General — 17 March 2018 — by Rowland A. Parks
“Paas’n christen dem pickney first,” PM Barrow tells PUP

This was in response to a PUP comment about the UDP’s expected victimization of the new PUP Belize City Council

BELMOPAN, Fri. Mar. 9, 2018– At his post-municipal-elections press conference on Thursday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow made reference to a “judicious allocation of resources” as it relates to municipal governments.

In speaking on the adjournment at the House of Representatives today, Friday, the Caribbean Shores area representative, Hon. Kareem Musa took the Prime Minister to task for the statement.

“There has been a change in Belize City. The city has gone blue, Mr. Prime Minister, and I heard you at your press conference yesterday, say that there is going to be a judicious allocation. And I think you sent an indirect message when you said that the pastor will baptize his children first,” Hon. Musa said.

“It was a direct message and prior to that, before the elections, your deputy made an open threat, that those municipalities that did not vote for the UDP would be punished. And so it is a very serious concern,” remarked Musa.

Before Hon. Musa was finished with his point, however, PM Barrow rose from his seat and declared: “I made no such point.”

Hon. Musa, still standing, replied, “The record is there, member. We can go over the record.”

Hon. Musa continued, “So the point I am making today, Mr. Speaker, is that in the Prime Minister’s final year, or months or days, we’re not sure what it is, as the Prime Minister of the country, I want to urge him to eat a bit of humble pie. I know you don’t like that dish a lot, but try to ease up on the ‘barrowgance’ a little bit. Let’s display some level of statesmanship in this time, some bipartisanship, let us be above the fray, Mr. Prime Minister.”

“We know that the municipality of Belize City has benefitted over the last 9 years tremendously from central government’s assistance. I want to urge you, Mr. Prime Minister, not because the Belize City people have voted blue you should punish them. I want to urge you, Mr. Prime Minister, please continue to assist them, because we know, you know, the financial straits that the previous municipality has left at City Hall. It is a mess. And in the coming weeks ahead, we are going to see all of the mess,” Musa went on to say.

“So, Mr. Prime Minister, when you say that you have to baptize the children first, I know you compare yourself to a pastor. I wouldn’t go that far. The people of Belize City gave you your third term. I think we need to remember that,” Musa further told Barrow.

Hon. Musa went on to tell the Prime Minister, “not because the voters of Belize City have voted blue that means you have to punish them.”

PM Barrow rose and told the House that the claims being made that the Deputy Prime Minister had said that municipalities which did not vote for the PUP would be punished, were completely falsified.

“You didn’t go that far with me. Right from the start, I expressly said, we’re not in the business of punishing anybody, and that there has to be a judicious allocation of resources, and that I said, you remember the old Jamaican saying, ‘paas’n christen dem pickney first.’ It is not something that I can make any apologies for, that is a law of life, not just of politics, and I was speaking the truth. Me nuh do like wan certain ex-prime minister weh yu know so well, you know, weh seh wan leader have to lie. I try to always tell the truth,” the Prime Minister said.
PM Barrow added, “But in terms of the straitened circumstances that you claim, your successful candidate in Belize City has inherited … Everybody always knew that it was always touch-and-go with the finances of Belize City, that the previous mayor, was always, apparently, so it seemed, hanging by a thread.

“But that previous mayor and that previous council had the dexterity and the creativity and the ingenuity to make a hell of a go of running Belize City, notwithstanding the chronic and continuing cash shortage. You already di set up fu mek excuse, you know, for the fact that your Belize City Council will fail … that is precisely what is going to happen … You are trying from now to set that stage … well, we have to retrench this one and we have to curtail pan dis ya service.”

“No, the people of Belize City don’t want to hear that,” Barrow said. “You have won, I congratulate you on it; now govern.”

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Deshawn Swasey

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