Whe wrong with that?? Print E-mail
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Written by By Jamil Matar   
Wednesday, 28 March 2018 00:00

That was the challenging question which the PUP OW South area representative, Hon. A. Mai, bellowed at the Prime Minister across the aisle during the PM’s closing remarks at Friday’s budget debate in the Honorable House of Representatives.   The PM was listing the amount of properties which the Honorable Leader of the Opposition had allegedly granted himself, his family, and his cronies when he was Deputy Prime Minister and was charged with the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). We will discuss what’s wrong with that… as it pertains to Orange Walk.

For those of you who are not familiar with the OW District, I was told by a cane farmer that the same Miller’s Bight Registration section from which some 1,700 acres were granted to one PUP family member begins almost immediately after you cross the San Estevan Bridge: It is situated in the direction of the Doubloon Bank bridge and Honey Camp Lagoon.  In fact, the OW by-pass seems to cut through Miller’s Bight.   In drawing comparisons, the nearest size estimate I was given for OW Town proper is that it covers approximately 6 square miles. If this is so, then this one PUP family was granted an area half as much as our town, right next to it, and in the principal direction which our town will later expand.  And if the former Centaur manager was indeed granted 6,000 acres in another section of our district then he received almost 2 Orange Walk Towns!  That’s what is wrong, Abelardo.

I was tempted to sub-title this discourse “Progresso gone True Blue”, but I went with Mai’s outburst instead. I will tell you why I was tempted with the above subhead.

The American writer Louis L’Amour is known to have penned many fictional novels about the American frontier, in the days of the Wild West. In fact, several Western movies on TBN are based on L’Amour’s stories of the Sackett family like “the Quick and the Dead” and “Shalako”. One thing we understood from his account of that period is that large land owners were considered monarchs of small towns and villages and would choose the sheriff and the judges. If one person owns half of Progresso who do you think will call the shots in that village?  Dissent and be stifled, or better yet, “trampled” as Micah Goodin would prefer.  If you think I am joking, guess which political family is the Don Corleone of San Joaquin in Corozal?

In our present political perspective, Hon. Gapi Vega got fired from Cabinet, ostracized by his Party, and scorned by the nation for granting some 400 acres to his family while now we hear of a PUP family and PUP cronies owning combined land certificates measuring approximately 13.2 square miles (8,500 acres) of property in the Orange Walk District. Whe wrong with that, you still say, Abelardo?

Let us compare costs now. A strong UDP supporter bought a 100’ x 100’ property (0.23 acre) in the same Miller’s Bight Section for the price of $1,000. From a UDP government, too. How much did the True Blue “Bally” pay for his parcel which is 68 times larger than my friend’s?  As to the 6,000 acres to the other crony, you know what said Tiburcio did with his vast estate? He mortgaged it to the DFC for $100,000, then split the scene. The Government got back what it previously owned but was a hundred grand poorer.  Truth is, it was us Belizeans who got shafted $100,000 just like that.  Talk about white collar crime! I don’t even want to talk about Tiburcio’s nationality, because that will shock you.

The part that hurts many of us is that it was the accusations against Boots and Montero which contributed to poor polling for the UDP on March 7. How come we knew nothing of these galling and reprehensible deeds before the municipals? Wrong move.  Nevertheless, one month is a long time in politics: the prevailing sentiment on the streets is that there is outrage against the PUP right now.  And they thought victory was already sealed? Wheel and come again, old chap!