By Jamil Matar
Those of us who grew up with law enforcement officers in our family can recall snippets of court proceedings related by these members during family gatherings. Two of my favorite axioms were “ignorance of the law is no excuse”, and “procurers of stolen goods will suffer the same consequence as the actual perpetuator”.
In a nutshell, then, any person who holds any property acquired through unlawful means is not the entitled owner and should not be compensated when caught with said illegal goods.
This is what the People’s United Party is celebrating. They appear thrilled that the Government and People of Belize are being instructed by the CCJ to compensate the Seedy character for the nationalization of the International Business Companies Registry. The PUP would like Belizeans to conveniently forget the root cause that triggered the Government to nationalize IMMARBE in 2013. This was after our country’s good name was being tarnished with international scandals, primarily because of Seedy’s aggressive marketing of the Belizean flag to shady shipping companies, which ultimately would have prompted imminent economic sanctions on our country.
Be it as it may, however, I have no qualms with us paying for something, which in the end will bring returns to our country. I still back the nationalization of BTL, BEL, and BWSL. These companies are profitable and they will eventually pay for themselves.
The irony I find in all this fracas is that in the 1980s, the UDP was accused of being absorbed with paying off PUP debts, now the Party is focused on repatriating all the national assets that the PUP sold off for “little or nothing”. Let us pick sense out of nonsense by analyzing a few of the PUP’s signature endeavors. Look at the rotten airport concession; all the millions for the upgrading of the facilities and the runways. Nothing will return to Belize from that investment for 30 years! Now Look at Intelco. $45 million down the drain for nada! Look then at UHS, a bill for $90 million, wasted, not even a syringe to show. Look at Novelo’s: $30 million worth of scrap metal. I could go on all day with other PUP atrocities, including the purchasing of a stupid million-dollar dredge for a crony or the full UB scholarships for infant geniuses. However, let me turn the page.
I had a funny Orange Walk story to share but I will leave that frosting for next week. Allow me, then, to wrap up with a personal impression of a well-known Belizean family. I have always admired the intellect of the Erlingtons, even the brother the PUP dubbed as “Crazy Glue”. They are extremely sharp, and I consider them sincere public servants. They always speak their minds and try to be an asset to their community. The interview given by the Foreign Minister last night is proof of this forthrightness. He opined that one has to think carefully before engaging in a fight to become Belize’s next Prime Minister. That fortunate individual will face serious economic challenges to rebuild the economy after Covid-19. But if it is only a title they seek, then go right ahead, fellows! The FM stated that he would not squabble for a headache. Well put, Minister. However, please run again! We need your calm and your experience in the trying times to come.
By Jamil Matar