Last Sunday evening the Gang Suppression Unit raided a farm in the Village of Lucky Strike and destroyed more than 140 marijuana plants.

The raid was deliberately timed to catch the plantation owner by surprise, and in this it succeeded. The GSU captured the landowner, 47-year-old Cameron Usher, but his son, who was with him at the time, ran off and could not be found.

The GSU squad commander reported that his unit fired warning shots in the air to announce its presence. No more than four shots were fired, the GSU squad leader said.

The detained land-owner said he heard 15 shots, and the villagers of Lucky Strike say they heard many more than the four shots the GSU has owned up to. In the melee, Usher’s 17-year-old son, Kelvin, a student at St. John’s College, ran and hid himself and remained undercover for four days and four nights, leading to all kinds of speculation that the GSU may have done him in.
But by mid Thursday morning the Usher family reported that the boy had been found, still in the Village of Lucky Strike, and a collective sigh of relief could be heard in almost every home.

All is well that ends well! However there are many who question the tactics of GSU squad in shooting off its guns to announce its arrival. It was an unnecessary and excessive show of force.

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The announcement recently that former Minister of Lands, Gaspar Vega intends to offer himself as the Area Representative for Orange Walk South under the banner of the UDP has left us with our mouth open.

As Minister of Lands, Mr. Vega has done precious little for his country. Mr. Florencio Marin, when he was Minister of Lands, actively sought out land for housing. He created Belama Phases 1, 2, 3 and 4 by ordering the Survey Department to find the land for the subdivisions. He may have enriched himself with a few choice pieces of land in Corozal, but he worked actively to help solve Belize’s housing problem.

During ten years of public office there has been no similar initiative either from Mr. Vega, the former Minister of Lands, or from Mr. Finnegan, the Present Minister of Housing.

There is documentary evidence which suggests that Mr.Vega abused his Ministerial authority and misdirected public spending on projects which have enriched his son and others members of his family. The scale and ingenuity of these transactions have been eye-popping.
We believe that if Mr. Vega tries to run for public office, he should lose. And if he doesn’t run, he should be prosecuted for malfeasance.
The United Democratic Party was founded on the principle of fair play for all, to combat the arrogance and rapaciousness of the PUP. Today it appears the shoe is on the other foot, tar-brushing the very people who struggled and sacrificed for political reform.

If we don’t break the cycle of selfishness and pillage now that we have a chance to do so, those who toiled and sacrificed for a better Belize will have toiled in vain.

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