Highlights — 14 February 2018 — by Rowland A. Parks
Florencio Marin, Sr., receives Party Leader’s Award for outstanding service

BELIZE CITY, Sun. Feb. 11, 2018– Hon. Florencio Marin, Sr., the retired People’s United Party (PUP) senior parliamentarian and representative of the Corozal South East constituency, who is also a former deputy PUP leader, became the first person to be given the Party Leader’s Award for outstanding service to his country and party.

The award was given to Marin today during the PUP National Convention at the ITVET campus by PUP leader, Hon. John Briceño, in recognition of his 43 years of service to Belize and the PUP.

Marin, who is from San Narcisco, Corozal District, was an elementary school teacher and began his political life at the age of 23, in 1960. From his humble beginnings, Marin would go on to win his Corozal South East constituency seat in 9 consecutive general elections and was regarded as the PUP powerbroker of the north.

Marin also served as Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives from 1984 to 1989, when the PUP leader Rt. Hon. George Price had lost his seat for the first time to newcomer Derek Aikman.

At the height of PUP power, prior to the attainment of independence in September 1981, Marin served as Minister of Natural Resources and it was under his stewardship that the PUP cultivated its national land policy that saw the distribution of lands to a large number of Belizeans across the country.

Marin was also an early pioneer of the Corozal Free Zone, which saw the creation of hundreds of jobs for the young people from the two northern districts. Marin was also a great champion for the rights of cane farmers in the sugar industry and distributed lands to them that he had acquired from BSI and other large landholders.

In accepting the award, Marin told the convention that the peoples of the north deserve to be recognized after 10 years of neglect by this United Democratic Party government.

Marin recalled that when the UDP came to power, they initiated the closure of the Libertad Sugar Factory, while “the PUP was struggling to keep it open.”

Now recently, they “destroyed” the papaya industry and 200 workers immediately lost their jobs; 500 lost their jobs when the Libertad Sugar Factory was closed, Marin explained.

He said that the papaya industry was a cash crop industry that the PUP established, and that the present government, “who stole the election in 2012, took away 12 million dollars that the Musa administration had allocated for the coalescing of the San Estevan to Progresso road. They took it away, and took it elsewhere.”

Marin said the UDP has crushed the Corozal Free Zone to the ground and more than half of the businesses in the zone have closed.

“Mr. Musa privileged me to run that free zone for 7 years, and when I left it, that place was booming. We had about three thousand young people employed. And we caused to be established two commercial banks in there to facilitate commerce. Today, only one is struggling in there,” Marin said.

Marin ended his 15-minute address saying, “This is the beginning of the take-over of the government; please go back to your constituencies and work very hard for the municipal elections.”

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