Features — 16 September 2017 — by Audrey Matura-Shepherd
RIGHT TO THE POINT: Pro-corruption supporters emboldened

Continued from Page 11, Fri. Sept. 8, 2017 Issue No. 3117 of the Amandala

Corruption justified
“Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It can be classified as grand, petty and political, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs,” says Transparency International.
Interestingly, I have seen some posts and comments about the PUP standing up against corruption, and those who just can’t see beyond the political parties, shy away from accepting the corruption of this government by quickly pointing the finger at the PUP’s past corruption as if to justify this government’s own corruption by overshadowing it with the previous government’s corruption. But I pause here to say several things:

1. The PUP was voted out because of this very corruption, Said Musa was even taken to court for at last one case involving Venezuela money;

2. The UDP took government and is yet to investigate any corruption against the PUP despite while in opposition revealing many such claims; they have refused to bring them to justice for us the people;

3. The UDP took office and is yet to pass laws to prevent the corruption the PUP are accused of and which would also keep their leaders in check and on the straight and narrow path – do you wonder why?

4. The one law, the Finance And Audit (Reform) Act 2005, which the UDP amended in 2010 to stop government from borrowing $10 million or more without going to the National Assembly, was defeated by the same UDP Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, when he violated that Act and then turned around and passed the PetroCaribe Loan Act 2015 on April 1, 2015 – (All Fools Day), to avoid prosecution;

5. The UDP has effectively increased the extent of the passport corruption and is yet to have anyone arrested and charged;

6. The UDP increased the land scandals and corruption and is yet to clean house and have some arrests and charges;

7. The UDP has built on the PUP corruption and passed laws and used government resources and the Natinoal Assembly to legitimize their corruption!

The UDP has not gone after the PUP leaders against whom they keep pointing the finger because, I believe, they have done worse and do not want to pass laws and start probes against their opponents because they do not want to put in place precedents that will later be used against them, especially since they have improved, mastered and even sought to legitimize corruption.

It is rather ironic that Patrick Faber, Deputy PM, would denounce corruption as the rallies took place in Orange Walk, yet John Saldivar, who contested the seat of Deputy, went out to support the fallen Deputy, whom Faber replaced. And in keeping with the very modus operandi to deflect from corruption, Saldivar, who has had his own scandals to deal with, from his accusations for misappropriation of funds at RECONDEV and more recently with his connection with William Danny Mason, accused of killing Pastor Lucas by decapitation and driving around with his head in his vehicle in Belmopan, was in OW supporting no other than the man at the centre of all the corruption being revealed!

It came as no surprise to me that he questioned how the PUP leadership had the “audacity to ask that our colleague resign”. Surely Vega knows where the skeletons are buried and if Vega has indeed done so much wheeling and dealing at Lands Department, it would not surprise anyone that select Ministers had equally benefited and must protect him so as to protect themselves. One day that little bird if left unshielded will sing! So shield him… shield him!

Saldivar says, “I am sure Gasper Vega has been accused but has not been found guilty in any court… he will answer to that if and when the time comes”. His tone was angry and resentful and rather upset that the reporters even had the audacity to question him along those lines. But the word that resounded with me is that big “IF”, because he said Vega will answer “if” the time comes, but as long as the UDP has so many skeletons to hide and Vega knows where the bodies are buried , it is in the interest of the UDP to never make that day come for Vega! I must add that not being convicted is not the measurement nor the litmus test to identify and call out corruption… conviction is just the sanction for your corruption, because if we waited for a day in court to sanction corruption, then it would mean that until then all the corruption that is going on, is not corruption because a court has not so stated. Come on, use your common sense, people, and don’t fall for Saldivar’s grandstanding! The question is: “Did Gapi abuse his entrusted power for private gain?”
Power in the people

Then, if the political leaders and those in government will not act, then that leaves it up to us the people to demand the end to corruption and to have both UDP and PUP corruption investigated and the checks and balances in place. So far we are yet to elect a leader who wants to see Belize advance and developed, … ALL our leaders get in power and ensure they fill their pockets and that their family and immediate supporters benefit… but those pockets are being filled more and more and the people who benefit from it and are prepared to go out and support corrupt leaders are increasing, and as one of Gapi’s supporters said: “I weh tell you something, you got your people deh. You no have to answer none of them questions, you got your people weh got your back. You understand? We got your back! And if we have to go dah hell, dah hell we going together. Gaspar Vega! Que viva Gapi!

Just listen to the interview of Mr. Wilfredo Novelo in support of Gapi and it tells us how blinded our people are and how loyal to party and not country. Those who showed their face for Gapi, in my opinion, though a handful, are representative of the very culture of corruption the average man supports… party over country! Que viva Belice!

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Eden Cruz

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