At Tuesday’s press conference inside a packed Independence Hall, leader of the People’s United Party (PUP) and parliamentary minority, Francis Fonseca, was asked what moral authority they had to lead a charge for investigating the current immigration scandal at whose center is former Minister of State and embattled representative Elvin Penner. In defending the PUP’s position, Mr Fonseca said they are not only interested in talking about it, but in doing something about it.
Hon. Francis Fonseca- Leader of the Opposition
“We not only have the moral authority in our dues, but we have a duty and obligation to do so. I think you are falling victim to Mr. Barrow’s hind sight poach to Government. Mr. Barrow and the UDP and those who advice him… and… you may be among who advice him, they would love nothing more…they would love nothing more than for us to keep talking about what took place ten years ago, fifteen years ago, whatever. The reality is that you are right, the system is broken, it has been broken under both administrations, but we are saying, we are prepared to do something about it, and that gives us the moral authority”.
Earlier, in his prepared address, Francis Fonseca questioned the timing and motivation for the Government’s stunning and sudden turnaround on its wayward man in Cayo Northeast.
Hon. Francis Fonseca
“So, this is no act of bravery today; this is no act for standing for the people of Belize today. They waited until Penner, in their view, do them no harm. But believe me, from wherever he is, he will get the information back to Belize. And ladies and gentlemen, let us not forget that it is Prime Minister Barrow who we must hold responsible for this matter. It is Mr. Barrow who was negligent and reckless in purporting to confer authority on Mr. Penner, giving him the power to sign Nationality Certificates. For him to say, a he did last week Thursday, for him to say that he will regret this decision to the end of his days is just empty, false, self serving rhetoric. The evidence was clear; he knew Mr. Penner’s weakness…he knew the man’s weakness and yet, he facilitated that weakness. Barrow must be held responsible for Penner’s behavior!”
In demanding, among other things, separate procedural and criminal investigations and charges for the key players in the scandal, Francis Fonseca insisted that the Belizean nationality was not something to play around with as Elvin Penner is suggested to have done.
Hon. Francis Fonseca
“They have together collectively bastardized and cheapened our nationality by selling our Belizean identity, and they no only sell it to anybody out there. They have sold our national identity to criminals and international terrorists! That is the reality; that is the reality, brothers and sisters. The Prime Minister’s admission, and this is a very important issue as well, my friends: the Prime Minister’s admission that he warned ministers; he warned ministers; you heard him saying, e got a problem, e like hold e head! He held his head and said, I warned the ministers about ministerial visa hustling. He warned them about it, but what did he do? He did nothing to investigate it, he did nothing to stop it, and this is very important because it simply exposes what every right minded citizen now knows to be true that many, many of these UDP Ministers, notwithstanding their righteous pretensions…you know, dehn like to be so self righteous, but so many, many of them are just pigs eating at the public’s trough”.