Based on the feedback and comments being made on social media regarding the land scandal involving former Cabinet Minister Gaspar Vega and his son, Andre, the sentiments are that of anger and upset. As it relates to the explanation by the panelists at yesterday’s press conference, the sentiment is that of disbelief that something of this magnitude could have gone undetected. Prior to the press conference we spoke with Foreign Affairs Minister, Wilfred Elrington who is not only a senior minister in the Government but also a public official who is yet to have a scandal of his own as it relates to corrupt practices. We asked him to weigh in on the Vega land issue.
“I think that the experiences that we are now having is more normal than abnormal. If you look at all around the region if not the wider world there are always difficulties involving allegations of corruption by people in government whether it is in the Private Sector. The 2008 implosion in the United States was corruption on the part of the private sector and then you have Guatemala and officials of the government in jail, In Mexico you hear they are looking for two governments, in El Salvador I think the former President had to seek asylum in Nicaragua so that there are always these allegations that take place in government and it’s nothing new and I don’t think it’s anything that is going to stop immediately. I think that particularly in the case of Belize we are a new and young and emerging nation and I think that it will take time for institutions to be strengthened, for all our politicians to respect our institutions and to know what the law is and to follow the law.”
“Aren’t you the least bit disturbed as to the negative optics that it lends to the Barrow administration which you are a part of and as well the UDP?”
“We are all concerned about anything that is negatively affecting the country. That is the responsibility of public officials, we’ve got to be concerned and to the extent that we have got to deal with it and we will deal with it. I don’t think the Prime Minister has shied away from dealing with matters of this nature, it’s not pleasant but he doesn’t shy away from dealing with them as he has to.”
With Vega’s resignation, the Prime Minister is yet to name a new Minister of Agriculture.