Should PUP take Christmas Cheer money?

On Sunday while speaking with reporters, Opposition Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca stated that the Christmas Cheer program is better administered in terms of handling and so that is why the PUP is supporting it even though it comes via the Petrocaribe funds over which they have cried foul.

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Francis Fonseca – Leader of the Opposition

vlcsnap-2014-12-11-07h23m00s252“We run the risks of looking hypocritical, but we believe that of all the programs funed under the PetroCaribe program, this one in every respect perhaps the most transparent, the most accountable. We receive no monies. We submit an invoice and all the monies are then given directly through the Ministry of Human Development to the supplier of those goods.

Those are the things we were concerned about.  We were concerned about waste.  we were concerned about corruption. We were concerned about the lack of accountability. And those we feel are minimized as it relates to the Christmas Cheer Program.”

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According to Francis Fonseca, the 17 sitting UDP representatives receive – through vouchers from one of the line Ministries – $110,000 each for a total of $1.87 million, while the 14 PUP representatives receive $35,000 for a total of $490,000 . But the Government  has said that the PUP’s stand is one of hypocrisy.

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vlcsnap-2014-12-09-05h40m29s164Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“Well I think so. I am not quite sure what the applications are for before the court, but this thing in law that if you come to equity, you must come with clean hands. Mr. Espat, who seems to be the chief applicant, I don’t know how he will say to the court that he is coming with clean hands, if he ends up taking the money from PetroCaribe, so I suspect they will have their difficulties.

This is the same Mr. Espat who last year not only wanted the Christmas Cheer, despite our saying nobody will get cash, made an application to me for him to get cash, on the basis that he had already purchase some Christmas toys. So, transparency? Anyway, I won’t say anymore.”

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On Thursday, viewers of Rise and Shine Belize, mostly agreed with the UDP’s sentiments on the PUP’s willingness to participate in the Christmas cheer. Here are some of those comments.

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vlcsnap-2014-12-12-09h14m19s229Caller 1

“I think that always give that opportunity to do the right thing, and I think this was a perfect opportunity for Mr Fonseca to do the right thing, you know, and not take that money, because if you are saying that they did not do it the right way, then why would you want to take that money?

I think it’s still time for him, or for them, to change their mind and say, ‘We won’t take the money.’  Listen to your people out here.  Don’t take that money.  

It’s a perfrect time to change the system.  If you’re serious about changing, change the system now.  This is an opportunity to do that, and just say, ‘We won’t take the money.  We change our minds.” 

The Prime Minister could have changed his mind from the 13th Senator.  They can change their minds from taking this money.’

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Caller 2

[Paraphrased]“I agree with that lady, Don’t take the money.  If you say the thing is bad, then it’s bad.  So how are you going to take bad money. I’m behind that lady 100%.

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vlcsnap-2014-12-12-09h56m06s225Don Hector Silva

“If you say this is bad, this is illegal, do not participate and share in that illegality. I think that they are calling the Leader of the Opposition to make a turnabout, and give an explanation.

Secondly, if they insist, give that money, so that people don’t feel bad, give it to a charitable institution.”

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Caller 3

[Paraphrased] “You know there are needy people.  Issue some hampers.  It is needed.  People are suffering.  They don’t have jobs.  My little boy graduates next year.  I wonder what will be their future, because if they don’t have nothing to do,  they will start to smoke weed and sit down in the house and listen to music, and play games all day.  That is not the vision that I have for my child.”

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Caller 4

[Paraphrased]” Some  people get a small chicken, a little bit of rice, a little sugar, two ramen, and other items. But the rich one get a turkey and a ham.  And the really poor people get – I don’t even want to say the word!”

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