Posted: Thursday, July 21, 2022. 9:55 am CST.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not neccessarily those of Breaking Belize News
By Delroy Cuthkelvin: In response to the news that Mr. Anthony Chanona is being considered to chair the People’s Constitutional Commission, UDP Leader, Shyne Barrow is quoted as asking sarcastically, “So, what exactly qualifies Mr. Chanona other than being a PUP…?”
Let me state, for the record, that I find such a remark, directed at Mr. Chanona, to be regrettable and ill-advised; and, as a member of the UDP, I completely disassociate myself from it.
I have no difficulty with our Party Leader disagreeing with the government’s view that Mr. Chanona is the right person for the job, or suggesting other names he believes would be better suited for the position by virtue of relevant experience and expertise they might possess. What I strongly object to is the attempt at placing in the category of mere political hack an outstanding Belizean like the Anthony Chanona we have known over the years, who has shown, time and time again, when it matters most, that he places country above partisan politics.
One such occasion, which is on public record, was when our last UDP Government, led by Shyne Barrow’s own father, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, intervened to rescue Belize’s vital Citrus Industry back in 2014. For Shyne Barrow’s benefit, let me reproduce the words of the said Anthony Chanona to PM Dean Barrow at that time, spoken at a live press conference, with the entire nation tuned in:
“History must record, when it is read, that at this time of crisis, and at this juncture in the saga of this crisis, that it was the government of the Honorable Prime Minister and a UDP government that stepped in and put us on a footing forward. It’s up to us now. So, I want to thank you for that, from where I stand on the political divide.” (Anthony Chanona to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, February 17, 2014).
Another occasion, which has stuck in my memory, was during the Manuel Esquivel-led UDP administration of 1993-1998. It involved an initiative spearheaded by our Minister of Agriculture at that time, the late Russell “Chiste” Garcia, to take the old Lynam College in Stann Creek (which had been converted to a prison under a past PUP administration) and restore it to a learning institution. Anthony Chanona, himself a product of the old Lynam College, wholeheartedly supported and lauded that initiative, doing so passionately and publicly, including in a television documentary that I had the pleasure of producing.
That is the Anthony Chanona we know, and if Shyne Barrow needed to know, he should have asked around, before making such pronouncements seeking to characterize and brand Mr. Chanona as nothing but a political hack.
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