MINISTER GODWIN KNOWINGLY MISLEADS THE PUBLIC

September 26th 2016 The People’s United Party condemns the actions of Minister Godwin Hulse who in an interview on the LOVE FM Morning Show on Thursday, September 15th 2016 stated that in 1998 the Immigration Act was amended to allow for persons married to a Belizean to acquire Belizean nationality without having to live in Belize for a year. This is totally untrue and is a deliberate attempt by Minister Hulse to mislead the people of Belize.

The fact is and has always been that as a requirement to get nationality through marriage, if a foreigner marries a Belizean and wants to apply for Belizean nationality, he or she must be living in Belize for one year prior to applying and must intend to continue living in Belize.

In 1998, the Belizean Nationality Act was amended on April 11th but it was not to change this requirement. Therefore, the amendment never altered the definition of being legally resident or ordinarily resident.

What that amendment did was to clarify, particularly for persons who may have arrived in Belize illegally but since that arrival married a Belizean, when such persons can commence the counting of his/or her one-year residency. Therefore, with that amendment in 1998, the one-year residency is deemed to be legal from the date of marriage provided that the person is actually resident (living in the country) for a year after the marriage and prior to applying for nationality.

The Auditor General in her report did not shy away from this amendment, which Minister Godwin Hulse wants the public to believe that she did. In fact, the Auditor General clearly stated the law as it has stood since that amendment and laid it out on Page 171 of the Nationality Report of the Special Audit.

The interpretation Minister Godwin Hulse and Prime Minister Barrow are now offering for this amendment in 1998 is not only false but it goes against their own Ministry of Immigration’s internal policies and law on immigration and nationality.

Even if Minister Godwin Hulse and Prime Minister Barrow would want us to accept their interpretation of this amended Section 11 of the Nationality Act, the fact is their interpretation still does not create a residency for Mr. Dalhstrom, the Prime Minister’s brother-in-law, since residency never existed.  A continuous one-year residency prior to application and intention to continue being are the requirements for applying for nationality.

The PUP continues to call on the President of the Senate to convene a special Senate meeting to reintroduce the motion for a Senate Inquiry and for Minister Godwin Hulse to recuse himself from such proceedings in the interest of transparency, accountability and impartiality for which this serious matter demands.

PUP Calls for Senate Inquiry and Criminal Investigation!!!

1st September 2016 — The People’s United Party remains firm in its support for the holding of a Senate Select Committee on the Immigration and Nationalization scandal. The Senate is the body that is empowered by the Constitution of Belize to conduct “inquiries and investigations on any matter of public interest or importance, including inquiries into mismanagement or corruption by persons in the central government or public statutory body.”

More importantly, what the Auditor General’s report has uncovered so far not only warrants a Senate investigation but also a criminal investigation by the police department to commence immediately.

The Bicameral Select Committee that the government is proposing is yet another way to sidestep the Senate and the Constitution. This reveals for all to see, that once more the Prime  Minister of Belize  prefers to be  the chief defender of his  Cabinet Ministers’ wrongdoing. “It is once more a case of the Prime Minister choosing which law he will follow and which he will willfully disobey.” “It is a case of the Prime Minister wanting to have his cake and eat it too.” said Party Leader John Briceño

The Prime Minister’s apology, coming only after the outrage by Belizeans from all walks of life came too little, too late.  The actions of the Prime Minister since the scandal first broke at the Immigration Department does not give us any solace that he will refrain from putting his government’s interests above and beyond the people’s interests.

The reality is that the Prime Minister is making a half-hearted attempt to stop the public hemorrhaging over the scathing Auditor General audits, which implicates 13 present and former Cabinet ministers. Also, there is nothing that suggests to us that the official cover-up will discontinue.

If the Prime Minister is serious about his commitment to fight corruption, then his first act must be to instruct the Commissioner of Police to release the file on the criminal investigation against former Minister Elvin Penner and Won Hong Kim.

We in the PUP find it offensive that Senator Godwin Hulse, the substantive Minister of Immigration, refused to recuse himself from the vote on whether the Senate should appoint a Select Committee on the matter.

In the matter of the government agreeing to sign the UN Convention on Corruption, the People’s United Party believe this was long overdue and as such comes as too little too late for an administration that is now seen as incompetent, inept and corrupt. Belizeans continue to question why the Prime Minister refused to sign the anti- corruption convention all these years, considering his campaign promise to not even tolerate the whiff of corruption.

Belize in one of only 15 countries that has not signed the Convention, while a full 178 other countries have. Every dollar siphoned off by corruption is a dollar less we have to help the disadvantaged and the dispossessed.

The Prime Minister last week in one of his many public disavowals of the anti- corruption Convention said that signing would be too expensive. We believe not signing was way more expensive. So we welcome the about-turn of the Prime Minister but we will take a wait and see attitude. Unless signing is followed immediately by ratification then it will all be just a game. “The proof of the pudding is always in the eating,” Briceño said.

Statement by Hon. John Briceño on the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Section 53 of the Laws of Belize.

18th August 2016 — Our nation Belize was founded on principles, which acknowledge the supremacy of God and respect for the principle of social justice. Enshrined in our Constitution is our “faith in human rights and fundamental freedoms.”  We in the People’s United Party firmly believe in these principles.

Yesterday the Government took the decision not to appeal the Chief Justice’s ruling on Section 53 of the Laws of Belize. In her explanation the Attorney General stated that the Government is satisfied that the case was properly argued and that the laws of Belize affirm the right of every Belizean to privacy.

While we may believe that we the people should ultimately determine how we as a society should choose to live and be governed, we in the People’s United Party respect the decision of the Supreme Court as the rule of law. At the same time, we also respect the right of those who wish to challenge the decision of the Chief Justice in a higher court.  We firmly believe that governance ought not to be about our personal impulses or private domain, but should always be about honouring the will of the people.

We remain steadfast in our belief in social justice and therefore maintain our position that there can be no room for hatred among Belizeans. We also stand firmly with the Churches and other organizations whose religious beliefs may compel them to reject certain lifestyles and to defend the nature of marriage to be between a man and a woman.

The People’s United Party recognizes the indispensible role the Church plays in instilling values and shaping the moral conscience of our Nation. We continue to support the partnership we have in education and the overall building of this nation and will always defend the right of the Church to its mission in Belize.

PUP CONDEMNS CABINET RESHUFFLE

AUGUST 2, 2016 The People’s United Party condemns in the strongest terms the Prime Minister’s attempt to hoodwink the Belizean people by orchestrating what is really no significant reshuffle but more of an optical illusion. Mr. Barrow seems to be unduly enamored of the word “optics,” using it frequently in past weeks, and that is exactly what this “reshuffle” is – optics.

The PUP believes that at the very least the confirmed relationship between John Saldivar and William Mason, one which resulted in money changing hands, should have been the subject of an intensive, objective investigation. The relationship between other Cabinet members and William Mason, again confirmed, should have been the result of an intensive, objective investigation. The relationship between high-ranking members of the Belize Police Department and William Mason, confirmed, should have been the subject of an intensive, objective investigation.

Instead, Saldivar has been given a tiny, token slap on the wrist, if that, and the Prime Minister has in effect declared that to be the end of that. Not one of the other Cabinet ministers who had a relationship, including Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber, has been touched. Mr. Barrow has further declared that the Belize Police Department has the investigation into William Mason well in hand and he is satisfied with their handling of the matter – in the same breath that he states that Mason was very close to members of said Police Department.

Information continues to emerge from the Mason detention, which demonstrates beyond any reasonable doubt that William Mason maintained a very close relationship with former Minister of National Security John Saldivar and members of the Police Department close to Saldivar, particularly the Special Patrol Unit. Information has also emerged which indicates that certain elements of the investigation have been manipulated to protect Saldivar and persons close to him.

We feel that the so-called “reshuffle” is no more than a move by the Prime Minister to appoint un-elected persons loyal only to him to very strategic positions within government. Clearly, judging by the non -performance of Senator Godwin Hulse, this has not worked in the favor of Belizeans. Vanessa Retreage will be no different – just another Barrow loyalist who, like Hulse, owes no loyalty to the Belizean people because they are unelected.

The PUP calls on Prime Minister Dean Barrow to deviate from his trademark “all glitter and no substance” style. This cannot be about “optics.” The Belizean people demand more than “optics.” The only way to ensure an impartial and proper investigation is to ask for assistance from our international partners. If the Prime Minister, as he has indicated, refuses to do this, it will be because he does not want the truth to come out. That truth, as we understand it, could destroy his administration.

Mr. Prime Minister…the people are watching.

PEOPLE’S UNITED PARTY SPEAKS OUT ON BEHALF OF CANE FARMERS

JULY 25, 2016 — The People’s United Party (PUP) rejects and condemns ASR’s accusations being made against cane farmers, indicating that the deterioration of molasses occurred as a result of farmers delivering poor quality sugar cane. The PUP views the decision and actions taken by ASR to charge the sugar cane farmers BZ $281,233.00 which equivalent to 65% of the cost of molasses lost due to a Maillard reaction as unjust, unreasonable and outrageous.

The PUP reminds ASR that lower quality sugar cane has been milled in the past, in particular when BELCOGEN was commissioned in 2010 and the quality of sugar cane was at 12.73 TCTS, the worst in the entire history of the industry; yet there was no occurrence of a Maillard Reaction. This year’s quality stands at 9.8 TCTS (better quality) hence ASR’s intention to cast blame on the cane farmers is viewed as being seriously deficient, baseless and lacking substance.

Furthermore, based on consultations with technical and experienced advisors, the PUP has confirmed that the Maillard Reaction was as a direct result of ASR’s negligence and failure to follow standard procedures during the liquefying stage of the boiling process. Farmers are not to blame for the Maillard Reaction. The PUP further notes that this action is clear evidence of ASR’s continuous attempts to undermine the sugar cane farmers by creating an unfavorable and frustrating environment with the final objective being the elimination of thousands of hardworking Belizeans.

We hereby remind ASR that the agreement signed between the farmers and ASR clearly states that the sugar cane belongs to and is the full responsibility of ASR once it arrives at the scales. The unjust loss of $281,233 to cane farmers comes at a time when farmers are receiving one of the lowest prices in years, even though records show that the world price of sugar is at the highest in 20 years as a result of the drop in world-­?wide production.

The  PUP  hereby  demands  that  ASR  pay  the  hard  working  sugar  cane  farmers $281,233 for molasses lost due to the company’s gross negligence. In addition, the PUP calls on the Government of Belize and the Sugar Industry Control Board (SCICB) to intervene and to ensure that the commercial agreement be honored and that cane farmers be treated fairly and with respect.

Contact: Hon. Jose Abelardo Mai, Deputy Party Leader – 677-­?9168.

PUP STANDS STRONG IN VILLAGE COUNCIL ELECTIONS

JULY 11, 2016 — The Hon. John Briceño and the People’s United Party (PUP) would like to commend and thank all who participated in the democratic process during the recent Village Council Elections. Even though the United Democratic Party abused its authority by utilizing government resources during the elections, the PUP won just over 40 percent of the villages. This is a significant improvement from the 26 percent three years ago and coming just eight months after a general election.

The successes for the PUP in the Village Council Elections can be attributed to the hard work and dedication of the men and women who believe in the principles and rich history of the Party. In contrast, the rapid decline of this UDP government is as a result of their corruption, arrogance, incompetence and mismanagement of the people’s resources.

The PUP takes this opportunity to express its sincere gratitude to the many soldiers of the Party and to those who have shown clearly that they are dissatisfied with the current leadership of the country. The people are awake and speaking out, and now is the time to work for the betterment of the country.

For more information, contact PUP Secretary General, Linsford Castillo at 677-­?9168

Chairman, Public Accounts Committee To Attend Regional Workshop In Guyana

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11 July 2016 — Hon. Julius Espat, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee will be attending a regional workshop organized by the Caribbean Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (CAROSAI) in Georgetown Guyana from July 13th to 15th under the theme, “Strengthening Country Systems for Better Investment Results.”

The project overall objective is to improve the ability of the Caribbean countries to more effectively implement capital investment projects and deliver on their development agenda by enhancing the capacity of their country systems and institutions with particular focus on external accountability, including legislative oversight, and public procurement.

More specifically, this project will equip Caribbean parliaments with the tools to exercise a more effective budgetary review, enhance technical capabilities of Supreme Audit Institutions to audit capital projects, improve government procurement regulatory framework, and create strong citizen- government feedback loops.

For further information contact Hon. Julius Espat: julius@sabelize.com. Phone: 822-1456

THE COST OF MR. BARROW’S ARROGANCE

JUNE 29, 2016 -­? The People’s United Party is appalled at and deeply concerned by the final figures released by the Permanent Court of Arbitration on Tuesday, June 28, 2016, with respect to Government’s acquisition of BTL.

Just a preliminary look at the figures reveals that it is even worse than we expected. The Tribunal has ordered that Government must pay to Dunkeld almost 200 million dollars. GOB will also have to pay Sunshine Holdings Limited over 62 million dollars for its shares in BTL. In addition, GOB will have to pay interest on the value of shares appropriated since 2009, to the tune of an additional 198 million dollars. In short, the people of Belize, Belizean taxpayers will have to pay almost half a BILLION dollars. Including the payment of 97 million dollars to BCB last September, GOB will have had to pay over 550 million dollars for its appropriation of BTL in 2009 – a company that is now not even worth a 100 million dollars.

More than half a Billion Dollars to be paid to one man, Lord Ashcroft, is a result of the Prime Minister’s arrogance.

Within 10 days from June 28, Belizean taxpayers will have to pay almost

$200M, with a balance of another $200M due within a year. Mr. Barrow now has no option but to pay. This is why he was so hell-bent on turning the SSB into a piggy-bank. But that is only $55M. To pay the balance within 10 days Mr. Barrow will be forced to drain our foreign reserves and to turn to the Central Bank to print money.

In his Press Conference this afternoon, the Prime Minister blamed the Accommodation Agreement and in his usual style used his golden tongue to spin and cast blame on an administration that has been out of government for more than eight years. In fact, the  Prime Minister  has personally  signed his own accommodation agreements  with these unprecedented  settlements with the Ashcroft group of companies and trusts. Instead of relying on the outcome of the CCJ after it was already successful in the Court of Appeal, he chose to give away more than half a billion dollars.

We point out that the Prime Minister did not have to appropriate BTL. He could have used the PUC to regulate the utility properly. We point out also that the Prime Minister could have appropriated the Company and managed it properly. Instead his unqualified son Anwar Barrow was placed at the helm and now the company has been run into the ground.

Contrary to what the Prime Minister said, this is not a victory for the government and people of Belize. The Prime Minister MUST take blame for his actions, which will be an unbearable burden for Belizeans.

PUP DEMANDS RADICAL CHANGE IN APPROACH TO GUATEMALA

 

22 June 2016. The People’s United Party expresses its deep disappointment at the failed talks held yesterday, June 21 2016, in Washington D.C. However, we are not surprised at yet another failed meeting. Our reports are that there was no positive result except the agreement to continue to talk. It was a complete failure.

The PUP decided that it would not attend the talks in Washington D.C. because we fundamentally disagree with the approach being adopted by the Government of Belize. It is plain that Guatemala intends to maintain control of Belize’s portion of the Sarstoon River, and the Government’s response is to keep talking and hoping that Guatemala will at some point in the future withdraw from asserting control.

Talking and hoping is not a plan. It is not a strategy. It is a failed approach by Belize to an annexation crisis.

Conversely, the PUP believes there must be a coherent Belizean strategy arrived at after wide and genuine consultation that includes stakeholders such as Labour, Business, Academia and Civil Society.

It is clear that Belize needs a full-time dedicated team working through a well-staffed secretariat, advised by international lawyers, to resolve the illegal control of the Sarstoon by Guatemala and the continued rape of the Chiquibul and degradation of our rivers and water resources.

We repeat the call for a clear-minded, organized mobilization internally and internationally, keeping the Belizean public fully informed.

 

We repeat our call for the immediate removal of Wilfred Elrington as Minister of Foreign Affairs for lack of competence and for misleading the Belizean people. There is a complete loss of trust and confidence in Mr. Elrington, and his deep affection for the Foreign Minister of Guatemala continues, in our opinion, to cloud his judgment.

The PUP believes that now, more than ever, there is an urgent need for a radically different approach from the failed path on which the UDP is now leading Belize. We are prepared to share such an approach with the Government and people of Belize.

The PUP will remain vigilant and will continue to work towards the reassertion of Belizean sovereignty over all our territory at the earliest possible time.

PUP DEMANDS URGENT ACTION ON THE SARSTOON

MAY 30, 2016 -­? The People’s United Party strongly condemns the continuing illegal annexation of the Sarstoon River by Guatemala, and demands that the Government of Belize act to re-­? establish full sovereignty and control over the Belizean internal waters of the Sarstoon River and of Sarstoon Island.

The prevention by Guatemalan naval forces of members of the Belizean media from free passage to and through the Sarstoon River on Friday 27 May 2016; and the brazen presence of Guatemalan forces in Belizean internal waters is illegal and a blatant violation of Belizean sovereignty.

This latest incident is evidence of Guatemalan bad faith which erodes the very limited progress achieved at the bilateral meeting between Belize and Guatemala held in Istanbul, Turkey on 23 May 2016.

Belize needs to adopt a more aggressive and urgent approach to the Sarstoon problem in order to guarantee full Belizean sovereignty and territorial integrity. The PUP therefore calls for the Belizean Government to act as follows:

  1. To adopt a comprehensive plan to restore full Belizean sovereignty and control over the Belizean internal waters of the Sarstoon River and of Sarstoon Island;
  1. To immediately recall Ambassador Alexis Rosado for consultations;
  2. To insist on a meeting between Belize and Guatemala, under the auspices of the OAS, that will result in a signed protocol guaranteeing free navigation in the Sarstoon River in accordance with the 1859 Treaty and international law; and
  3. To appoint a National Team to competently manage Belize/Guatemala For more information contact Senator Eamon Courtenay at 223-­?1476.