BELMOPAN, Belize, CMC – The main opposition People’s United Party (PUP) is calling for the resignation of a junior minister who has since apologised for his behaviour in a pre-dawn brawl at a casino in northern Belize over the weekend.
“At a time when the general public has lost confidence in the legal and criminal justice system, it is absolutely imperative that the Prime Minister demonstrate a policy of zero tolerance against Ministers of Government who behave as though they are above the law,” the PUP said.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow has already announced that the junior minister, Mark King had been suspended for three months without pay and that the authorities were examining the possibilities of laying charges against him.
In its statement, the PUP said that King’s behaviour is a breach of the Code of Conduct for an elected official and a minister of government and called on Prime Minister Barrow to “immediately remove Mark King from office” and for the Director of Public Prosecutions to “ensure that the appropriate charges are levied against Minister Mark King”.
King, a first time elected member of the House of Representatives has so far declined to comment on the incident.
Prior to issuing a public apology King said that “I make no admission of wrong-doing and will be taking all necessary steps to be properly represented at the trial”.
King faces charges of disorderly conduct and issuing threatening words to a police officer.
The suspended minister was attending an anniversary function for the casino which is situated in the Corozal Free Zone near the Belize-Mexico border, when an argument involving his driver, Diego Witz, Jr, 22, erupted.
Witz was thrown out of the casino and while being escorted outside by guards, the argument escalated and a police officer who intervened was physically assaulted and King, who was also thrown out of the casino reportedly verbally assaulted a police officer.
King maintains his innocence and said he is “very sorry and deeply regret that this incident occurred..
“I apologise to you, the Belizean people, members of my constituency and to all my Cabinet colleagues for this unfortunate incident,” he added.
King has not yet been arraigned on the charges, but his driver has been and released on BZ$4, 000 (One Belize dollar =US$0.49 cents) and will return to court on April 16.