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Jul 24, 2019

Gaspar Vega Emerges for Village Council Elections

The once powerful Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources has been keeping a low profile.  Gaspar Vega has missed countless meetings of the House of Representatives on behalf of the people of Orange Walk North, who elected him to represent them.  Vega, it is known, did not take too well a demotion from the ministry, which was famously called a hotbed of corruption. Later, he went AWOL when his son was taken to court by the government for illegally enriching himself with land compensation when Vega was minister.  But village council elections are taking place and on Sunday, Vega surfaced in the constituency. Here is a look at how it played out with Hipolito Novelo.

 

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

On June twenty-first, Area Representative for Orange Walk North, Gaspar Vega emerged wearing his party’s colours. He made an appearance in front of Trial Farm Government School, Orange Walk, where polls had been set up for round five of the village council elections. He was reproached by P.U.P. supporters. Vega was reminded of his absence from many House Sittings in the past two years.

 

Voice of: P.U.P. Supporter

“He can’t go that the House meeting but he can be out here. You done forget about the north. We are not going. We will stay here. You should be ashamed of yourself. He is not a representative. How long hasn’t he gone to a house meeting?”

 

That is a valid question. His disappearance from the House began after he resigned from Cabinet. His resignation came after irrefutable evidence surfaced that as the then Minister of Natural Resources, he had allowed payment of  four hundred thousand dollars to his son, Andre, for privately owned land comprising  two-point-two acres near mile five on the Philip Goldson Highway as compensation. The government sued Andre and recently the court ruled that he must return the money. From our records, Vega last appearance in the National Assembly building was on June thirtieth, 2017. Before that, Vega had missed seven House Sittings and continues to be absent.

 

Ramon Cervantes Jr.

Ramon Cervantes Jr., P.U.P. Standard Bearer, Orange Walk North [File: July 4th, 2017]

“I think those absences are a total disrespect to the constituents of Orange Walk North, to his colleagues in the House of Representatives and to the Prime Minister himself.”

 

Vega still appears on the website of the National Assembly. According to section eighty-four of the House Standing orders “if…any Member is absent from the House for more than six consecutive sittings occurring during the same Session, and within a period of not longer than three calendar months, such Member shall vacate his seat in the House. To avoid that, the member will need to obtain written leave from the Speaker of the House before his absence.”

 

John Briceño

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition [File: March 17th, 2017]

“I think that the number six that you can miss. I think it’s six per session; so with this government, I don’t think we have six house meetings a year, because they don’t like to come to the house. So we don’t know if we are going to reach at that magic number, but we shall see.”

 

That interview was conducted in March seventeen 2017. Fast forward to July twenty fourth 2019, Vega, though inactive, remains a member of the House, receiving the benefits afforded to his fellow parliamentarians. Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.


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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