HomeBreaking NewsSix-Time Toledo East Area Rep, Mike Espat, Passes

Six-Time Toledo East Area Rep, Mike Espat, Passes

Six-Time Toledo East Area Rep, Mike Espat, Passes

One of Belize’s longest serving politicians passed away on Monday night in Belmopan. Michael Espat or “Iron Mike”, as he was affectionately known, passed away at the Western Regional Hospital. Reports are that he suffered a massive heart attack. Espat had not been fully active over the past couple months, as he was dealing with certain health complications. There was, however, no information on how severe those health complications were. His death comes at a great loss to his family, supporters in Toledo East and the People’s United Party. His constituents embraced him and showed their support by electing him six times to that seat. Espat only lost twice in Toledo East, in 1993 and 2008. Since his re-election in 2012, Espat has held on to the seat for three consecutive terms, up until the time of his passing. News Five’s Paul Lopez tells us more.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

An outpouring of condolences and well wishes are being extended to the family of Mike Espat, the six-time area representative for Toledo East. Espat passed away on Monday night at the Western Regional Hospital. Reports are that he suffered a heart attack. Linsford Castillo, the People United Party’s Secretary General, described Espat’s sudden death as a great loss.


On the Phone: Linsford Castillo

               On the Phone: Linsford Castillo

On the Phone: Linsford Castillo, Secretary General, PUP

“It is an understatement to say that it is a tremendous loss to the People’s United Party. The passing of Honorable Mike Espat is not only a loss to the PUP but to the entire country of Belize, but especially to the people of Toledo East since being elected in 1989. We all know honorable Espat has served multiple times in the House of Representatives. Of course he had to sit out once or twice but for the most part he has dedicated the greater part of his life to the people of this country. So no doubt we as a party are certainly feeling this and his loss will affect us for many months and years to come.”


Espat first came on to the political scene in 1989, when he was elected in Toledo East under the People’s United Party. He won the seat five more times after that, 1998, 2003, 2012, 2015 and the November 2020 general elections. Following the 2020 general elections, Espat was sworn in as the Minister of State, in the Office of the Prime Minister.


Mike Espat

                         Mike Espat

Mike Espat, Area Representative, Toledo East (File: December 2nd, 2020)

“I Mike Espat do swear that I will bear true faith and allegiance to Belize and will uphold the constitution and the law and I will conscientiously, impartially and to the best of my ability discharge my duties as a minister of state and to right to all manner of people without fear, favor, affection or ill will so, help me God.”


A release from the Office of the Prime Minister describes Espat as a good and faithful servant of his people and country. Espat’s Toledo East team also issued a statement on his passing. In the statement, they referred to Espat as a true pioneer who worked tirelessly to bring Toledo East and the Toledo District to prominence. The release notes that his legacy includes projects like the Joe Taylor Bridge and the enhancements to the Punta Gorda Hospital. He was considered a man of few words who only spoke up when the interests of his constituents were at stake. On one occasion in 2018, it was concerning the PUP’s southern caucus’s no to the ICJ position.


Mike Espat

                         Mike Espat

Mike Espat, Area Representative, Toledo East (File: August 31st, 2018)

“We took our position as a southern caucus after many discussions and talking to people in that area. You got to understand, what I did not tell you, that San Vicente, Jalacate, all the way Dolores, Acuacate, most of these people come from Guatemala. They are here because they cannot find the type of life in Guatemala. So they are in Belize. A lot of them have nationality. A lot of them have Belizean children. You think they want to go back to what they left? I don’t think so.”


On another occasion, while the PUP was in opposition, Espat rose inside the House of Representative to demand aid for his constituents affected by Hurricane Nana.


Mike Espat, Area Representative, Toledo East (File: September 17th, 2020)

“I have heard absolutely no interest for the farmers in the Toledo District. It is absolutely pathetic to see the damage for our farmers in the district. I was in Dolores and all the corn fields are down. I have seen no interest from the Ministry of Agriculture. Why is it that they have not been able to come up with some idea of utilizing what is in the field, because it is all left there and in the next two to three weeks most of that will rot.”


And Espat was not one to engage the media too often. On rare occasions he would agree to interviews. The PUP secretary general says that might have been the case because Espat was a straight shooter who sought to avoid unnecessary conflict.


Linsford Castillo

“To a large extend honorable Espat was a man of action and not too many words and as you may know and we all know in the party, he was a very candid individual who spoke it as he feels it. He was aware of that so he tried not to be in the media too often, because of the personality that he was. He would have certainly rubbed a lot of people the wrong way because he called it as he saw it. But nevertheless, he was a genuine individual who loved this country, loved the people of Belize, loved his constituency and of course loved his party.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

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