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Jan 13, 2017

Julius will be back – but is he really sorry?

Julius Espat

Absent for this first sitting of the House of Representatives in 2017, was Cayo South area representative Julius Espat. He has not seen the halls of the National Assembly since he was forcibly removed after being suspended on August twenty-sixth. But it is now a new year, and while no one will ever forget the spectacle of his forced removal from the House, the Government side appears to want to move on. After a deal was brokered involving Mesop Area Rep Michael Finnegan and senior party officials from the opposite side, Espat will return at the next House meeting, after expressing some level of contrition and respect for the office of the Speaker, though not enough to satisfy some. Leader of the Opposition John Briceño, however, was not successful in his plea for his suspended House salary to be returned or for him to attend today’s session; the Prime Minister argued that it and his removal was well-deserved.

 

Michael Finnegan

Michael Finnegan, Area Representative, Mesopotamia

“I’d first of all like to thank the member from Fort George, and the Leader of the Opposition, for the vigorous involvement in resolving this matter, and that I hope and pray to the Lord in Heaven, that as long as I live, that I will never want to witness what happened on the twenty-sixth of August last year, and I would hope that every member in this House must realize that you are the person, Madam Speaker, who is in charge of this House.”

 

John Briceño

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“There’s absolutely no reason why he could not have been here; he was suspended in August, here we are in January. As I pointed out, looking at the Constitution and looking at the Standing Orders, there is no law that could have prevented Julius Espat from entering the House today. Because according to the Constitution, the session is one year; twelve months have been up – even if you take the calendar year, or you look at when the first session took place under the U.D.P. Government, which was in December, 2015; that year is up. So without the consent of the Government – without the motion that was passed – Julius Espat should have been allowed to enter this House and to be here participating in the debate, and representing the people of Cayo South.”

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Because the Leader of the Opposition’s point is well made; being the representative of a constituency is not limited to appearances in the House to conduct the business of the House; it is far wider. And I took the decision – that seven thousand is paid through the office of the Prime Minister – to continue to pay the member, and I have done that. So there is no… (Applause) there was no effort to be punitive; such salary as has been withheld has to be withheld in the context of his suspension from the House.”

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