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Young sailors stand on the shoulder of a Master and Commander: Charles Bartlett Hyde

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Khan debate – LOO Shyne supports, Patrick doesn’t

PoliticsKhan debate - LOO Shyne supports, Patrick doesn’t

Photo: Majid Khan, US informant relocated in Belize

by Marco Lopez

BELMOPAN. Mon. Feb. 6, 2023

Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Moses “Shyne” Barrow was consulted on the relocation of former Al-Qaeda-operative-turned-CIA-informant, Majid Khan, according to a lengthy post that Hon. Barrow shared on his Facebook page on Friday. The collective position of the Opposition UDP, however, is still uncertain. Strong concerns were raised by Hon. Patrick Faber, the longest- sitting current UDP parliamentarian, regarding Khan’s relocation to Belize due to a possible national security threat due to his presence in the country, and he pointed out that neither he nor any member of the Opposition, other than the LOO, was consulted.

“Let me say for the record, that members on this side of the House were not consulted about that, and while I cannot speak on behalf of the greater United Democratic Party who still have not discussed this issue in its detail and have taken a position – I can tell you there are many in my party who are railing, just like the Belizean people out there who are not happy that this decision was made, and would want very much that the matter is rescinded,” Hon. Faber commented at last Friday’s sitting of the House, adding that if a pronouncement was made by the UDP, “it cannot be for all of us”.

On Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed Khan to Belize and settled him into a new home at an undisclosed location. Since the announcement, various concerns have been raised among various segments of the community. But Hon. Barrow, in his statement on Facebook following the announcement, said that the presentation which was given to him by the US during consultation on the matter “struck a chord on a humanitarian level.”

“On a personal level, my experience 24 years ago as a 19-year-old with the Justice system that involved my journey of atonement, rehabilitation, and redemption makes me sympathetic to the power of Mr. Khan’s ability to reform and the fact he is no longer the person who participated in a heinous crime 20 years ago,” Hon. Barrow outlined in his post.

He went on to say that Khan has paid his debt and cooperated with authorities, adding that “National Security experts that I have spoken to at home and abroad have assured me his relocation poses no threat to Belize’s National Security.”

Hon. Barrow acknowledged, however, that many concerns have been raised within his party and the general public despite his personal support. “I have been assured by the State Department, the Belize Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and National Security personnel that Mr. Khan has cleared all security risk analysis,” Hon. Barrow outlined.

He went as far as to suggest, “If Mr. Khan posed any threat to the National Security of the U.S. or Belize, the U.S. Secretary of State and the U.S. Congress would not have authorized his release.”

And while proper consultation within the UDP did not take place on this matter of national security, Hon. Faber pointed out that on a larger scale, the government abdicated its duty to first consult with the Belizean people on this decision.

“They have also made a very big pronouncement on behalf of the Belizean people when you agreed to take Mr. Khan without any consultation with the Belizean people on this matter that is of big, big national security. And so, Madam Speaker, this matter could have been brought to the parliament here. The Prime Minister in his position as the leader of the government side could have brought that issue to light and could have asked the Belizean people what we think about this, but that was not done,” Hon. Faber expressed.

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