So why did the head honcho of the north decide to practically end his political career at a time when….according to the grape vines of the party…….he was thinking about contesting the post of leadership of the party? Well….so far there are only speculations and nothing is concrete as the UDP release does not state why Vega took such a drastic decision and why is it that the party decided to accept his retirement in such haste if he is so valuable to the UDP.


What we can tell you is that reports are that in his letter to the Party Secretariat Vega states that “It has been established that the party in taking the position of not having another biennial convention for another four years. Because of this position and the fact that I will not be a candidate in the next General Elections, I am convinced that the proper thing to do is to withdraw my application for Deputy Party Leader in the upcoming biennial convention.”


Reports are that Vega’s problems commenced when he was removed as Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment and his portfolio was given to appoint Minister Godwin Hulse. Vega was then named Minister of Agriculture.

Right after that Vega and Hulse began having office problems. Vega is said to have refused to give up his office at the Natural Resources building, which also houses the Ministry of Agriculture.


Right after the portfolio of the Ministry of Natural Resources was stripped from him and he was named Minister of Agriculture, Vega was asked by the media if he felt as if he was demoted. Here is what the Prime Minister said at that time and Vega’s response.


deanRt. Honorable Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize


“He had actually asked me to be relieved of the Lands Ministry maybe six, eight months or so before the last election and I asked him to stay on to see out the term.”


Honorable Gaspar Vega - Deputy Prime Minister of Belize


“There was a time when the Lands Department was just getting to be too much…too much peer pressure, the public demanding for more. It’s a difficult department. It was one of the worst departments government had before 2008 and we have made substantial advances but I still don’t think it is where all of us expect it to be. And at times it’s just overbearing.”


And then it was reported that Hulse was forced to use the office previously used by then Minister of State Hugo Patt. The last time the media spoke to Vega about the issue was after the Sitting of the House of Representatives back in November of 2015. Here is what he said.


Honorable Gaspar Vega - Deputy Prime Minister of Belize


“We do not have a problem with office. All I need to get is an office, wherever it is. If you can get me one in your place I move there.”


Reporter


“I understand that the decision has been made and he has moved to Minister Patt’s office. Is that so?”


Honorable Gaspar Vega - Deputy Prime Minister of Belize


“I think it’s not to Minister Patt’s office. We’re working together until we can settle down. Like I said before it’s not only with offices, even with staff. You have to remember that I had one ministry, Agriculture and Lands, as people call it. And we had one FO, one AO, one of everything, and we had to settle because there is a big mix between staff and ministries, so it’s not an overnight fix, but we’re working on it.”


Approximately days after Vega made that statement, rumors surfaced that he was not happy with his party.


Reporter


“Are we to make anything of the fact that your Deputy was missing this morning, we know that he from all the ports have not been very happy, do we need to make anything?”


Rt. Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize


“He hasn’t shown that to me but all what I am saying is that if there are reports that he is not very happy I would certainly want to get some details about those reports and I will speak to him now that the media is putting this to me I would have to ask him whether this is so whether he is keeping things from me.”


While Vega’s track record for winning the General Elections three consecutive terms will not go unnoticed by his constituents…what will also not be ignored is that he was at the helms of the Ministry of Natural Resources when the lands department was described by Prime Minister Dean Barrow as a “hot bed of corruption”. The statement was made by the P.M back in 2013 while he met with the Belizean diaspora in Los Angeles. Here is that statement.


Rt. Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize


“I believe that the lands department unfortunately is another hotbed of corruption. The administration has tried to do something about the officers who through dishonesty rather than incompetence—perhaps in some instances, it is a combination of both.”


There is no doubt that when it comes to the Ministry of Lands Vega was always in the hot seat. There were always complaints of land being taken away…as there still is…..and of course reports that Vega was awarding  huge parcels of land to his family and close friends. In one such occasion when the media questioned Vega about several parcels of land he made available to family members he responded by stating that he is not a normal person in Belize as he works harder than any ordinary Belizean a statement that raised eyebrows back then and still does now.


Reporter


"Would you accept the characterization that - this is what the PUP said; normal people have to wait in line, have to jump through hoops for years to get a piece of land."


Screen_Shot_2016-03-10_at_8.34.40_PMHonorable Gaspar Vega - Deputy Prime Minister of Belize


"Jules I am not a normal person in Belize. I work much harder than a lot of other people."


Reporter


"Yes but your family is normal people."


Honorable Gaspar Vega - Deputy Prime Minister of Belize


"My family is as hard working as me."


Reporter


"But they are getting preferential treatment."


Honorable Gaspar Vega - Deputy Prime Minister of Belize


"They are not getting preferential treatment from me. They've been able to do this ever since Jules. It's not now that they acquiring it. That's what I am trying to tell you. He is not a cane farmer of 2,000 plus tons of cane today. He has been a cane farmer. Every single Hernandez in San Estevan is a cane farmer and they are the biggest cane farmers of that village ever since, not since in the last 2 or 4 years."


Going back to the UDP’s release, the party expressed its profound gratitude to Hon Vega for his long and successful tenure as First Deputy Leader and state that no one worked harder, especially in the North, to achieve the record electoral successes of the UDP, and Hon Vega is worthy of great praise and thanks.


Since Vega no longer wants to be endorsed as the First Deputy Leader, the March 20 Convention will now proceed only to endorse, for the next four years, the Party Leader Rt Hon Dean Barrow; the Second Deputy Leader, Hon Erwin Contreras; the Party Chairman Alberto August; and the Deputy Party Chair Fern Gutierrez.


Reports are that the National Party Council of the UDP will meet shortly after the March 20 Convention to decide on the procedure and timing for a special election to choose the new First Deputy Party Leader to succeed Hon Vega. It is not yet known if Vega will remain as Deputy Prime Minister.

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