By Alexis R. Milan
PUP Cayo South area representative Julius Espat revealed Monday that he has declined the UDP government’s offer of $35,000 for Christmas cheer from the Petro Caribe funds for his constituency of Cayo South.
Espat, who is leading the charge for more transparency in the use of this fund, said his decision is based on principle and ethics.
Espat said he came to the decision after having discussed the matter with his local executive, residents in Cayo South, his family and the party leader.
It was an easy decision to make especially after meeting with party leader Francis Fonseca and receiving support for his position, Espat said.
He added that he was inspired by Fonseca’s support of his position because in any healthy democratic party there may be differences of opinions.
Espat said his refusal of PetroCaribe funds for Christmas cheer does not signal a rift between himself and his party. It simply reaffirms the party’s strength, he said.
Espat shrugged off media reports that he was a “Christmas Scrooge”. He vowed that he will still be providing Christmas cheer to residents of Cayo South, but from his own resources.
Espat announced that he has secured assistance, equivalent to what the government is offering, from various local leaders in the community, to finance his own program in Cayo South.
“While I believe in Christmas as a special time of the year and the tradition of giving, there are basic things which residents of Cayo South lack: such as proper health care and education. Those are the things public money should be used for,” Espat said.