Posted: Friday, June 3, 2022. 7:48 pm CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: “I have reached out to sister Hon Tracy Panton to clarify what I said and apologized in the event she understood what I said to be offensive,” said Minister Jose Mai on Friday.
“She accepted my apologies. I would never say any such demeaning statements to a lady,” said Mai in reference to comments he made in the House of Representatives telling Taegar Panton that if he were to believe her that carrots were rotting in the field she would have to take pictures of them.
“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.”
Taegar Panton had said earlier that Mai’s comments were unparliamentary, disrespectful, and sexist.
“The specific reference made that I should go sit on a carrot is completely unparliamentary and has no place in the House. Complete disrespect for ALL women in Belize,” wrote Taegar Panton on social media.
Panton said Mai was bullying her.
“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.,”
Mai said 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.
He then called the Albert Division Representative and apologized, he said.
Earlier, Taegar Panton had also apologized to Cayo South Representative and Minister of Infrastructure Development and Housing Julius Espat for calling him a ‘pania machete’ at the same Sitting of the House of Representatives. Espat had said that the comment was racist.
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