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Opposition Walks Out of the House

After the UDP Area Representatives couldn’t take it anymore they decided to walk out in the middle of the budget presentation; that was just after one o’clock this afternoon.  The media met with the four opposition members outside the National Assembly where Opposition Leader Patrick Faber was still hot blooded over the exchanged.

Patrick Faber, Opposition Leader: “Well because while I will give the speaker credit for addressing the matter she has certainly engaged the situation and has made a pronouncement even to say that the language consistently used by the member for Cayo South is out of order. She goes no further than to strike it off the record and does not demand this man to apologize. And as a result of that he is emboldened and he feels that he can do it every time. Look at the last time when he referred to my colleague from Mesopotamia as a jailbird or something like that, completely unparliamentary and again that matter should have been dealt with by asking him to apologize. What happened then was that it was just struck off the record. This man is a repeat offender and as a result today he brings it up again because he feels that it is okay and so if the Speaker will not take it as far as to demand an apology, and apologize to the Speaker, to the public right now for my retort just now when I said “What if I would call you gyal?” but that was just to make the point that it is unacceptable. I would never get away with calling the Speaker “Gyal” so how is it that the Prime Minister himself has done it, and in fact the member from Cayo South continues to do it call me “Bwoy” and then nobody demands an apology. It is disrespectful and we will not tolerate that kind of behavior.”

Faber goes on to say that something needs to be done about Espat’s disrespect and conduct.

Patrick Faber, Opposition Leader: “Julius Espat has got to be put on a reign. Somebody has got to reel him in. He is out of order and he is not what this country needs for good governance. If it were me alone maybe I’d tolerate it but it is the seventy percent of this population that are young people much younger than I many of them that receive the disrespect when he does that. Yes I am one of the younger members of parliament but I am senior to him any day in terms of the number of years and the number of times that people have elected me and it is not me it is the office that I hold which is a duly elected member, five-time elected member of the Collet constituency and the duly elected leader of the opposition as well. So it is disrespect to the office but more importantly it is disrespect to all of my fellow young people in this country when he will behave like that and call people boy and I suspect he probably calls the girls gyals.”

Meanwhile, Mesopotamia’s Area Representative Shyne Barrow says what he wanted was an apology.

Shyne Barrow, Area Representative, Mesopotamia:I could be wrong and that’s why I asked Madam Speaker to ask him to apologize because if it was not racial and the Leader of the Opposition and I had raised it to Madam Speaker then he could have clarified that and said “No well I never meant anything racist by that.” and clarified himself but he has not apologies. So on either grounds I believe he’s out of order but certainly people in my constituency feel that he was being racist.”

 The House Meeting concluded shortly after the walkout.  This evening Minister Julius Espat took to social media to clarify his statements earlier.  He explained that, “the opposition chose to walk out of the House of Representatives today, and left their constituents unrepresented due to the fact that they were upset with the unprecedented Infrastructure work that The Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing has been doing all over the country. They were annoyed because their baseless and untruthful attacks was defended with the facts. During the discourse I used the word “bway”, and it was used on the basis of immaturity, and never from an alleged racial connotation as was insinuated by a leading member of the media who took his cue from the two opposition members. I proudly represent many ethnicities and the work being done impacts all Belizeans. Please do not allow the UDP to divide us; we are all the same.”  End of quote.