“I serve UDP first, Belizeans second’ – Minister of State, Mark King

“When it comes to serving people, I serve UDP first, Belizeans second, and PUP last,” UDP’s Lake Independence Area Representative Mark King told the media Thursday.

King, who is also the Minister of State for in the Ministry of Human Development and Poverty Alleviation, shared his priority list as part of his response to the media’s questions regarding reports of his company seeking a contract with Norwegian Cruise Lines.

King, who owns a security company, unabashedly admitted that his company had indeed applied for a contract to provide services to NCL.

According to reports reaching this newspaper, King sought to strike the deal at a meeting between the cruise lines and the Cabinet subcommittee overseeing the project.
Senator Godwin Hulse, the subcommittee’s chairman, confirmed to The Reporter that King did attend the meeting that was held in southern Belize earlier this week. However, he said that the matter of King’s contract “never came up during the meeting.”

According to Hulse, the subcommittee hosted the meeting so the cruise company could inform United Democratic Party caretakers and ministers of government of the potential benefits the project holds for their respective constituents.
Other ministers of government were also present, but Hulse said he preferred to not test his memory and risk erring in naming precisely which ministers were present.

The Reporter also spoke to People’s United Party Stann Creek West Area Representative who explained that he had no knowledge of any such meeting.

“It is pretty sad that such an important question for the future development of our country has been turned into partisan politics,” Stuart Krohn, Chairman of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA)’s Placencia Chapter, said, speaking in context of the overall objection to the project that the association and other stakeholders have voiced.
The BTIA’s Placencia chapter has also objected to the National Environmental Appraisal Committee’s approval of the project. The association has since applied to the Supreme Court for a judicial review of NEAC’s approval.
In the meantime, government seems to be moving forward, and King maintains that he has all rights to look out for his business interest.

He explained that he is a private businessman, and as such is entitled to apply for contracts for his company with anyone who may require them.

He said he saw no conflict of interest as long as everything was above board with full disclosure to the public, as he had nothing to hide and made no secret of his business interests.

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