PM Briceno Reacts to Minister Espat’s Sudden Death

PM Briceno Reacts to Minister Espat’s Sudden Death

Prime Minister John Briceno says the death of Minister of State Michael Espat came as a complete surprise. Briceno met with the 76-year-old before leaving the country last week and says Espat seemed to be in good health. Last Monday morning, Briceno appeared in the media and stated that he had previously spoken with Espat about his possible exit from politics. Briceno stated that he was to meet with Espat again on Friday, and according to Espat’s brother, Luke, they did do so. Espat says his brother was disappointed by the possibility of being challenged in a convention and not being able to pass the torch to his son. However, today, PM Briceno said that during their discussion on Friday, there was no discussion surrounding Espat’s succession. 

Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “Well I did have a meeting with him on the Monday before I left at his office and we had a great meeting. We did not speak about his future, we were just talking about some of this concerns in Toledo East and also how his views on the issue of the Mayan Indigenous Rights, the issue with the land how that’s could be worked out and he was expressing some of his concerns. I must tell you I was shocked actually because he looked quite healthy, his usual self. You know that smile, that slight smile in some of the things that he was saying so it was beyond words when I heard he had a massive heart attack and that he passed away. I must quickly add that – and I said it in the National Assembly in the House for the budget debate recognizing the tremendous work that Mike Espat has done since he offered himself for electoral politics in 1989 but we forget that he was a public servant even before that. He was a teacher, he was principal so he was always about public service and we must never forget that and I hope that younger politicians and people that are aspiring to represent people to look at him as an example of what it is to do public office. That it’s humility, it’s hard work and love for the people that you represent and love for your country. He loved Toledo East, he loved the Toledo district, he loved Belize and of course he loved his party.” 

Also expressing condolences to Espat’s family today was former PUP Minister Ralph Fonseca. The retired politician says “Mike was the most dedicated, humble, and hard-working PUP representative and Minister of GOB. I will surely miss him. He was in my office one week ago.”/

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