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Nov 2, 2001

Musa: Espat was obligated to resign

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On last night’s One on One, Prime Minister Musa focussed the discussion to the negative effects of September eleventh and Hurricane Iris that Belize will experience. P.M. Musa maintained that despite the grim outlook, he is confident that Belize will overcome the challenges ahead of her. Near the end of the hour, the P.M. switched gears to discuss the recent resignation of former Minister Jorge Espat. The P.M. says the official reason Espat gave in his letter was dissatisfaction with government’s bill before the House of Representatives to change the composition of the Senate. However, the Prime Minister says it was Espat’s obligation to resign because he opposed the Cabinet decision.

Prime Minister Said Musa

“We have to be guided by the system, that talks about Cabinet responsibility, collective responsibility, and there are certain rules that bind all of us who agree to be part of that Cabinet. I would say that certainly many of our people, certainly the party, felt that he had gone too far. And you can’t have your cake and eat it too, you have to make up your mind if you want to be a Cabinet minister with that responsibility, or if you want to have the freedom to lash out whenever you want. If that’s the freedom you want, then you business on the back benches.”

Dickie Bradley

“Is this to say though that you are presiding over a government in which there is no lashing out, there is criticism, there is no dissent, there is no free speech or so?”

Prime Minister Said Musa

“On the contrary, I think our party has shown that we welcome debate about issues. In the Cabinet room, we don’t need to speak out of turn here tonight, but you know that we have differences discussed in the Cabinet. There is certainly no uniformity of opinion, but at the end of the day, once a decision is taken the rule is that we’re all bound by it. Any Cabinet minister, and I think it’s important that our people should understand what are the rules of the game. Any Cabinet minister who sits in that Cabinet has every right to express his views very forcefully and disagree violently. And that is done. But at the end of the day once a decision is taken, if any particular member is not happy with it, cannot live with it, cannot work with it, his obligation is to resign.”

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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