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Jun 21, 2019

PM Barrow and Julius Espat Go at it over S.S.B. Contributions

The House of Representatives met today in ordinary session, one month after a special meeting was called to amend the Maritime Areas Act, following the May eighth I.C.J. referendum.  But that Kumbaya moment during which there was peace and calm, or better yet a sense of political maturity between the government and the opposition, was short-lived.  This morning, the University of Belize Amendment Bill and the Land Tax (Partial Remission of Arrears) Bill were introduced, followed by second readings for the Customs and Excise Duties Bill and Tax Administration and Procedure Bill.  While those pieces of legislation were read through with little or no objection, things got heated on adjournment when several verbal exchanges took place across the floor.  Among them was a heated argument between Prime Minister Barrow and Cayo South Area Representative Julius Espat.  Both parliamentarians were engaged in a spat that quickly went from discussing an increase in S.S.B. contributions to an all-out tongue lashing.  Here’s how it happened.

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“When the member for Cayo South first begin to attempt to pass himself off as some anti-corruption apostle in these chambers, we had to remind him of the…  Madame Speaker…”

 

Julius Espat, Area Representative, Cayo South

“Madame Speaker, just a point of order, what does this have to do with the social security contribution?  I really want to know.  Thank you very much Madame Speaker, yes.”

 

Laura Longsworth, House Speaker

“You may proceed.”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Thank you so very much.  This, in the same way, he’s talking about corruption in terms of S.S.B.   This anti-corruption apostle conveniently and consistently, conveniently forgot and consistently continues to forget his, not pecadillos, not little sins, his large sins of omission and commission against probity and personal integrity.  Nobody will forget the premier’s lodge, the Chief Justice’s…”

 

Julius Espat

“I can remind the prime minister of all the contracts he gave his family.  I don’t want to go there.  I can remind the prime minister of all the legal fees that his brother, that his daughter have received Madame Speaker.  Don’t let us go down that road.  But this man is the prime minister of the country.  What a shame Madame Speaker.”

 

Laura Longsworth

“Honorable member, kindly take your seat.”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Weren’t you talking about my sweating?  Isn’t that what you said?  But man, remember the Old Virginia Slims commercial man, never let them see you sweat.  When you have to jump up every five minutes, you expose to the world the fact that I am getting to you, that I am eviscerating you, that I am skewering you, that I am destroying you.  That’s what it shows.  So for your own sake sit down man.”

 

Julius Espat

“Madame Speaker, I am only an honorable member from a rural community.  This is the prime minister of a country Madame Speaker.  What a shame, I repeat it over and over again.  Madame Speaker, can you get your house in order?”

 

Laura Longsworth

“Yes. Certainly.”

 

Julius Espat

“Thank you.”


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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