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Opposition Leader calls out corruption in Ministry of Human Development

As election time nears, the word “corruption” is heard often as both major political parties try to air each other’s dirty laundry, so to speak. Today, the Leader of the Opposition, John Briceno started his speech by revealing alleged corruption in the Ministry of Human Development.

As election time nears, the word “corruption” is heard often as both major political parties try to air each other’s dirty laundry, so to speak. Today, the Leader of the Opposition, John Briceno started his speech by revealing alleged corruption in the Ministry of Human Development. According to Briceno, he has evidence that the ministry is renting properties from the minister himself, Anthony Boots Martinez. He presented his findings in today’s House Meeting.

Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition, People’s United Party:.” Yesterday I got a bunch of payments that have been issued by the Ministry of human development to – payments made to the minister and to members of his family totaling $1.5 million. Now I could stay all day reading line by line all the payments but I will just hone into one or two aspects of it –”

Laura Tucker Longsworth, Speaker of the House:“You’re not calling any names right Opposition Leader ?”

Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition, People’s United Party:.” Have I called any names ?

Laura Tucker Longsworth, Speaker of the House:No I’m just cautioning because once we start it it becomes a real problem.”

Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition, People’s United Party:.” I do not intend to call a names Madam Speaker.”

Laura Tucker Longsworth, Speaker of the House: “Okay.”

Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition, People’s United Party:.” I see one member of the minister’s family got 90 payments for rent of $7,760, $5,335, 90 payments in just a little over a five-year span. What I find most interesting though Madam Speaker is the minister also got 86 payments for rent totaling $568,859.85 the other family member got  $586,329.55. Now what I find strange in the payments from the ministry it’s all for rentals what buildings or what it is it doesn’t state but I remember and I went into, Google is a wonderful thing Mdam Speaker and allowed me to go into Channel 5’s  website when on November 9, 2016 Jules Vasquez asked the minister he said is the Ministry or Department of Social Services renting from its minister? The Honorable member the minister said the building is in the roundabout, the building fortunate for me the building is for my daughter.”  Now fine that’s OK but now we find out that his same ministry is also renting from him too and both of them are getting the exact same amount of rent he said to Jules Vasquez that it was not him it’s a family member of hers but now we find out that both the family member and himself are collecting rent for the exact same amount Madam Speaker. One family member is $67,760 and the minister is collecting $7,760.”

The Prime Minister rose to question the authenticity of the documents from John Briceno, and the point was made that the documents could not be presented in the house without first being tabled.

Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition, People’s United Party:.“It is important Madam Speaker these are government records. These are government records, government records stating that he and his family members collected from his ministry to the tune of $1.5 million.

Laura Tucker Longsworth, Speaker of the House: “Honorable opposition later I think you have made your point I think we will have the point of order to stand because even regardless of who is sitting in here that is the standing operating procedures you have to bring a substantive motion—”

Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition, People’s United Party:.“This is not the first time that anybody has brought records to the government met on speaker —-”

Laura Tucker Longsworth, Speaker of the House: “I certainly have not seen the documents number and so I don’t want to be become involved in that. The standing orders are clear on those matters.

Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition, People’s United Party: Could you read me the section Madame speaker? Of the standing orders?”

Laura Tucker Longsworth, Speaker of the House: “I have to redo the standing order that speaks to? No member I’m not going to read the standing order.|”

Hon. Julius Espat, Area Representative, Cayo South: “If the Prime Minister could just direct us he’s the one who raised the point of order what point of order number or order is it what’s the number?”

Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “You cannot impugn the conduct of a member of the house except you do so —–”

Hon. Julius Espat, Area Representative, Cayo South: “That’s different. You’re saying something about documents now man that’s a different point of order but the one that you say we can’t bring documents to the house what point of order is that ?”

Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “I wanted to defer to you earlier you know but you’re making it very difficult.”

Hon. Julius Espat, Area Representative, Cayo South: “Time to run down each other Prime Minister at the end.”

Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “But anyway I prefaced my objection by saying that number one we have no assurance of any authenticity of the documentation that the Honorable Leader of the Opposition is waving about but I said and the standing order that’s being violated is the standing order that proscribes bringing the integrity of any member of the house into question except you do so by way of substantive motion.”

While Briceno continued to argue his point, Martinez stood up to refute the claims.

According to Briceno, he only received the documents yesterday and so was not able to formally bring them to the house.