UDP & PUP showdown in Orange Walk

By
Updated: September 6, 2017

Well over a thousand people participated in today’s protest organized by the People’s United Party’s Orange Walk North Committee. The crowd assembled at the San Lorenzo Road junction and after nine o’clock in the morning they marched towards the Orange Walk Central Park. The PUP had support not only from the Orange Walk North constituency, but the event saw the participation of other party executives, area representatives and standard bearers. Party Leader John Briceno and Orange Walk North Standard Bearer Ramon Cervantes spoke with the media.

 

Orange Walk North Standard Bearer, Ramon Cervantes.

“Number one the present area representative of Orange Walk North has neglected his people and has been involved in a myriad of corruption scandals and the evidence every time surfaces more and more and the people are tired of the corruption that is going on of the broad daylight resources that they are doing of our natural resources and our monies. He has not done service to his job as an area representative and today we are protesting that. We know this government is the most corrupt in the history of Belize and this is the start of this movement against corruption the people want their lands back, the people want their monies back the people want their country back.”

John Briceno, Opposition Leader

“This is a movement by the Northern caucus by the Orange Walk district and the Corozal district. A few people came from the Belize district because they wanted to come and show their support and another handful came from San Ignacio but 90% of the people that you see here are from Orange Walk and Corozal. We are ashamed of Gaspar Vega because he is a Norteño and we feel that he has done a disservice to the hard working and honest people of the north. We want to see him out and if he has any decency left in him he should do the right thing, he should resign and he should hide in a hole where nobody is going to see him for the rest of his life.”

And while the PUP gathered early this morning for their event at San Lorenzo Road, supporters of the United Democratic Party assembled on Clarke Street. Now while the PUP obtained a permit for the protest, the UDP crowd did not have one. Still, police allowed the crowd to remain where they had gathered and only warned them to remain peaceful. The media asked ACP Edward Broaster, Operations Commander and Dennis Arnold about the situation.

ACP Edward Broaster, Operations Commander

Operationally speaking, we have this street blocked off. As you heard me informing them that it is an illegal gathering and they are not to move from there. We have this street contain so we are going to keep them there.

 

Reporter

“But isn’t it indeed that if you don’t have a permit and you gather illegally you are supposed to be moving you are not supposed to be standing still?

ACP Edward Broaster, Operations Commander

“Yes, technically yes, but as long as they stay there we are not going to have no problem. As you can see, we have this street block off.

Reporter

“Yes, because you don’t want there to be problems and you don’t want both side to collide or clash.”

ACP Edward Broaster, Operations Commander

“That’s right”

Reporter

“Now, politically you might take a hit for allowing what’s happening here without a permit, I imagine the other side does have a permit?

ACP Edward Broaster, Operations Commander

“I am not allowing anything.”

Reporter

“You are allowing them to gather illegally.”

ACP Edward Broaster, Operations Commander

“The day is not finish as yet.”

Reporter

“How long are you going to allow them to be gathered here without having a permit?”

ACP Edward Broaster, Operations Commander

“We will deal with who we need to deal with and whoever break the law, but right now we will not cause any confrontation at this time.”

Reporter

“How long will they be allowed?”

ACP Edward Broaster, Operations Commander

“Like I said, as soon as that parade is finished, we will deal with what we have to deal with.”

Senior Superintendent Dennis Arnold

“The protest supposed to have a start time and a finish time and it should be peaceful nobody carrying any offense weapon.”

Reporter

“Did they request to past in front of the Hon. Gasper Vega’s house?”

Senior Superintendent Dennis Arnold

“Yes, they wanted to…

Reporter?

“Why were they denied if it is a public street?”

Senior Superintendent Dennis Arnold

“As you can see it is a rhetoric question. You see the crowd out here…

Reporter

“But at the time the PUP requested, the UDP did not say that they were going to hold a counter-protest.”

Dennis Arnold

“But then you are from the media, three or four days before, they were announcing something on the TV that they would have been having a protest so we took all that into consideration.

Reporter

“So why do you allow one crowd to be in front of Gasper Vega’s house and you are not allowing the other one to past?

Dennis Arnold

“We are not allowing anything. Mr. Broaster answer that question for you just now. We are not allowing anything.

Reporter

“You are allowing an illegal gathering.”

Dennis Arnold

“No we are not allowing anything

Reporter

They are there, the evidence is there in front of you.

ACP Edward Broaster, Operations Commander

“Listen we are not allowing any illegal gathering, we already gave them the warning that we need to give them and we are giving them time to deal with the warning that we give them.”

Reporter

“You are not telling them to disperse.”

ACP Edward Broaster, Operations Commander

“We told them to move already.”

Reporter

“You told them as long as they cause no problem, they can remain there.”

ACP Edward Broaster, Operations Commander

“And I gave them other instructions as well”

Reporter

“So by when will they be remove?

ACP Edward Broaster, Operations Commander

“You will see, we already told them to move.”

 

And just before the PUP were about to start their march to the Central Park, Former Minister of Natural Resources, Gaspar Vega exited his house along with his wife to meet the crowd. He also spoke with the media.

Former Minister of Natural Resources, Gaspar Vega

It is very emotional to see the love, the sincerity of Orange North. As you can see the vast majority of these people were people that had come on their own. And the calls that I had gotten yesterday was because there was a rumour that the demonstration was going to past right where we are standing now and that’s what I think motivated the people to come by my house.

Reporter

Do you recognize what division all these people are from?

Former Minister of Natural Resources, Gaspar Vega

“I would say at least 75 to 80 percent is from Orange Walk North.”

Reporter

“Are you satisfied with the amount of people that is out here right now, knowing that this is a massive demonstration put together by the PUP, but now your people have decided to come out and support you?

Former Minister of Natural Resources, Gaspar Vega

“I am more than satisfied, because like I said it is a movement that they prepared for on their own. If you can notice here is no buses running here I guess the people that feel disenchanted because I had announced I am not going to run.  And there is still people, I would say thousands of people in Orange Walk North that are still hoping I would run again.

Reporter

Mr. Vega how do you feel about all those things being said about you right now, fair or unfair, true or untrue?

Former Minister of Natural Resources, Gaspar Vega

“When I first got in to politics, it was a brand new business, a brand new profession, a brand new whatever you want to call it. I was not prepared for it to be sincere. I don’t come from a political family. Politics is not something that has reign in my family. We have been supporters, but never the people in the frontline so I wasn’t prepared. Of course, I am going to tell you that it is not fair because that is not what I expected you know. But everybody makes their own decision, everybody has a right to that, I know that deep in my heart I have helped tens of thousands of Belizeans across this country.  And that give me the satisfaction and the peace of mind that makes me sleep well at night. Because I know that at the end of the day, the real judge that I have to worry about is the Almighty God.