STATEMENT BY HON SENATOR MICHEL CHEBAT

Mr. President,

I rise to put on record the People’s United Party’s strong condemnation of the behavior of members and supporters of the United Democratic Party at last Wednesday’s meeting of senate special select committee investigating illegalities in immigration.

In what can only be described as a carefully orchestrated plan to disrupt last Wednesday’s hearings, the chairman of the UDP and the mace bearer of the House of Representatives behaved in such an unruly manner that the hearings had to be suspended. Mr. President, this is unacceptable.

The situation was made worse as this organized disruption was done when Elvin Penner, the minister who gave nationality and a passport to Wong Hong Kim was giving testimony. It is clear that these agents of the UDP hoped to derail this important inquiry.

We call on the united Democratic Party to respect this Honorable Senate, and we demand that the senate inquiry be allowed to proceed without any further disruption by UDP operatives.

In a direct attack on our Belizean democracy, these same UDP goons assaulted members of the press. Mr. President, these assaults were done within the walls of this Honourable House, during the meeting of this special select committee. Not only threatening words were used, but there were physical assaults. We on this side condemn these actions and call for the criminal prosecution of those responsible.

This attack on the media is consistent with what is unfolding in the Magistrate’s Court in san Ignacio where a political prosecution is being initiated.

Mr. President, as a sign of our solidarity with the press, and to mark our condemnation of the illegal and unacceptable behavior by the UDP agents, we will as a sign of protest not participate in today’s sitting of this Honorable Senate.