Responding to the Prime Minister’s appeal to the Opposition to rethink their plans for an expedition to the Sarstoon, Senator Eamon Courtenay who sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee for the PUP spoke to Love News on the Prime Minister’s Request.
“With respect to the opposition we have received the request that was made by the Prime Minister in his press conference that the People’s United Party not go and according to the party leader and the leader of the opposition the Honorable John Briceno we will consider that request at the National Party Council meeting on Saturday so we will see what the decision is of the National Party Council.”
In a recent press conference by the PUP, Party Leader John Briceno spoke of an exclusion of the opposition representative in the Belize/Guatmela meetings where he expressed remorse. Prime Minister Dean Barrow addressed this matter.
“But with respect to the opposition again we use the occasion of the press conference to make the appeal to them to rejoin the diplomatic effort that Belize has launched. Now on Monday after we concluded that press conference I had occasioned for the first time to get a sense of what the opposition was saying the reasons they were giving for their declaration that they considered the bipartisan or national unity approach to be at an end. They thought that the government had as it were effectively repudiated the way we had been going. You had asked me a question on Monday as to why the opposition wasn’t present in Washington and I had said to you what went on; I will not hesitate to say that I certainly regretted the fact that the opposition felt that they were hard done by and used that as a basis for saying they were disengaging. This situation was and remains so very fluid and I tried to explain the circumstances in which in my view we didn’t have an opportunity to get them involved, but perhaps we might have tried to as it were move heaven and earth to take them on that particular mission to Washington so let me say again, I regret that that didn’t happen and I make clear that there was not any intention to slight the opposition. We are very much aware of the value of a united approach on this issue so let me say again, appeal again to the opposition to have us move on, draw a line under the recent past and collaborate in the interest of the nation with respect to this fundamentally important effort in terms of Belize’s diplomacy regarding the Sarstoon.”
Courtenay responded to the PM’s comments and said that too will be taken to the upcoming National Party Council meeting.
“I don’t think the emphasis should be placed on the opposition’s feelings about being excluded; the fact is that we were excluded. I think what is important is the appeal by the Prime Minister that the opposition re-engage with the government. I have spoken with the party leader and the position is as follows: one: that is a very positive step by the Prime Minister, two: The party will consider it at the National Party Council meeting, we need to make a very informed decision on it and we expect to be briefed tomorrow as to the Washington meeting and the party leader expects that going forward that the engagement between the opposition and the government will be open, frank and continuous. If that is agreed the party leader says that he intends to recommend to the National Party Council on Saturday that we re engage formally.”
That planned expedition by the People’s United Party was initially announced for Friday, May 6 but according the Party Leader, John Briceno, it has been put off and will be further discussed at the upcoming National Party Council meeting slated for Saturday.