Leader of the Opposition Patrick Faber has come out swinging on many topics ranging from health to nepotism and corruption. As a matter of fact, Faber has even conceded that there was corruption in the last administration. The 42-year-old leader led a press conference today, flanked by the UDP parliamentarians and nominated Senators. We start our coverage on Faber’s criticisms of the Briceno administration saying that things have been going very wrong, very soon.
Hon. Patrick Faber, Leader of the Opposition: “We see already where there are so many things going wrong so very early with the current administration and it would seem to me that they’re already saying “Well it is the UDP’s fault.” Well I will always be the first to remind our friends on the government side of the house that in fact that is why the people made a change. And so it absolutely incumbent on us and we will be as effective an opposition as we possibly can be. So I know what people are going to say there are some who will say “Well yeah you had your turn.” well our position now is to ensure that the government functions and functions well and as I’ve said on previous occasions it is not that we expect everything to be opposed by our party, where it is we see good we will support that good because we are in the business of building Belize. But where it is of course we see things happening that ought not happen, ought not to happen like the naming of your family members to some of these key positions, like of course abandoning the people and not providing the very very basics which the last administration worked so hard to provide the food pantry, grocery bag, call it what you will but give it back to the people who are so deserving of it at this time. When we see these things happening right in front of our faces don’t expect this opposition to be silent on these matters. It is in fact our duty to make it known that these things ought not to be happening. And we will join our voices with the people. I want to congratulate the citizenry at large that already started sending the signal to the government that while we didn’t vote for the UDP we voted for you but we voted out the UDP because of what they did and we expect you to be different and in fact we have already seen where so many of our citizenry have already expressed their dissatisfaction with the way the government has been handling things. We will be on you, we will ensure that we side with those who are standing for righteousness – don’t tell me about the sins of the UDP in the past this is now a party under new management and we will do our job and do it well to build back the confidence and the trust of the people and at the same time of course keep the government in check.”
Faber did not limit his criticisms to only the Briceno administration but also to the previous Barrow administration under which he served. Love News asked him to comment on the various recent findings including the fire sale of government assets prior to the elections as well as the signed contracts and a broke Belize Telemedia Limited. In his response Faber conceded that all the findings may not necessarily be a witch hunt on the part of the PUP administration.
Hon. Patrick Faber, Leader of the Opposition: “We expect the government will go on this kind of witch hunt and of course say a lot of things and at this point in time I will tell you that I am not in a position just yet to say that it is all witch hunt. A part of what happened to our party is there were elements of corruption and you can expect from us denouncing any such action once it comes to light. This is a different party so if indeed that happened, if the people sent us a message you can expect from us clear pronouncements on what was wrong if indeed it happened but until we’re in a position to do that I am not going to go there. But if things happened that were not supposed to happen don’t expect us to defend it.”
Reporter: But sir won’t the denouncement been important while you were in government ?
Hon. Patrick Faber, Leader of the Opposition: “Well that is true. That is true, there were many criticisms and in fact you will know that even in the inside- and we don’t want to tell tales out of school but even on the inside of the party there were those of us who felt differently, who felt that there quite a few acts of corruption and I am telling you now that if those come out very glaringly and blatantly and we see it don’t expect any defense because this is why the people voted us out. We are going to ensure that those elements of bad that were in the United Democratic Party will no longer be and I don’t say that to say anybody will be put out of this party that’s not what we’re about we need everybody’s inclusion but if your agenda was bad the UDP’s agenda as I understood it from the time I got into this party but I especially understand it now as I lead this party is to do good for the citizenry of this party and if what it is you intend to do does not line up with doing well in this country then you can take your leave- that is our position moving forward.“
And while Faber has conceded that there was possible corruption in the previous government one person who has cleared his name from a cloud of suspicion is Marconi Leal Junior. Prior to becoming a Director on the Belize Telemedia Board, Leal was employed in the Marketing Department at BTL. It was during his term as Acting Chief of Sales and Marketing that the contract with Channel 7 was signed for almost three hundred thousand dollars. The question arose in an interview with BTL’s Chairman Mark Lizarraga yesterday upon the announcement of the new board on whether it was ethical to have Leal as a Director in light of the contract. This evening a release came out of Lizarraga’s office saying that Leal has provided sufficient evidence to indicate that he had not endorsed the contract. While Lizarraga would not say what the evidence was our newsroom has been reliably informed that Leal had objected to the contract prior to signing and had done so in writing. It is key to note that the contract with Channel 7 has since been cancelled and Net Vasquez has reportedly agreed to repay the almost one million dollars of BTL’s money which he spent on personal expenses.