Since last Wednesday, October 16, Prime Minister Dean Barrow has been out of the country attending a fundraiser for his wife Kim’s charity work and attending to his back problem. He left behind a mushrooming scandal involving a Minister of State whom he had personally delegated the right to sign nationality certificates among other duties, a right he used to grant such a certificate and passport to an accused criminal in South Korea and possibly many more, whom he has invited to resign his post as area representative, which he has so far refused to do. That scandal has now grown to cover an alleged visa quota for Government Ministers, with an insider coming forward with specific allegations against another Minister. And trouble followed the Prime Minister to Los Angeles, California. First, gossip website TMZ ambushed him outside a swanky restaurant and got him to suggest a change to parliamentary democracy for the United States. Then, amateur video of an address to Belizean-Americans in Los Angeles in which he spoke of rampant corruption at the Lands Department surfaced. All in all, it has not been a great week for the Prime Minister, and the thought of facing the media again on his return on Friday may have resulted in his dodging us for the first time in memory, running the media gauntlet to his personal vehicle. Here are photos of the Prime Minister’s landing, as UDP supporters blocks an area near the airport in waiting for the PM.
“Alright, here we are trying to wait on…to speak to the Prime Minister but he’s gone!”
The Prime Minister was greeted by a few party faithful, numbering between 30 and 50, armed with party flags and placards although they were not allowed to bring them into the airport compound for security reasons. Another group waited at the entrance to the Airport Road in Ladyville. We are told that this was planned in hasty meetings held through the night on Thursday. But the fact remains that other than in scheduled, official press conferences, one on October 10 in Belize City and the other on October 15 in Belmopan, displaying completely different attitudes, the Prime Minister has not spoken to the media impromptu since the day before the UDP National Party Council meeting in Belize City – October 4. We are left to wonder whether that was an official decision, or a circumstantial one.