certainly not his monies.   So, they’ve gone from staunchly defending this man, circling the wagons saying they will defend him and stand with him and they will spend millions to keep him in office, to then facing the reality that this matter would not go away.   So, then, they went from there to calling for his resignation and citing new evidence.   Remember there were two press conferences in a matter of I think four or five days; one was on a Thursday; I believe the other one was on a Monday. Following this tour of Cayo Northeast.   And at the Monday press conference, the Prime Minister said, “well, we found new evidence…there have been new findings  of irregularities and that is why we have changed our position, that is why we can no longer support the representative for Cayo Northeast.   We are now calling upon him to resign from the United Democratic Party and to resign from the National Assembly.   What a change of position; what a change of heart in a matter of four days!   But what is scandalous, Mr. Speaker is that the Belizean people still don’t know what these so called irregularities are.   What is this new evidence?” 

Fonseca then went on to accuse the UDP of hiding Penner and even secretly encouraging him to remain in his seat as the Cayo Northeast Representative, while in the face of the public, calling for him to resign. But things got  even more heated during Fonseca’s presentation, where he was jeered by UDP supporters, after which a PUP supporter had to be escorted outside.

Hon. Francis Fonseca- Leader of the Opposition

“The man is hiding; he is hiding on the instructions of the United Democratic Party.   At the same time, we repeat that the member for the Cayo Northeast must resign; he must resign immediately from the National Assembly.   Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the United Democratic Party must stop playing games.   Publicly, they are trying to distance themselves from the member for  Cayo Northeast, trying to say as he has said, he must resign from the party, he must resign from the National Assembly.   Yet, we all know that privately they are saying to him, stay, stay.   So, publicly it is all a show, trying to distance themselves.   They want the best of both worlds, while privately they are saying, “bway, stay deh, don’t go anywhere.   We can’t afford to have any by-election right now in Cayo Northeast.   Over the next few days and weeks, we will be dialoguing even more with our social partners, seeking their support, seeking the support of the Belizean people as we step up our efforts and demands that this UDP government put their national interest ahead of their party political interest.   So, we thank all those Belizeans who came out today, more than a thousand Belizeans are out there firm.   And,,,you fraid fuh go out deh; I invite you fuh go out deh, fraid fuh go out deh, no?   Go out deh and face them; go out deh and face the people instead of running away from the people and running away from the media.   That seems to be the new modus operandis, running away from the media and bringing a few tugs to the airport to stand between the media and themselves.   Mr. Speaker, it is a sad day when our leaders are afraid to face their people.   We call on all Belizeans who love our beautiful country and we know there are so many of them who value our proud identity to join us in the fight ahead.   Mr. Speaker, this is not just politics.   It is about Belize and we at this side of the house, stand firmly on the side of the Belizean people and on the side of our Belizean Nationality and identity.   Thank you Mr, Speaker”.

The mayhem continued as the Prime Minister attempted to make a rebuttal.

vlcsnap-2013-11-02-11h33m37s216Hon. Dean Oliver Barrow- Prime Minister

“I used to think that from what I hear the member for the Cayo South is a good architect and I used to think good he would stick to being an architect but in view of the haplessness, the unconnectedness of his leader, he is appeared to be quite the orator!   And it is because the leader, Mr. Speaker, is absolutely weakas was just demonstrating a while ago!   But if I was to speak of the points as they were, that he made…again, was it Cyril Connor that use to talk of thin and watery freeze maker?   Mr. Leader, I will get the proper reference for you and ask you to have a look at it, but he began by saying that there is a massive corrupt and files are being destroyed?   The only files that we know to have been tampered with are the files that ended up in the possession of his caretaker, if that’s what you can call him, one Mr. Arthur Saldivar in the Belize Rural; north constituency.   We have made absolutely clear and I repeated it when I got up just now when I was talking in support of the bills that I had introduced, that concurrent investigations are taking place.   But I have here, for example, a letter of memorandum to the Director of Immigration and Nationality from the Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Diana Locke in his Ministry at the time (this is 30th October, 1992, when they said, no such thing was happening)   “Application for Economic Citizenship”;   Subject:   Grateful you process the attached application for economic citizenship under Section 11 of the Belize Nationality Act, in respect of the following:   Layal Nadshi Al-Ali-Alabed, approval has been given for waiver of fees and documentation, by the Minister!  You want me to read some more?  6 January 1993, “Grateful if you process Economic Citizenship to Mr Alexander Browoski.  Waver has been approved for those requirements and documents which were not forwarded herewith” And I can go on and on, Mr Speaker.”

said1.11.13Rt. Hon. Said Musa

“Mr Speaker, I insist that the Prime Minister withdraw that statement, in making an implication against me.’



speaker1.11.13Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House:

“Member, he didn’t say anything about you.”




Rt. Hon. Said Musa

“If the truth be told, and he should tell the nation, that when his Government under Esquivel returned to office he targeted me, and that is how they got Mr Nicholas to do a special audit, clearly a biased audit.  And that is why I refused to speak to him, because he well knows that a minister does not control or deal with the funding of Government.”

Hon. Francis Fonseca – Leader of the Opposition
“Mr. Speaker, point of order 385.”

Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House
“One second member. Members of the gallery, display some respect for the members.”

Hon. Francis Fonseca – Leader of the Opposition
“The Prime Minister is about to engage in another round of impunity suggesting that others on this side of the house are engage in illegal activities. Please, the Belizean people are sick and tired of this kind of rhetoric. Deal with the corruption in your own government! People don’t want you to be talking about Said Musa or anybody. The Belizean people are sick of that. You went to LA to complain about your Deputy Prime Minister – talk to the people of Belize about the corruption and rot eating away at this UDP Government, every single one of them. That is what the Belizean people want and expect you Mr. Prime Minister to deal with. Deal with the rot sitting beside you and next to you.”

Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House
“Leader of the opposition…”

vlcsnap-2013-11-02-12h24m22s234Hon. Michael Finnegan
“Mr. Speaker, try to bring everything under control because the Leader of the Opposition is behaving like a crazy man. What kind of nonsense is that?”

About the Author