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Why outside of the atrocity category

FeaturesWhy outside of the atrocity category

My memory tells me that we have 3 live high-profile cases involving improper sex, and they are from different molds. There’s the Ambassador Rosado case, which involves an accusation by a woman that he had some contact of a sexual nature with her when she was underage. There’s the OJ Elrington case, in which Elrington has been charged with having sex with a young woman who was drunk. And there’s the case with Mr. Perez in which his mature accuser has upgraded the classification of sexual contact with him to rape accusations, and also says she feels threatened by the man she accused.

I agree with the person who said AG Sylvester should share with us the advice he gave the PM and his Cabinet that led them to say yes to Mr. Perez’s return to the helm of the Blue Economy. Based on what I know, and that’s what’s in the public arena, I voted for Mr. Perez getting his job back. The fact that he got back the tiller says much. Understandably, the AG would prefer to leave everything under the rug, but he needn’t go into details.

At this point, all we’ve got is that Ms. Wendy said this Minister Perez is a real devil, an ih probably shud get laas da bak. But I don’t think our people have reached any conclusions in relation to this case other than that the man might be no saint. All of us falling short of the glory, we don’t send people to that horrid place because they aren’t saints.

These little lawyer so-and-sos are eager to holler, it’s before the court, so zip it up. I guess we should say thanks to Ms. Wendy for keeping the matter out of hallowed territory. Thus, we can air things out, hopefully for a better understanding.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Ms. Wendy told the truth when she said she was threatened. I don’t believe anyone would be surprised if it was proven that less than gentle words were spoken by the one accused of being far less than a gentleman. Ms. Wendy says it isn’t so, but it is believed that she has something to do with a pic, and those philistines who open other people’s mail said it shows the gentleman at his, ehm, least flattering. A next thing here is that the man has a high place in our country, and the charge could considerably reduce the support in his constituency. And then there are the troubles that must have been brought on the accused’s family.

On the matter of Ms. Wendy being raped, I’m not about to question her integrity there either. But if there is mitigation anywhere, I don’t know whether this incident could be classified as the most atrocious type of an act that is, in all circumstances, despicable. In respect to the most atrocious acts of rape, even a person with zero empathy in their bones would understand that in these cases there is serious mental trauma for the victim, and some victims might even become suicidal. If acts of rape (with any act of rape being a gross violation) were considered as varying in the degree of violation, the type of rape that would be seen as lesser along the continuum would be marital rape.

We understand that no is no, but the wife and husband thing can be a grey area. Cornell Law School says that in our country, “Lack of consent is not enough if the parties are married.” UN Women (Caribbean) says the law in Belize only recognizes marital rape in cases where “the parties are separated or where proceedings to dissolve the marriage or to have it annulled has begun; where certain court orders have been made against the husband; where the man has given an undertaking with respect to the court order; or where the sexual intercourse is accompanied by what amounts to assault and battery, harm or injury to the wife. These provisions only apply to persons who are married, and not persons in common law unions.” Clearly, some acts of marital rape could be very serious crimes.

I’d be very surprised if marital rape, and other cases where the victim and the accused have a history of friendly intimate relations, produces trauma that is similar in severity to what is experienced by victims who have had no consensual sexual contact with the accused. Of course, the human mind being the human mind, there might be exceptions.

There is the matter that we are talking very high office, and people who occupy these seats must be held to a higher standard than the rest of us. Ms. Wendy made an accusation, and the government jumped but didn’t dump Andre; they just put him on intermission. The UDP went to some extreme to whip up a frenzy about the charge, even going to San Pedro with placards during an important international event; but they are rather quiet this round, maybe because one of them is under surveillance for something somewhat similar.

Understandably, Ms. Wendy might be a little disappointed in the populace for not tearing at GoB for the return to favor of the man under the microscope. But if she can for a moment put on pause what appears to be very bitter feelings toward the minister, to look at us dispassionately, she might see what’s guiding our lukewarm response and excuse us.

We lee people like to think things, and I wouldn’t be surprised if, drawing from what has been put out there, some people are saying in their minds, tikya those two were more than just friends. In the world of facts, both would have to seh, da soh, and I have heard neither pushing that notion. The maturity of the parties in this case also tempers public emotions. People care, but not as much as they would if the case involved the young and innocent. Like it or not, and we can draw this from the absolute blowout in the San Pedro municipals, people see this one as being outside of the atrocity category.

Getting on with some serious fishing business

The government thought Mr. Rosado’s troubles should be pushed aside so that he could attend to essential national business, and it’s none too soon that Mr. Perez is back at the job at the Blue Economy. While Mr. Perez was out, the ministry fell under the wings of the PM, who became a kind of minister of everything, and the Blue Economy went on a swoon. The PM, knowing so much about talent, must have known that he couldn’t handle Blue Economy along with all that’s on his plate, so he must have thought the matter would blow over quickly, and the right man would be back at the helm of the boat. It took a while, but he’s back; and yes, none too soon.

Last year, the Fisheries Department was set to up the weight of lobster tails that can be legally harvested to 4.5 ounces, from 4.0 ounces, and Minister Perez put the legislation on pause for a year because the lobster fishers said the measure would destroy their businesses. There’s a huge decision coming up here. There is pressure from local fishers to stay with the 4 ounces; there is pressure from the region, from the regional organization, OSPESCA; and there is also the matter of doing the right thing.

OSPESCA, the fisheries organization on the Central American Isthmus, has called on Belize to up the weight of the “pass” tail. We know that lobsters don’t stay in one place. They spend their baby years in protected areas, like mangroves, and then they go out into the world. Our experts can tell us how far lobsters in our waters migrate, but this data from the University of New Hampshire gives us some of the sense. UNH says, “Mature lobsters have an average annual range of about 32km”, and that some migrate long distances, and a large number don’t travel very far. UNH says, “One ‘long-shore’ migrant moved 798 nautical miles in 3 1/2 years”, and “Offshore lobsters often undertake seasonal migrations and have been known to move 345 km in 71 days.” So, lobsters in Belize aren’t ours alone.

Another hot matter for the Blue Economy is the challenge from the Belize Federation of Fishers (BFF) that they are dangerously falling down on the job. One story I have from the BFF is that we gave up too much control of our marine space to the Blue Bond, which, even if so, is water under the bridge. The more relevant concerns of the BFF are the number of fishers – a BFF leader says too many fishing licenses are being given out — and the lack of response by the Fisheries Department to the decline in our fish population. BFF says that under the present management system the fish population is decreasing, and some of our important species could go extinct if Blue Economy doesn’t wake up and get to work.

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