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Apr 29, 2022

Opposition Leader Criticizes PM Over Plant Importation Fiasco

Shyne Barrow

Opposition Leader Shyne Barrow has weighed in on the controversy surrounding the importation of plants into the country, as well as phone calls that were made by Prime Minister John Briceño requesting assistance from a forestry officer to facilitate the process at the northern border.  Barrow strongly condemns the actions of the prime minister, especially since the plants that were brought in are on the CITES list of endangered species.  According to Barrow, the Prime Minister had no business intervening in that process, despite the importer presenting the required paperwork for the importation of the plants.


Shyne Barrow, Leader of the Opposition

“Never in life would I imagine that a prime minister would get involved in the public officer discharging their duty.  That is just not the way good governance is supposed to work, that’s not the way a democracy is supposed to work.  This is not Cuba, I know they’re in Cuba right now.  This is not Fidel Castro, our prime ministers don’t have absolute power.  This is a democracy, you have a cabinet [and] you have public officers who transcend political parties.  It doesn’t matter whether it is a UDP government or a PUP government, those public officers are there to ensure continuity, stability.  And so, if an officer is discharging their duty, the last thing that a public officer needs is for the prime minister to tell them, “Don’t worry about the technicalities, we’ll deal with that after.”  And then, the prime minister called again when they went to inspect the plants because contained in those plants, I understand, are endangered species of plants which puts us in contravention of the CITES convention that we are a signatory to which leads to sanctions that Belize could be blacklisted and then our conch, our mahogany and other revenue streams that we have will not be accepted by other nations.”

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