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Belize First, Belize Second, Belize Third!

Belize First, Belize Second, Belize Third!
February 08
10:30 2019

By Major Lloyd Jones

I currently represent the PUP on the Belize Referendum Commission and I have been doing so since shortly after Mr. Briceño became the Leader of the PUP. However, since the Commission’s meeting of October 1, 2018 somebody tried to have me removed as the PUP’s representative to the said Commission.

On January 15, 2019 I received an email from the Commission advising of a meeting to be held on January 21, 2019. The letter was however, addressed to the Secretary General of the PUP. I thought it strange since as I said I had been representing the PUP on the Commission since 2016. I would later find out that “someone” advised the Commission that I was no longer the representative of the PUP.

I am what some call a “new” PUP having only joined the Party in 2015. To some that means I have not earned my credentials, never mind that I contested the Belize Rural North seat for the PUP at great personal financial and family sacrifices at that.

Perhaps my greatest disqualification for some of the people close to Mr. Briceño is that I am a man who cannot be “controlled.” I am fiercely independent and for me Belize will always come first, as it must! Mass parties have a hard time handling such people and so the solution is to keep them out of critical positions where key decisions are made.

It was precisely because people who were in key positions did not put Belize first that we saw the excess of the Musa administration and it is for the same reason we now are experiencing the excess of the Barrow administration. We see the impacts of such practices all the time and with each successive administration it seems to be getting worse. To hold high office these days one does not need talent and qualifications, one needs only to obey!

I am reminded of a time when I was the Ports Commissioner and we were locked in a fight with the Tourist Village over a “wall.” It appears that half the Cabinet wanted the wall down and the other half wanted it up. As the Ports Commissioner, my duty required that I keep the wall up as the repercussions on the cruise tourism industry would have been near fatal.

One Saturday morning “somebody” instructed the Ministry of Works to break down the wall. When they attempted to do so, the security guards at the Tourist Village fired warning shots, unaware of what was happening. I was alerted and made my way to the Tourist Village at breakneck speed.

The CEO of our Ministry (which was headed by Joe Coye) called telling me to take down the wall. The CEO sat on the Board of the Port Authority and she very well knew that the Board had instructed me to leave the wall up because it was an important access control feature under the ISPS requirements (a global security standard). Notwithstanding the decision of the Board here was the CEO instructing me to take down the wall.

A short while after the CEO had called I received a call from Glenn Tillett. Glenn; a political gofer for Coye, called for an urgent meeting. We met briefly at his office at the Belize Airport Authority office where he told me that Minister wanted the wall down. I promptly advised him to call a special meeting of the Board and have them rescind their decision that says the wall must stay up. I also advised him of the dire repercussions that would follow if the wall was taken down. His response to me was that “Ministers like Generals, value loyalty more than competence!” I don’t know which General Glenn served with but I knew which Minister he was serving at the time. Glenn’s pronouncement was a thinly veiled threat!

I was later told by an insider that shortly thereafter there were discussions about whether or not I should remain as the Ports Commissioner. My duty to do the right thing had upset some big people who like Glenn wanted loyalty not competence! Needless to say the wall remained up and the legal battle that followed reached all the way to the Court of Appeal where I was firmly vindicated.

When it was brought to my attention that I was no longer the PUP’s representative on the Commission I inquired with both Mr. Briceño and Stuart Leslie if in fact I had been removed. These are the two gentlemen who would know if such a decision had been made.

I serve at the pleasure of Mr. Briceño and so it would have taken a simple call or text to say thanks and goodbye and I would have lost no sleep nor would I have been upset. Both gentlemen, however, told me in no uncertain terms that that was not the case and so I remained at the meeting.

I have said this to you, beloved, because you must understand the seriousness of the April 10th vote. We the people are being asked to make an important decision that can lead to the loss of substantial territory. It is not a decision to be taken lightly as there are unseen forces trying hard to get us to say YES. If we say YES and we lose territory, those same people will point to us and say “but it was you all who said to go to the ICJ.” It will be a Pontius Pilate moment from which we will never be able to recover.

Since starting this column I have been critical of the PUP yes, but I have tried to be constructive in those criticisms. However, as I said before, there are people who believe that the Party should never be criticised. My response is simple. If you can’t criticize the PUP when they are out of power, how are we to believe that you will be able to do so when they are in power and way more powerful than they are today?

My reason for criticising the PUP is simple. I do not wish for Mr. Briceño’s PUP to become like Mr. Musa’s PUP and I do not wish for Mr. Briceño’s PUP to become like Mr. Barrow’s UDP. I want Mr. Briceño’s PUP to form a government that finally delivers upon the promise of independence by stomping out corruption and uplifting our people in a sustainable way.

The Belizean people have heard all the promises there is to hear and they have been disappointed too many times. It is now time to give them a Government that will truly put

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