Things got heated today after Albert Area Representative Tracy Panton referred to the Briceno Administration as a “pania machete”. It’s a local term used here and carries a derogatory and offensive nature. Raising that point was Cayo South Area Representative Julius Espat who demanded that Panton apologizes for the reference. Here is that exchange.
Hon. Tracy Panton, Area Representative Albert Division: “When it is convenient the administration cries astority. And when it is expedient they say that it’s a time of prosperity, that the economy of Belize is on a rebound and therefore we can afford to spend recklessly. It’s a two edged sword Madam Speaker. In our local nomenclature we would say this administration is what you call panya machete.”
Hon. Julius Espat, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Housing: “I just wanted to respond to something that the Honorable Member from Albert said which offends me to the bone. When I was growing up in Belize City I was constantly called Yellow belly panya and I would like her, sometime in the future when she comes back to the House, to retract that Panya Machete remark because I believe it is offensive and racist.”
Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise: “She is confused. Confusing the sensation to pee pee and poo poo. Onions spoiling Madam Speaker ? The last report on the 26th of May is saying that we will have onions up to June 10th but we will do our evaluation on June 15th because after that we may have to import if there are not sufficient onions so how will you say onions are spoiling in the field ? And she confused carrots with something else definitely. You are confused my dear. So Madam Speaker but when you put nonsense on Facebook like that it is shaming. Let me tell you something you need to correct yourself. When you go and sit down on the carrots and take a photograph I will believe it. The next time you go to San Carlos you go and sit on the carrots and take a photograph and make it evidence. Do not come here and lie. You are deceiving people. Unconfuse your sensation please and speak to the truth.”
Hon. Tracy Panton, Area Representative Albert Division: “I do wish to offer my apology for the reference to the nomenclature of a two edged sword and what I meant to say Madam Speaker is that a two edged sword cuts on both sides. If I offended you Prime Minister and any colleagues in this honorable House or any Belizeans I ask you to humbly accept my apology. But a two edged sword cuts – you see there ? You ask for the apology I’m giving it to you. Don’t be a bully Prime Minister. Don’t be a bully. You have bullied me every time I’ve come to this house. I have stood up with all sincerity to offer my apology to the reference to the nomenclature that we use locally.”
Late this evening the UDP fired off a release in which it states that it is (quote) “ appalled at the nasty verbal assaults directed at Hon. Tracy Panton in today’s House Meeting. We strongly condemn the comment made by the Member from Orange Walk South, Jose Mai, and call shame on all the members who laughed and cheered him on. It is a most shameless display of misogyny!” (end of quote) The release further states (quote) “We call on Speaker Woods to demand an apology from and censor the Member from Orange Walk South. It has now become clear that members of the government side have no regard for the authority of the Speaker and no respect for the Honourable House. We call on her to rein in those members who persist in this behaviour and to manage the affairs of the house with the decorum required.” (end of quote)