Posted: Friday, June 3, 2022. 6:51 pm CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Minister Jose Abelardo Mai says his carrot comment in the House of Representatives was misunderstood by Opposition Representative Tracy Taegar Panton, that he wouldn’t insult a woman, and that he will apologize if that’s what she heard.
Mai said she was calling Taegar Panton to apologize and clear the air.
Tracy Taegar Panton said earlier in a social media post that Minister Mai told her to ‘Go sit on the carrots’. She said his comment at this morning’s Sitting of the House of Representatives is unparliamentary, disrespectful and sexist.
“When you go and sit down on the carrots and take a photograph I will believe it,” Mai said in the House of Representatives. “The next time you go to San Carlos, you go and sit on the carrots and take a photograph and make it evidence. Do not come here and lie.”
Mai later told Breaking Belize News that what he said was taken out of context.
“I would never say that to any lady, that’s not Jose Mai,” said Minister Mai.
“What I said in the context of what she had put on Facebook, the photograph of carrots that had been thrown and were rotting, in the context I said it was that the next time for me to believe that carrots are rotting in the field, she needs to sit next to it and take a photograph.
“That’s the context of what I said, not that she would sit on carrots. That is not what I said or intended to say but at the time I was speaking she also started to speak back to me, so it got rowdy and unclear of what I was saying, but I would never say that.
“But in any case, if that is what she heard I will definitely apologize to her because that is not Jose Mai. Definitely. And that is not for any man to say to a lady,” Mai said.
Taegar Panton said earlier that Mai’s comment was completely unparliamentary, had no place in the House, and was complete disrespect for all women in Belize.
“While you think it is appropriate to bully Women in the Honorable House of Representative [sic] unchecked, I will continue to stand up for the people and things I believe in,” she wrote.
On May 27, Panton posted on social media that farmers in San Carlos, Orange Walk, were “being forced to throw away their rotting produce because they are not able to sell on the local market”.
Later she posted that the Agriculture Ministry’s Clifford Martinez had called and explained the carrots situation to which she said: “I am sincerely impressed by your proactive approach and for providing further insight into this matter. The planned interventions you shared will be well received, I believe, by this entire farming community.”
In response, Minister Mai had said that carrots were not rotting in the fields, but that overproduction was causing slow movement in the local market.
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