Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister as the pot in the quotation, "the pot calls the kettle black" ( from a smoky wood fire I presume? )
Deputy Prime Minister of Belize accuses Opposition leader, alleging scam deal in Parliament confrontation, when he last was in office? This photo is Johnny Briceno


Much to the amusement of we the public, was the brooha in the House sitting last Friday, June 19, 2009. We were entertained on television with an explosion of yelling and name calling and finger pointing, as two opposing elected representatives from Orange Walk, threw allegations of corruption and criminality against each other, and got into a shouting match across the aisle of parliament. The Speaker of the House let the brouha ride on and we the public got an earful. In Belize they say you should believe the alligator when he tells you what is happening on the river bottom. Normally politicians are careful not to accuse each other, in and out of government, because if it isn’t their turn this five years, it might be next five years, to get rich off the pickings of the treasury and control of the government by the party in power, through criminal minded scam swindles. We have no budgeted 6% expense for unavoidable corruption losses in our government, like some countries. I presume this is because Belize is bankrupt and heavily in debt at 82% of GDP.

Didn’t quite pick up on what Johnny Briceno, leader now of the PUP Opposition was accusing Gaspa Vega, the Deputy Prime Minister of the incumbent UDP of doing? I tuned in a bit too late. They are both from Orange Walk and because the town is small, they know all the dirty linen that each have, in get rich quick politics. Anyway it got out of hand and became a shouting match. Briceno the new Leader of the Opposition PUP was accusing Gaspar Vega of the PUP, over something and Vega came back with his own finger pointing and told Briceno the leader of the PUP Opposition, that nobody in his family had ever gone to jail for criminality. Which doesn’t mean a hill of beans when you are in politics in Belize . The accusation by Vega went on to say Briceno when his PUP party was in power, had bought a piece of land from the government for $10 ( WOW! ) and sold it a week later for a $1 million dollars. Since no defamation suits will be filed, or slander suits, we the public have to take that as true. On the other hand, around Cayo West, the public impression left, believes Vega has from the street rumor mill, a reputation of asking for bribes for permits and licenses using his ministerial discretion. True or not I don’t know? This is just the street talk. Dirty crooked politicians from both major parties usually keep each others secrets. This time things went BLAM in the House Sitting.

Vega also reminded the PUP leader and possible future Prime Minister, PUP Briceno as a default party choice, if dissatisfaction with the UDP should get hold; that his father went to jail in the USA for drug smuggling.

I remember that incident years ago. As I remember it from the newspaper articles, Briceno’s father was seduced by a smooth talking DEA Agent Provecateur into taking a parcel of cocaine on the plane to Miami in an Orange Walk bar, for money and then arrested on arrival in the states. He got 8 years the normal sentence, and came back after 4 years with 50% time off for good behavior, or something like that as I vaguely remember the newspaper articles of the time. All the well established politicians of both parties up in the northern Corozal and Orange Walk districts had reputations for enabling smuggling of intransit drugs, by street talk and newspaper hints in the news. The DEA agents in country of the time were trying to pad their work and expense statistical sheets it was believed, and so were creating criminals through temptation and being agent provecateurs, until Belizeans caught on to what the DEA agents were doing. We did get the point that Gaspar Vega, the Deputy Prime Minister was making though, when we watched the histronics on television. The point was, it is okay to be a criminal politician, so long as ‘ you do not get caught’, and particularly if you don’t go to jail. So far, no crooked politicians in either party have done that. In fact, there is a gentlemans agreement from observations, not to prosecute each other, when in political office and running corruption scams. That is the general public opinion.

Needless to say, I kind of thought that the downfall of Johnny Briceno, the Leader of the Opposition would be taken down by the UDP over a HUGE BRIBE for an oil lease, in which the American buyer was not at all happy over being screwed out of the correct oil lease parcel. Nobody has yet proved this one way, or the other, but the PUP leader last term in office switched the Oil Ministry when the man went complaining to the news media of being cheated by the OIL Minister. The PUP of that term quickly switched oil minister jobs and which of the two oil ministers actually took the bribe, we never did hear from the public viewpoint. I expected to hear the result of that during the next election campaign.

However, now that the past corrupt land deal has been put in the public arena in the Parliament House Sitting, the speculation pretty much finishes Johnny Briceno as party leader of the PUP I would think? He will have lost his chance to be Prime Minister. That past deal is public record. Unless he sues Gaspar Vega for defamation and slander of character. Briceno now is the worst person to be the leader of the PUP party. The public no longer wishes to tolerate open criminality among leading Cabinet politicians, though it is probably not going to stop. This destroys any lingering credibility about the PUP as a political force and paints them as just plain MAFIA crooks, as in criminal conspiracy, in public eyes. Not said, but implied was that it is notable that the UDP Cabinet have NEVER sued, or corrected Johnny Briceno’s land deal in a court case, though they are fooling around with Lord Ashcroft, a believed political manipulator for profit, in the historical British system of corruption. Wheels within wheels and this is what makes politics in Belize such a SOAP OPERA. All that is missing is music, singing and flashing sword fights on the stage.

In the meantime, Channel 5, supposedly owned by Lord Ashcroft, a Robber Baron who manipulated both party leaders during the last fifteen years or so, for huge tax breaks in the multi-millions, at the expense of the public treasury and citizens, has suddenly been announced on his owned Channel 5 TV ( so the newspapers have led us to believe ) that they are offering a $20,000 reward for any evidence of corruption that will go to court. This of course is a good thing and we support this alleged Ashcroft move, but apparently aimed at the UDP who are now in power of government. A fight we believe between Barrow our Prime Minister and Ashcroft companies over some sort of double cross? Dean Barrow leader of the UDP and now Prime Minister of Belize, became a multi-millionaire the newspapers hint, when his law firm was on retainer from Ashcroft for ten years, but when he won office a year and a half ago, has turned and bitten the hand that was feeding him, making him rich, so the newspapers imply. Nowadays Barrow and Ashcroft are arch enemies in outward appearance, more in court than out, on government questionable deals done by the past PUP government. You have to live here and know the characters to appreciate all this stuff. It is a SOAP OPERA that only needs to be put on stage like the Italians do, with fat singers singing soprano and all that melodrama. Nobody ever goes to jail though, as neither the court system, or the police can arrest and charge a sitting politician, as Minister in Cabinet under this crooked British governing system. The voter citizen taxpayer foots all the bills for the sham court cases, as in spending the treasury funds. Strangely enough, no politician has ever been assassinated YET! We can only suppose that time will come eventually.

In the meantime, one of the newspapers this past weekend is alleging ( I forget which one ) that one of the PUP political Royals that were in government for the past ten years, is bragging they made $500 million dollars during that time of public service in Belize. The public are speculating on who it is and if it is true? We kind of estimated about a $200 million hit during the PUP ten years of control of the government, so the $500 million report in the newspaper comes as a bit of a shock, but entirely believable.

Our politicians are learning from the USA politicians how to work the system in new scams.

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