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May 14, 2015

Did Foreign Minister Jump the Gun in Compromis Interview?

Dean Barrow

Contrary to what the Leader of the Opposition told the media, the P.M. claims that Fonseca was indeed informed of the proposed changes to the Special Agreement.  He maintains that after meeting with his party, Fonseca returned a call informing him of the P.U.P.’s consent.  The P.M. then told Fonseca that a release would be issued to apprise the public of the recent developments.  That was circumvented by the interview and according to the P.M., he needs to find out what transpired in his absence.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I was just about to call him to ask him what happened when, in fact he called me and he said that his party agreed.  His party had no objection to the change, so his party’s position reflected his own.  I did at that time say to him, “Okay, well our government will proceed, we will do a press release to acquaint the Belizean public with the development.”  And I did say to him that I would instruct my foreign minister to send him a draft of the press release for his input, if there’s anything he didn’t like we could talk about changing that.  The next Cabinet meeting after he gave his okay, the foreign minister did produce a draft release which I wasn’t happy with it so I asked that that be changed and I made it quite plain that the Opposition was to get a copy of the draft before it could be finalized and sent out. Next thing I know I saw on the news that the foreign minister had a one on one with you and presumably that’s how he informed the nation of the proposed change.  I would have preferred, as we had agreed in Cabinet, that a press release would have preceded, as I certainly would have preferred, as I had asked to be done and I preferred for the Opposition to have been sent a draft of the press release which is what I had, in fact, committed to the Opposition leader.  I don’t know that he asked me, I offered and I did say in Cabinet and we agreed it would be done.  I’m just back, I have to find out from the foreign minister why he didn’t proceed in that fashion, why there was never a press release issued and why therefore, as it turned out, since he never issued a press release there was nothing to send to the Leader of the Opposition beforehand.  So I regret that sort of confusion but I repeat, the Leader of the Opposition had immediately told me at the time of our first conversation that it was not a problem for him and five or so days later, called me to say it was not a problem for his party.”

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