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Julius abandoned by his party Print E-mail
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Thursday, 24 August 2017 00:00

This Saturday being August 26th, will make one year since Julius Espat’s uncouth behaviour cause him to be named, suspended and eventually carried out the house like a bag of dirty laundry or garbage.Well like the old saying goes, last week Friday, it appears to have been déjà vu all over again. It appeared like Julius was about to embark on a reenactment of his performance from last year. Last Friday was exactly eight days short of being one year since that infamous performance by Julius. The similarities between what occurred last year and this year almost mirror each other. Like last year, the bone of contention was a similar issue. Just like last year, on the MOTION OF THE ADJOURNMENT, Julius rose to speak on the matter of an Auditor General’s Report. For clarity we will transcribe the interaction the way it happened in the house last Friday.

Hon. Julius Espat - PUP Cayo South Area Rep.

“I rise today on a matter of public concern and that is the auditor general’s report for the year 2012-2013, I want to make some comments.”

Laura Longsworth - House Speaker

“Sorry honorable member that will refer to committee.”

Hon. Julius Espat

“Yes, maam but I am the chairman of the public accounts committee and I can refer to it.”

Laura Longsworth

“But we haven’t had the report from you yet.”

Hon. Julius Espat

“No maam, but I’m just making some comments in reference to it. I’m not reporting on it.”

Laura Longsworth

“But that’s unusual isn’t it?”

Hon. Julius Espat

“No mam, last year it was allowed even though I was kicked out, it was allowed initially.”

Laura Longsworth

“Thanks for reminding me, honorable member.”

Hon. Julius Espat

“And I wouldn’t like for that to be repeated madam speaker.”

Laura Longsworth

“[laughs], me neither but at the end of the day as we’ve discussed before we’d like you to...”

Hon. Julius Espat

“Yes mam, but this is the only opportunity that opposition members have to be able to show transparency by means of ventilating the issues.”

Laura Longsworth

“Honourable member, we know the House rules, we have referred it to you, you are the Chair, right?”

Hon. Julius Espat

“Yes mam.”

Laura Longsworth

“Can we move on from that?”

Hon. Julius Espat

“I can’t mam, because this is exactly what we need to do.”

It was at that point that the Leader of the Opposition took to his feet in defence of his colleague Julius and made the following plea to the SPEAKER on Julius Espat’s behalf .The following was the interaction between Johnny and the Speaker . Johnny Briceno

“You can also give the leeway to allow the honorable member to speak on such an important matter. The entire country is expecting us to say something about this today because they are just getting bits and pieces of the rank corruption that has been taking place under this government, madam speaker. So I’m urging you to please allow the gentleman to speak.”

Laura Longsworth - House Speaker

“Honorable opposition leader, you are also aware that these matters have to have permission prior to the meetings. I am kindly asking to adhere to the rules of the House.”

Julius then took to his feet again and had the following interaction between himself and the Speaker

Hon. Julius Espat

“Madam Speaker, if I may, I am extremely disappointed on your decision, madam speaker, but I would just like to inform you that a letter was sent to you this morning and that I will be convening public hearings on the public’s account committee based on the report, madam Speaker.”

Julius abandoned by his party

 

Laura Longsworth

“Yes, I have it here.”

Hon. Julius Espat

“Because this issue has to be ventilated, the Belizean people have to get to the bottom of it and it is a sad day today that again we are going down the road the undemocratic way, Madam Speaker, when you are not allowing members of this legislature to be able to ventilate the issues that are hurting us Madam Speaker. But we will leave it as that. Thank you very much.”

At that point the Prime Minister rose to express his displeasure at Julius Espat’s behaviour towards the Speaker. The following was how he expressed himself.

“Madam Speaker, sorry, I have to protest. That’s very unfair for the member to suggest that because you are regulating the business of the House in accordance with the standing orders that you’re undemocratic. You can’t debate something before it has gone to the PAC. He has already announced publicly that he will summon a meeting of the PAC, hallelujah! And that is where everything will be at you see? And then you have to behave like, anyway. Madam Speaker I take offense that he should accuse you of being undemocratic.”

The reason why Julius was not allowed to discuss the Auditor General’s Report  this year was for the exact same reason he was not allowed to discuss another report of the Auditor General last year. The reason being that it was out of order for him to do so. There are specific rules that deal with such matters. The rule is that once a matter is referred to a committee, then that matter cannot be the subject of discussion in the house. With the knowledge that experience is the greatest teacher, Julius should have known that he could not discuss that report since earlier during Friday’s meeting, the report had been referred to a committee and that committee is the PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE (PAC). He actually is the chairman of the PAC. Such was the situation last year. The then report had been referred to PAC and he was also the CHAIRMAN of the PAC . Julius had none and should not have any valid reason to cause him to form the opinion that any report that had been referred to the PAC would not be properly discussed and its contents not fully investigated and ventilated, since as chairman of that committee, he would be the person who is in charge of the direction that those discussions, investigations and ventilations take. We however believe that the reason Julius wanted to discuss these reports during the house meetings was because there would be no cameras in committee, for him to play to while he does his WITCH HUNT.

The only differences between last year and this year were that there was a different speaker back then and the other was the way it ended for Julius.  Belizeans would remember last year how after he was named by a member and then ordered to leave by the then speaker, how he refused to leave and had to be carried out like a bag of dirty laundry or garbage. Julius fell short of doing the full reenactment, right at the point where just like last year he accused the speaker of some sort of bias. It was only after the Prime Minister’s protest alerted Julius that he shifted course and decided to leave on his own accord before the possibility of him being named played out. As Julius prepared to leave, he was deliberate in packing up his possessions. He apparently did so to give his PUP COLLEAGUES a cue to get up and follow him. However last Friday he stood alone. His Huge colleague Mike Espat lifted himself out of his chair while Julius leaned that chair forward to give himself space to pass Mike Espat. As he walked past his other colleagues they hung their heads so as not to make eye contact with him. When Julius finally reached near the door he looked and gestured toward Johnny, who walked towards him, said something to him, patted Julius on his arm and pointed towards his own seat. Perhaps he told Julius to paddle his own canoe .

Julius did not stop there, because after he went outside, he was interviewed and he told the journalists present, that he had a problem with the Auditor General. He said he felt the new audit did not dig deep enough and that it did not examine the most important ministry with any depth. He had quite a few things to say including quoting some figures. We have not quoted him on them, because he made those statements outside the house where he has no immunity. We don’t want to be on the hook if ever those statements land him in court. One journalist reminded him that many of the things he mentioned took place when his party the PUP was in government, so if the UDP has any blame, then his party the PUP was equally as wrong back then. Julius gave them a condescending story, saying it was wrong then and is wrong now and will be wrong in the future. We have three questions for Julius. The first is why did he not say anything and ask for an audit when his party was selling off prime GOVERNMENT ASSETS like the FORESTRY WORKSHOP and the FORMER RESIDENCE of THE CHIEF JUSTICE for pennies on the dollar? Secondly since he seems to have more information on the present Audit Report, at what time did he come into possession of that report? Our third question to him is, what is his relationship with the Auditor General that would allow him to get all that information, apparently, before everyone else? Inquiring minds want to know those things.

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 August 2017 13:41