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Aug 27, 2015

COLA Renews Call for F.M. Elrington’s Head

Two weeks ago, Prime Minister Dean Barrow at a press conference threw his Foreign Minister, Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington, under the bus for comments that have inflamed Belizeans on numerous issues related to the Guatemalan claim. The PM established that he is the authority on the issue. This morning, the grassroots organization, COLA, launched its Protect Belize campaign in grand style and Elrington again finds himself at the heart of the campaign.  COLA repeated its call for Elrington’s head for his purported gaffes and mishandling of the territorial dispute, including the most recent incursion of the Sarstoon by the Guatemalan military.  The organization also wants G.O.B. to start, without delay, the construction of the forward operating base.   News Five’s Isani Cayeano was at the press conference and has the following report.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The symbolic torching of the image of Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington by nonaligned grassroots organization COLA in July 2012, in many ways commenced an informal campaign to have him removed from his post as Belize’s chief government representative abroad.  While that crusade has since proven futile, recent events, particularly those regarding the contentious territorial dispute with Guatemala, have renewed activism demanding Elrington’s dismissal from office.

 

Geovanni Brackett

Geovanni Brackett, President, COLA

“We are dissatisfied with you, and all the organizations that support COLA and every rational person, as you would have it described, saying to you, resign, resign, resign. Now!”

 

That call, resolute in conviction, succeeds what many believe is yet another misstep in the handling of the recent expedition by the Belize Territorial Volunteers to Sarstoon Island.  Bear in mind, the Barrow administration did not approve of, nor did it provide cover for the perilous mission.

 

Geovanni Brackett

“Where is the spine by our government and the testicular fortitude to defend this people of Belize?  Where is your courage? Apart from the vague sentiments expressed by the foreign minister every time he goes on television, this government has been sleeping on the job concerning events in the Sarstoon and along the border.  When was the last time either Prime Minister Barrow or Foreign Minister Elrington or anyone in authority visited these areas for themselves.  The BTV has asked them to do so repeatedly, yet they have refused.  Mr. Prime Minister, you didn’t have to rely on second or third hand information from bias agents like the O.A.S., you could have been there yourself like a true leader.  But you backed yourself into a corner by shouting loud and long that G.O.B. would have nothing to do with BTV’s expedition.”

 

To make matters worse, the beleaguered foreign minister opted to wait on a report from the O.A.S. to determine whether or not the Guatemalan navy had indeed entered into Belizean waters illegally during the planned trip to Sarstoon Island.  COLA’s ire is directed squarely at Prime Minister Barrow.

 

Geovanni Brackett

“We are angry with you and your government for keeping Wilfred Elrington, in our view, a useless charlatan as foreign minister.  In our view your government has effectively failed to defend the territory of Belize, failed to continue internationalizing Belize’s position on the unfounded Guatemalan claim and have been reluctant in taking steps to dismantle and persuade against the arguments of the Guatemalans.  Like the recent misspeak, in quotes, by their foreign minister over military bases which in fact had nothing to do with law enforcement and was a red herring to distract the press and others seeking aid and comfort.”

 

COLA’s platform, unveiled this morning during an hourlong press conference, seeks to achieve three ends: remove Sedi Elrington as foreign minister, build the forward operating base on Sarstoon Island and revisit all existing agreements with Guatemala.  This, says Rufus X, can only be accomplished by bringing pressure to bear on government.

 

Rufus X

Rufus X, Executive Member, COLA

“If we get out there and confront the government in masses and say we want our B.D.F. facilities on the border next to Guatemalan soldiers they would be bound to build the base.  There’s nothing impossible.  If they want a base built why don’t they contract me to build it?”

 

Geovanni Brackett

“Really Mr. Prime Minister, the reasons you give why a forward operating base is not practical on the Sarstoon because it is swampy, mosquitoes will eat our military and give them dengue.  I mean if it was not so serious it would be comical, it would be a joke if it was not that serious.  Military outposts are not the Hilton, they’re not the Ramada, they’re not the Radisson.  They are military outposts and our soldiers are trained and paid to defend this country and I would say that our soldiers they want to defend this country.  It’s the government that’s stopping them from defending this country.”

 

The anti-Guatemalan sentiment, not surprisingly, remains at an all-time high.  That emotion is heightened by an incident that reportedly occurred across the western border on Sunday in neighboring Melchor de Mencos where Belizeans flock in numbers to do business.

 

Geovanni Brackett

“As far as I know, Melchor needs Belize more than we need Melchor.  I would rather have us go over to Chetumal every single day than to go over to Melchor, to a foreign country that does not recognize us.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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3 Responses for “COLA Renews Call for F.M. Elrington’s Head”

  1. Prig Minister of Belize, Ali BaBarrow says:

    You people need to crawl back under your rock, and beg for mercy.

    Ali and the forty thieves are Belize, Ali is Belize.
    Sedi protects his testicles and manages the fig leaf. Do not forget it.

    BTW, Rufus X cut your beard, you are not allowed to look like Sedi without a license, a new secret law.

  2. steven says:

    I was use to seeing COLA do press conferences only. Lots of bla bla bla, I wonder if that is all they do? As an organization, I have seen them on the news doing nothing else but press conferences. But I wonder, as an organization does COLA involve themselves in community activiites? Do they help Belizean Citizens??Let me be clear in saying that COLA does not represent my views or the views of many Belizeans out there. COLA has had too many press conferences that they think they are in a position to speak on my behalf. No Sir. COLA you are going down the wrong path…inciting violence is what I see in all of your members. Slow you roll….Mr. Brackett, you are mistaken if you and your crew think you represent the views and opinions of the average Belizean…you do not….

  3. BELIZELOVER says:

    i congratulate COLA for being one organization that speaks out on behalf of thousands who cannot go to the media and say it like it really is in Belize. I am not offended by their actions, because this UDP government is really in a mess, going down the wrong path and into the abyss AND I do not want to be drawn or sucked down with them. If it were not for COLA thee are many things that we would not have known. Someone HAS to speak out loud and clear for all of us Belizeans. Thanks COLA for your indefatigable job.

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