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May 23, 2017

Media Writes to Have Senate Committee Chair Ban “Yellow Man”

Media houses, including this station, have endorsed a letter to the Chairman of the Senate Special Select Committee which condemns the unprecedented and unprovoked actions of members of the United Democratic Party against members of the press covering last Wednesday’s public hearing in Belmopan. These included Chairman Alberto August and Sergeant-At-Arms of the House of Representatives Brian “Yellow Man” Audinett.  At a key point in the questioning of former Minister of State Elvin Penner, the group vocally interrupted Courtenay, prompting a suspension of the meeting.  However, their frustrations boiled over in attacks on three separate members of the press. We will come to the response from August later, but first to the letter, which details the nature of the attacks and warns that two of those attacked have filed reports with the Police though they have not requested court action. The letter states, “Needless to say, such aggression toward the media should not be countenanced while we are performing our duty and in the National Assembly, no less! We therefore call on you and the Committee to disallow Audinett from returning to witness the proceedings in the gallery as he has grossly violated the sanctity of the National Assembly, which he himself serves.  We hope that our request will be treated with the seriousness it deserves, considering that an attack of this nature on the media, if left unchecked, would speak ill of our country’s commitment to a free, fair and democratic society where the Fourth Estate can carry out its function without fear or hindrance.”  Unofficially, we are informed that Belmopan police will increase presence at the National Assembly on Wednesday. However, will they be any match for August and his horde? Committee member Eamon Courtenay reflected on the troubling pattern of U.D.P. behaviour after walking out of Friday’s regular Senate meeting.

 

Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator [File: May 19th, 2017]

“This is the same Government that physically dragged a member of this National Assembly out of these premises – they consider themselves above the law. Audinett is an employee of this honorable House. It is unacceptable for him to behave that way on the premises of the very House of which he is the Macebearer – the person who is to ensure that order and regular business can be conducted. But more than that, it is the arrogance, the disrespect, it is the criminal behaviour of these people – they believe that they can behave with impunity and attack even the media, who is recording, as is their right, what is taking place. But it is a deep sense of desperation that has set in in the United Democratic Party. And they are lashing out like animals, who are scared and trapped. The people are seeing their behaviour and they will be judged – hopefully sooner rather than later.”

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