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Sep 27, 2013

Angry protestors take on Belmopan for anti-corruption march

The last demonstration on Independence Hill in Belmopan was held in February, so it’s safe to say that in light of the recent controversies one was overdue. There have been a number of salacious scandals in the past two weeks, including the SIF Dangriga Market and the passport fiasco. The combination of those burning issues and today’s House meeting set the stage for a peaceful protest. And the people did not disappoint. Mike Rudon was in Belmopan today and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

While politicians carried on as usual inside the House, the real power was outside, in the scorching sun. It was no monumental gathering – no million man march – but those few who stood outside with placards and signs spoke loudly on issues about which they are passionate. In Dangriga they want their market, and they want it now.

 

Gilbert Swaso, Mayor, Dangriga

“The firing of four people from SIF and the resignation of the Executive Director does not ease the suffering of the people of Dangriga in any way, shape or form. That is a band-aid solution for the corruption that is taking place in SIF.”

 

Giovanni Brackett

Giovanni Brackett, President, COLA

“My executive has come up with a resolution that we need to come out and support the people of Dangriga. We don’t care about the political issue. We are not here to support a P.U.P. Mayor. We are here to support the people of Dangriga that need their market like yesterday, like last year.”

 

The market stands incomplete and dilapidated, as a monument to corruption and incompetence. And according to SIF, it will be many months before the project is actually completed. The people are furious. They want it NOW, especially as the Prime Minister boasts about all the infrastructure underway in Belize City.

 

Gilbert Swaso

Gilbert Swaso

“The Prime Minister has it in his power to decide and to take decisive action to do whatever he wills. So it is inclement on the Prime Minister to stop the suffering in Dangriga and to divert those monies to complete, even in the first instance, the market in Dangriga. If in fact he was genuine to all the people, all the people…since he talks about one people, one government, then let us see if in fact it is one people. Let him now demonstrate that he is a leader who is transparent, who can stand by his word. Take care of all the people including the people of Dangriga.”

 

Today investors Lyndon Bailey and Emy Gilharry were present at the protest. They say they put money in the project, not the contractor. Just as passionately as the people want their market, the investors want their money back.

 

Lyndon Bailey, Investor

Lyndon Bailey

“I want to say this to the Prime Minister…we did not put money in Mr. Smart’s hands…we put it in the project. The only way Mr. Smart could have gone with our money is if he was working with people within SIF. We want our money and I want the Prime Minister to understand this. We want our money because it was a big corruption at SIF that caused us to be in this problem we are in right now. And I need my money.”

 

Gilbert Swaso

“Whosoever contractor is hired or comes online, our purview remains that we want our market to be finished and finished as early as possible and there was the opportunity for the market to have been finished by the thirty-first of October as stipulated by SIF…that is not by Dangriga in any way or form…that is not by the people of Dangriga…we want our market now.”

 

While the failed market project took center stage, today’s demonstration was actually about corruption in government which has led to situations like the market, and other scandals such as the passport controversy involving former Minister of State Elvin Penner.

 

Giovanni Brackett

“It doesn’t just start with the immigration scandal…it isn’t just the issue with Castro. It’s way back with Noh Mul…with the K.H.M.H. issue. It is time for us to take a stand. COLA has a track record that we have been on these issues, and my executive here, we brought in one hundred and thirty-five people Jules to come here to lodge our complaint on the record, because the time for press releases and press conferences is gone. The time for people movement is now.”

 

Mike Rudon for News Five.

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1 Response for “Angry protestors take on Belmopan for anti-corruption march”

  1. take a Beano then a dump says:

    Beano Barrow says he is responsible.

    resign, call new elections.
    your rats are jumping, you are going to jail with Penner and the other UDP Criminals. maybe air conditioning for you in Hattieville.

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