Since the shooting of a BDF solider at Valentin Camp, there has only been one press release from the Government on the incident. Most of what has been reported and released has been independent reports and investigation by the media. Chairman of the Belize Progressive Party, Paco Smith says that the government needs to be transparent on pressing issues as these that are affecting the country.
“The government’s handling of that situation is less than satisfactory. We have that position because at the BPP we are all about full disclosure, we are not about giving bits and pieces of information or operating in sort of a clandestine sort of environment I believe it is indicative of the woeful negligence that we’ve seen from this administration on several occasions. This is but a manifestation of the foray policy that the PUDP and I include the PUP in this because the policy involving Guatemala is a bipartisan one. I believe that the Minister of Foreign Affairs at one point recently said that he will not talk about the issue of Guatemala unless he has a PUP representative with him. If the people of Belize need anything to convince them that this whole forray policy of accommodation, adherence, acquiescence and accommodation is real what more do you need than a statement like that from the Foreign Minister. This is definitely the way the government has been handling this in all instances involving Guatemala’s instances towards Belize leaves a lot to be desired.”
BPP believes the government has been inadequate and mediocre when responding to the Belize- Guatemala issue.
“When the situation occurred that Guatemala summarily said that the Sarstoon belonged to them, flying up in the face of international law and the 1859 treaty that has been on the books and acknowledged by Belize and the rest of the world that sent a clear message and to say the least the response that was given by the government of Belize was tepid. It was woefully inadequate and I will draw upon the release that was done by CARICOM. You know you are in problems when someone claims a part of your territory and the release from your government is much more mediocre than that which is put out by the regional body. I understand that indeed anything that CARICOM puts out is run through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but in an instance where our sovereignty and territorial integrity is basically being taken away bit by bit in no uncertain terms and your government shows its impotence the way it has it’s a serious situation and Belizeans across the nations have to become attuned to this because one of the hallmarks of the Dean Barrow administration is a lack of full disclosure, we are seeing it on a daily basis.”
Smith says that the Government’s action is far from how the situation should be handled.
“The BPP is all about full disclosure and one of the pillars of our style of governance is consultation. We never look toward hiding things from the people, we shall never do that. Of course one could argue that when you are in a position of authority there are certain things that you should not say but I think if you have a fundamental premise that you want to liase with the people and gain consensus when and if possible then that will set the tone for any administration. So if we are to compare and contrast what is being experienced now through the current administration versus that of our perspective definitely we would handle things in a more amenable fashion with the public.”