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Jan 30, 2017

Julius Espat Returns with Strong Words for House

Julius Espat

In a final bit of news from Friday’s House of Representatives meeting, the return of Cayo South area representative Julius Espat was relegated to a footnote by the day’s debate, but he still found a way to make his mark. On Friday, he seemed to harbour a resigned frustration as he stood up on the adjournment. Espat raised the issue of securing lands for Valley of Peace farmers whom he said are still wrangling with conglomerate Santander Sugar following their spraying of crops a few years ago, and earlier, to comment on the Central Bank (International Immunities) Bill.

 

Julius Espat, Area Rep., Cayo South

“Madam Speaker, nobody here believes – I am a layman, I am not an attorney, but I understand certain principles. I do understand that we have the highest court and that is the CCJ; I do understand that we have to have certain limits and I do understand that that is our final court; so I can understand when the Prime Minister looks at this as something offensive to our country; but not with the history of how he has handled other things, Madam Speaker. They are coming here today as Mr. Nice Guy; they are coming here saying, we need to back up the P.M. because of this and this and that; but Madam Speaker, what happens when our constituencies need the service they don’t look at us that way. They are arrogant; they are disrespectful; they don’t even consider what we propose; they don’t even allow us to speak what we need to speak in this Honorable House and that happened in the past, Madam Speaker. All I am saying is if the Prime Minister wants true bi-partisan approach to many issues, he has to respect this side. He has to respect this side and I am saying it again, why? Because we represent people.  If the Poor people don’t have access to land, they cannot better themselves, ma’am. And the way the situation is set up in Belize right now, it is basically the large landowners, or people that have political connections that have access to land. In Valley of Peace, for example, the farmers are struggling to be able to have a piece of land on which to farm. We are still awaiting, Prime Minister, that the farmers that had an agreement with Santander can get title to the two hundred and fifty acres and it is in the offices of the Lands Department. I am hopeful that somehow the Prime Minister, who is in charge, can make sure that the technologies and the bureaucracy that goes, can be looked at so that these people can get their title. It is not government land that they are asking for; it is an agreement that was made between the farmers and Santander Group; and we have done our part – the farmers have done their part, Santander has done their part and it is now up to Government to formalize the agreement.”

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