By: Neri Briceño
The critics of the Esquivels have not been as loud or as vocal as those extolling other UDP’s scandals, but nevertheless there have been harsh ones.
And while these critics have been crucifying the Esquivels for being sour grapes, placed in the same situation I would dare to say that 99% of us would have done the same.
The priority list in my life has been as follows; God, family, country, job and somewhere mixed in all of it are close friends.
In my book, country can never come before family because most of the times citizens who are one of the core ingredients that make up a nation don’t really know what they want. If you have any doubts, just look at our own country. The people must hold some blame for the mess that this country is in and has been in since independence.
Belizean by nature are whiners. We will talk but few will walk and the few that do, are usually left out to dry in the end.
In my book the Esquivels have shown that they are willing to walk when that need arises. Faced with the same decision, like the Esquivel’s I would have chosen to support my own daughter over party any day. The Esquivels have proven that family is still important in an era in Belize when family structure itself is disintegrating.
Love him or hate him, Sir Manuel Esquivel will always have a place in Belizean history. Sir Manuel came at a time like now, when the nation needed someone to step forward and save the Belizean economy from what was sure disaster under the PUP.
While diehard critics will disagree, history will show that he did manage to turn the country around. He may not have been the best and most charismatic politician like his predecessor George, but sometimes the job needs a man and not a politician.
I never knew or heard of Sir Manuel Esquivel prior to his first term as Prime Minister. As a matter of fact most country folks didn’t. I first met him through my uncle, Fred Garcia, who was working in his office at the time.
I remember thinking this is such a cold person, and this was maybe because I immediately compared him to George who for the most part, was a people’s person.
Later in my career I would have numerous meetings with him, when I was involved with a petroleum project in the south. Over time, I developed a deep respect for the man, which I still hold to this day.
I found Sir Manuel to be blunt, to the point, no beating around the bush and at times painfully honest. He didn’t mince words and would immediately point out what the government was willing to accept and what they were not willing to live with.
He was able to help as much as he could and at no time did he use or try to use his office for any gains, favours or influence. I found that honourable in him, because I can honestly say that the vast number of politicians I have dealt with, always wanted something for themselves.
The fact of the matter is that Sir Manual has probably outlasted his usefulness to the UDP, who are all well known to turn their backs on their own. But rest assured that the same economy that ministers are able to hustle off of now, would not have existed today had it not been for Esquivel’s efforts during his first term as PM.
Belize can take an example from Sir Manual. He is not a perfect man by any means, but history will show that when his country needed him the most, he was there.
He may not have been the best politician, but looking at the state that Belize is in today, it is clear that we really need more people like him.
Sir Manuel Esquivel can go out to pasture with the assurance that what he has done for this country is more than most members who have served in that House will achieve during their entire term!