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A Whited Sepulcher ?

A Whited Sepulcher ?
July 19
17:55 2019

By: Major Lloyd Jones (Ret’d)

The Sanctuary Bay debacle has easily become Mr. Barrow’s greatest political embarrassment. People close to Mr. Barrow, because of their lust for money, have helped to put Belize in an unsavory light, the likes of which we have never seen.

Sanctuary Bay has exposed the ugliness of corruption that seems to be omnipresent in Belize these days; corruption that is perpetrated by the private sector with the public sector acting as willing accomplices. This is partly why when the Chamber speaks of corruption in government so many Belizeans scoff at them.

According to the Chamber’s website (accessed July 12, 2019) Atlantic International Bank Ltd (AIBL) is a member of its “President’s Circle”: the highest form of membership at the Chamber. The Chamber boasts that such level of membership gives the holder the opportunity to “to interact and connect with policymakers.” AIBL connected alright and it damn near collapsed the banking sector!

It was Belmopan’s unhealthy practice of influence peddling that bolstered a clearly visible land scam. We now know that senior regulators in Mr. Barrow’s government were aware that something was amiss with Sanctuary Bay. Those people chose not to act and instead found reasons to justify their inaction: their sins of omission have sullied our national dignity and reputation!

Looking back, the Liquidator’s attempt to wrest the proceedings from US jurisdiction was a strategic misstep. The liquidator’s ill-advised petition proved troublesome for Mr. Barrow as the FTC fired a missile across the bow of Mr. Barrow’s Cabinet on June 10th.

It would be interesting to find out who advised the Liquidator to take that particular course of action and why. Why did they so desperately want to hold the proceedings in Belize when as Joy Grant dismissingly indicated, Sanctuary Bay was in essence, Americans harming other Americans? Who was the Liquidator trying to protect such that he inadvertently exposed our Prime Minister to an unprecedented assault by the FTC?

Mr. Barrow has always prided himself as being above board and free from any credible charges of corruption. The FTC filing was thus an attempt to paint Mr. Barrow as a whited sepulcher! Isn’t that the message that the FTC was sending to Belize and the rest of the world when it said the things that it said?

The June 10th filing by the FTC made some damning accusations against our government, leading all the way up to the Prime Minister. It took an entire month for that filing to reach the Belizean people but as soon as it did, it prompted a press conference by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister was in his usual form when he addressed the nation, he assured us that the contents of the filing were “utterly unjustified innuendos, imputations and in some cases outright and complete misstatements of facts.”

In our young history, there has never been such a blistering indictment of a sitting Prime Minister by any foreign government. Despite the US Embassy’s attempt at damage control by way of its letter of July 12th, the FTC is as much a part of the American government as they are.

What the US Embassy failed to tell us in its letter is that unlike Belize, in America such entities as the FTC do not need a political nod in order to do their jobs. The US Embassy may be about geo-politics but the FTC is about bringing white collar criminals to justice. Which one will you believe?

Remember when there was a leaked cable from the self same US Embassy saying unproven things about Mr. Briceño? Didn’t Mr. Barrow and the UDP expect us to believe the Embassy? Now that the FTC (not in any idle chatter as those about Mr. Briceño) filed in court such bruising statements about Mr. Barrow, he now expects us to disbelieve the FTC?

Intriguingly, Mr. Barrow could not tell the Belizean people that the FTC was lying about him because he was purportedly constrained by the terms of some “settlement.” What manner of witchcraft did the FTC conjure up to have quieted the usually sharp-tongued Mr. Barrow?

Mr Barrow’s concern about his reputation would have had a more sincere complexion, if he had instituted action to have the FTC (not the US Embassy) retract the statement it made in its filing. In fact had the Liquidator’s petition gone to trial Mr. Barrow would have had an opportunity to debunk the allegations of the FTC in court.

When the Liquidator attempted to have his proceedings in Belize be recognized as a “Foreign Proceeding” he prompted the FTC to object to such a petition and asked the court for a hearing. In its submission the FTC filed the now famous June 10th document. Had the matter gone to trial the FTC would have had to submit evidence proving all of the allegations they included in their filing.

Instead the matter was “settled” and the Liquidator withdrew his application thus there was no need for a hearing. But this also means that the Belizean people may never get to know what evidence the FTC has in its possession for it to be so bold as to say the things that it said about Belize and its Prime Minister.

As a Belizean, you must recognize that on June 10th the FTC was not only firing at Mr. Barrow, they were also firing at all of us. We who did nothing. We who still have to beg for a morsel of land barely bigger than a grave. We who know of Queen of the Bay but not of Sanctuary Bay!

Mr. Barrow owes us a better explanation than the one he gave on July 10th. His threats of legal action does him more harm than good because the FTC’s filing impliedly said to us, the Belizean people, that if we can’t control our political leaders they will.

They oft say that the sins of the father fall upon the children, but what about the sins of the Cabinet? Where do such sins fall beloved? Where?!

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