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On Monday, Orange Walk East Area Representative Hon. Marcel Cardona was assaulted as he gave his address in the House of Representatives. Prime Minister Barrow and the UDP had chosen to bus in dozens of hired thugs and hacks, and as Cardona hammered at the government one of the thugs in the gallery threw an object which hit him in the face. It is an assault which is unprecedented in the House, as far as we could find out, but based on the past House meetings which have degenerated into name-calling, patty insults intimidation and increased aggression from the government side and gallery it is hardly surprising that we got to this point. Hardly surprising, but still very disturbing, and at the end of the PUP press conference yesterday, we asked the Leader of the Opposition Hon. John Briceno for his comment on the matter.

johnHon. John Briceno PUP Leader

“We certainly find the recent development at the house, actually the development in the house since 2008 has disgracefully when you have the Prime Minister, who is leading the way where he is hurling insults and taunting people calling them name and in many instances slandering them. I find that disgraceful that the Prime Minister of this country has been leading and giving the example but at the end of the day we need to hold the speaker responsible, because the speaker is responsible to keep order in the House and from earlier we’ve been calling his attention that the Government likes to bring in their thugs, their group of people out there just for them to shout and scream at you whenever you try to speak. I find what happened on Monday to the Honourable Marcel Cardona disgraceful. I think it is sad day for the history of parliament where now even you as a parliamentarian has to be worried about your own safety in the house and once you lose that feeling of confidence, that feeling of safety in the house, I think we are on the verge of losing or democracy.”

And since we had his attention, we also asked the leader about the very conspicuous absence of two senior deputy leaders in the Party, Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde.

Hon. John Briceno PUP Leader

“Both Honourable members have been successful politicians, have been successful representatives, they bring a lot of talent to the party and as a party I believe that one of the mandates that was given to me in 2008 and in 2010 was to continue to be able to bring the party together. We are almost there and whilst they did not show up at the convention two weeks ago but they have been very active in helping the party in reorganizing, in getting g ourselves back ready and I do expect them to be able to get fully engage in the work of the party.”

But with that said, the Party is strong and ready, and judging from the mood of the press conference yesterday, set to take over in Belmopan whenever the Prime Minister chooses to call elections, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Hon. John Briceno PUP Leader

“We decided that it was important for us to be able to address this nation on the issues that are confronting them and to remind the Prime Minister that all this glitter and all this hurling of insults, all this vulgarity and this rudeness is not fooling the Belizean people. A recent poll showed that 98% of the residents in Belize City believe that the three most important issues are; crime, jobs and the economy, that recent poll also pointed out that approximately 64% of the people in the city believe that this government is doing a bad job and wherever you go you feel the same sentiment that the people are now getting tiered of this slander and all of this noise that they are creating and that there are real issues, issues of finding a job to be able to afford to bring food on the table, to afford education to their children, to be able to bring their children to the hospital, to be able to improve the infrastructure of this country, these are the issues that affect the daily lives of Belizeans and it is not being addressed by Mr. Barrow and his government.”

Of note is that the United Democratic Party issued a release yesterday on the press conference held by the PUP. Its full of insults and the usual petty remarks, but what we found interesting is that the UDP actually thought it necessary to respond. A sign of weakness…? Well, we definitely think so!

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