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After building quite a lot of sensational hype, over the appearance of Ministerial visa hustling whistleblower Alvarine Burgess at the Senate Select Committee hearing scheduled for today; and whether UDP Chairman Alberto August, National Assembly Macebearer Brian “Yellowman” Audinette and a group of their supporters would return to cause chaos – it would all just not be. This morning the news spread like wildfire that today’s Senate hearing had been cancelled.

The controversial decision was taken by the Committee this morning on the basis of credible information that UDP supporters – masked behind an adhoc group known as Belizeans Against Courtenay – were planning to show up outside the National Assembly and attempt to harm Senators Eamon Courtenay, Mark Lizarraga and Elena Smith. Chairman of the Senate Select Committee Aldo Salazar, who presided over last week’s violent disruption by the UDP, explained that he was initially not supportive of not holding the hearing.


Screen_Shot_2017-05-24_at_8.10.17_PMSenator Aldo Salazar - Chairman, Special Senate Select Committee


“The request came from the Opposition for us to put off the hearing for a week, out of cordiality and respect I decide that it is best to do so, that is really the end of it.”


Reporter


“Sir, was there any reasons given to you as to the necessity to this postponement?”


Senator Aldo Salazar - Chairman, Special Senate Select Committee


“I don’t have any exact mention of say… I understand this morning I’ve been hearing all over the place people have been telling me that there was reports that people were going armed to Belmopan and that thugs were going to be there to cause disruption, I can say for a fact, that I have no idea of that, I was never given that reason about a real threat in Belmopan or any intelligence as to people being armed in Belmopan that is a figment and if it is certainly I don’t know about it, it wasn’t shared with me.”


The Opposition issued a press release this evening explaining its position. The statement reads: “Late last evening, the PUP became aware that UDP operatives had organized to instigate violence at the sitting of the Senate. The violence, then, would have been an excuse to discontinue the hearings, the clear intention of the UDP as stated publicly by UDP-appointed Committee Chair, Aldo Salazar, and Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber”.


The release states further that a decision was made to postpone the hearing [quote] “while definitive action is taken to remove UDP Chairman Alberto August, UDP thugs and any threat of violence” [end quote]


The Opposition adds that postponing the session for one week is a small price to pay to allow the hearings to continue in order for the relevant persons, including Ministers, to testify.


But Chairman Salazar doesn’t agree with the Opposition. In addition to claiming to have no knowledge of any planned acts of aggression by UDP agents, he said he knows of no attempt by his Party to sabotage the hearings.


Senator Aldo Salazar - Chairman, Special Senate Select Committee


“I would state my entire reputation in saying that I was initially concerned and opposed to an adjournment for this particular reason that people would take to blaming the government or myself for having things to hide, I really don’t see how you can hide anything in one week so the answer to the question is that I certainly did not had anything to do with it, it was a request and like I said it was done out of cordiality and respect and I understood that since the request came from very high in Opposition that attempts would have been made to ensure that this sort of propaganda was not perpetuated by operatives of the Opposition.  It is a promise that what happened last week is indeed regrettable and as the Chairman I have to take responsibility for it and we learn from our mistakes, we move forward and I can say it will not be tolerated from either side UDP/PUP we need to move forward, I don’t want this thing delay personally I did not want to have a delay today I wanted finish we are all very busy and I don’t want it as I said to become a political circus and I want us to move forward with it.”


With the postponement of the meeting, all eyes and ears are now on what decisions the Committee will make in the days to come.

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