…John Briceño tears up agreement signed by previous government and Portico following intense criticism and objections
By: Omar Silva
Belize City: Friday 16th June 2023
In a surprising turn of events, Prime Minister John Briceño has reversed his stance on a controversial Definitive Agreement that was signed by the previous government and Portico. The decision to trash the agreement comes after mounting public pressure and objections from within his own administration.
The agreement, which was signed by the former Minister of Economic Development, Erwin Contreras, mere days before the November 11th General Election, has been a subject of intense scrutiny. When it was presented to the Cabinet, senior ministers within the Briceño administration strongly objected to its terms, raising concerns about transparency and potential corruption.
The opposition leader, Shyne Barrow, has been a vocal critic of the agreement and has been instrumental in mobilizing public sentiment against it. The opposition's relentless pressure and the growing chorus of public disapproval seemed to have influenced the Prime Minister's decision to discard the agreement.
During a fiery exchange in the House of Representatives, Prime Minister Briceño publicly condemned the Definitive Agreement and went as far as tearing up a physical copy of the document. He accused the previous government of engaging in corrupt practices and highlighted questionable aspects of the agreement, particularly the sale of land at an unusually low price.
"I am telling you right now, this no good for nothing. So all the noise you're making, it's no good for nothing," the Prime Minister declared, emphasizing the government's commitment to doing what is best for Belize and the tourism industry.
The Prime Minister's about-turn on the agreement has sparked further controversy and raised questions about the initial acceptance of the document. It appears that the Prime Minister's change of heart is a response to the overwhelming public outcry and the concerns expressed by his own Cabinet members.
Critics argue that the agreement's acceptance by the Prime Minister, followed by its subsequent dismissal, raises doubts about the government's decision-making process and highlights potential inconsistencies within the administration.
The Prime Minister's decision to tear up the agreement has sent shockwaves throughout the country and has created a renewed sense of urgency for transparency and accountability in government dealings. The call for a thorough investigation into the Definitive Agreement and its implications is growing louder, with demands for a full disclosure of all related documents and an examination of the sale of land at such a low price.
As Belize navigates through this challenging period, it remains to be seen how the government will address the fallout from this controversy and regain the public's trust.