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Mar 22, 2018

Opposition Threatens Walkout after Faber Antics

Patrick Faber

Today’s Budget Debate was especially spicy as the main speakers went head to head. Belmopan’s John Saldivar answered Leader of the Opposition John Briceño and was in turn answered by Cordel Hyde, who was then answered by Patrick Faber. It got especially heated during Faber’s presentation as he went after Hyde on past scandals in the Ministry of Education first reported in 2003. When he brought in an allegation that Briceño was and is consorting with Haisam Diab, former Prime Minister and Fort George representative Said Musa announced that for the first time in Budget Debate history, the Opposition would refuse to stick around. But deputy Speaker Omar Figueroa, deputizing for Laura Longsworth, said that leniency would rule the day.

 

Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister

“Mr. Speaker, the reason why I need to highlight these things in answer, because their whole platform in this Budget Debate – I’ve listened to two speakers now – is about corruption. I listened as the member for Lake I went on about land corruption as well, well mek wi talk about that for a minute. My friend the Leader of the Opposition, the member from Orange Walk Central, should never open his mouth about land deals and corruption! (Applause) He started this morning by attacking my colleague, and when my colleague from Belmopan answered him, he cried wolf. That one from Toledo West jumped up – ‘that’s not about the budget! That’s not about the budget!’ like he’s been doing – look like that he deh wind up today to jump up like Jack In the Box. Mr. Speaker, he should never open his mouth about land deals and corruption; mek a remind him. Right now his office is not in Independence Hall on Queen Street; ask him where his office is. I will tell you right now. Your office is in a building owned by Haisam Diab, your partner; your business partner, who you presided…”

 

Omar Figueroa

Omar Figueroa, Deputy Speaker of the House

“Members, members of the gallery; could you please keep quiet, both sides. This meeting will not get out of order, okay. Just be quiet; we will have to ask some people to leave if you don’t do that. Both sides. (Addressing Briceño) Do you have a point of order?”

 

John Briceño

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“Yes, Mr. Speaker. This man is talking about what he don’t know about. He is accusing me of being a business partner with Haisam Diab and that is not true. And I challenge him to bring the proof, because that is absolutely a lie; it is not true. He cannot come here and hurl all kinds of accusations at people because they are not here to defend themselves. I am here to defend myself and I am telling him to his face that what he is saying is not true, and if da true bring the evidence.”

 

Patrick Faber

“Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, I don’t think anybody believes him. Just like when he says he is not a business partner to Lord Michael Ashcroft; he is a liar! (Interruption by Briceño) Mr. Speaker, my apologies, Mr. Speaker, he is a stranger to the truth.”

 

Omar Figueroa

“What is your point of order?”

 

Said Musa

Said Musa, Area Rep., Fort George

“Mr. Speaker on a point of order; we have been sitting in here and out there for over an hour now, listening to this Minister of Education, who should know better, engaging in character assassination in this Honorable House! This is totally unacceptable! And if you allow it to continue, Mr. Speaker, then that will bring this meeting to an end! (Applause, audio drops) …we walk out of this House if this continues. (Applause)”

 

Omar Figueroa

“Member for Fort George, I’ve been in here for the entire meeting today, and things have been happening, hurling from both sides. I will ask you, member from Collet: continue the debate, try to be as focused as possible.”

 

Patrick Faber

“Mr. Speaker, I wondered who was the leader just now? The former leader just threatened that they will walk out; did you check with your leader?”

 

In the end the Opposition stuck around but most of the Government’s representatives were absent during the tail end of the first day of debate, which is concluding at this hour.

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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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