King of Hustles? Print E-mail
( 4 Votes )
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 26 March 2013 00:00

Julius EspatThis year’s debate on the General Revenue Appropriation Bill was more of a parliamentarian retreat than an actual debate on the country’s financial future. The Opposition offered no alternative to Prime Minister Barrow’s national budget. There were more written reflections on projected economic performance than open challenges to the record of Government. Members of the gallery had to fight to stay awake through hours of extremely long reading sessions by the Opposition. It was perhaps the most boring budget debate in recent history because the PUP had nothing! Some say that is because it was the most difficult budget to debate as its focused on education, national security and job creation effectively addresses priority areas of national concern.

The debate was almost concluded shortly after 4 p.m. on day one when no one stood up to speak. All the television stations had lost interest in the debate and left before 2 p.m. Julius Espat and others did not want to present with the television stations being absent. This caused Prime Minister Barrow to get up and threaten to close the debate. It was then that Fonseca instructed his representatives to present. Julius was reserved to lead off day two of the debate which led to a much anticipated presentation. Espat failed to live up to the hype. In Prime Minister Barrow’s words, “The barnyard rooster ended up as a cockerel whose attempted crowing never came out as much more than a strangulated cluck-cluck cluck-cluck.” Julius Espat’s main challenge to Government was to provide greater access to land. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Gaspar Vega, pointed out in his presentation that this Government has distributed more than double the amount of land leases and titles in five years than the PUP did in their ten-year administration. However, Prime Minister Barrow contextualized Julius Espat’s concern about access to land.

Prime Minister Barrow revealed that while the People’s United Party was in Government, Julius Espat acquired a fortune. He acquired 5.33 acres of land in St. George’s Caye for only $5,864. He got 7.549 acres of prime real estate along mile 4 ½ on the George Price Highway for only $23,250.92. He got 9.092 acres at Northern Lagoon for a ridiculous $2,270. Also, for only $5,924.65, he got 9.38 acres of land at Mount Pleasant. Espat received another 2.29 acres of land on Forest Drive where the Ministry of Works compound sits. His greatest hustle of all is the transaction in which he purchased the Chief Justice’s residence for $100,000 and sold it for something in the range of $6 million. Prime Minister Barrow challenged him as the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee to look into those transactions.

Based on their record in Government, it is certain that a PUP administration would provide greater access to land - for Julius Espat, Bill Lindo and a few others. The PUP takes great pleasure every time they are in the House to remind Belizeans of how much they miss the good old days when they traded public resources like baseball cards and spent public funds like bratty teenagers. If Julius got so much without being an elected representative, imagine an elected Julius Espat in a PUP administration. In fact, by his own admission, he got great deals under the PUP administration that even now he is quite a wealthy man. For the people of Cayo South, this man is dangerous in Government.