Last week saw back to back appearances in court of prominent politicians for the People’s United Party in Orange Walk.
Former leader John Briceno, area representative for Orange Walk Central, faces three traffic offense charges related to an alleged run-in with Christopher Hendricks, the driver for Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega. PUP leader Francis Fonseca dismissed the allegations against Mr Briceno as political mischief.
Francis Fonseca – PUP Leader
“ That’s complete absolute nonsense. It’s absolutely political mischief by Mr. Vega and his driver, acting on his instructions. That’s not even worth discussing, really. We know what it is. The Belizean people see it for what it is.
It’s pure political mischief, but it is also a sign of where the UDP is. Their focus is on intimidating, trying to instill fear in others, their political opponents and citizens of the country, and we completely reject that. We condemn it.”
The charges against Dr. Mendez are not as easy to walk away from. He faces two counts of aggravated sexual assault against two minors which carries a prison term of no less than three years – enough to force his resignation.
While the party’s sympathies lie with Dr. Mendez’s family as much as the accusers, Francis Fonseca says Dr. Mendez did himself no favors by running from the press as he did at his court appearance.
“Dr. Mendez, according to all the reports I’ve have gotten, is obviously in a very fragile state. But certainly, my advice to him would have been to face the media, speak to you, in a very responsible way and address, even if was to say, ‘Listen, I can’t talk about this matter.’ So that certainly would have been my advice and I don’t support the approach he took in dealing with the media.
I’ll leave it at that.”
Francis Fonseca says the Belizean people must put their collective foot down when it comes to standards for their representatives.
“I think some of it is well documented. Some of it is on the public record. There are many other allegations that have been made about Members of Parliament, past [and] present. I think it is for the Belizean people to say when they have had enough.
When a particular candidate goes to them, to seek their support to represent them in the National Assembly, they have to make a determination whether this is a fit and proper person to represent them. It’s not something we can fix on their own.
I believe we should always be seeking higher standards for our politicians, men and women, but at the end of the day the Belizean people who go out and vote, they will have to make that determination, when enough is enough, as it relates to these matters.”