Posted: Thursday, June 8, 2017. 9:19 a.m. CST.
By Lisa Shoman: When you are a little kid you think that if you close your eyes tight, no one can see you. You think if you cover your eyes, you become invisible.
That must have been the overwhelming sensation experienced by Carlos Perdomo in yesterday’s Senate Inquiry hearing.
Some of the media got it wrong. Perdomo was not performing a Pontus Pilate move. He was not washing his hands of guilt or culpability. He was hiding. He was hiding like a toddler hides – in plain sight.
Perdomo was called yesterday to testify to the Senate Special Select Committee in his capacity as the former Minister of Immigration and Nationality and National Security.
He was the Minister during 2011-2013. Perdomo faced questions about his term of service and as Channel 5 News reports, “… the case of Paul Ku, who was granted a passport despite being vague in his interview about where he was born or went to school in Belize. Immigration officer Therese Chavarria testified at the end of April that despite her efforts to investigate Ku, the passport was issued at the reported behest of Minister Perdomo through Immigration Director Ruth Meighan. Ku’s sponsor, one Rina Chiu Hsiang Lo, who is Perdomo’s constituent in Caribbean Shores, is alleged to have tried to bribe Chavarria by leaving five hundred dollars on her desk. But Perdomo insisted he did not intervene in Ku’s application in any way and that despite being good friends with both Rina and Chavarria, it was the officer who he said impeded a potential investigation.”
This is a man who has served successive UDP administrations going back to 1984 and the first Manuel Esquivel Administration. He has been Cabinet Secretary since then in multiple terms, and has also served as a Member of the House of Representatives for Caribbean Shores and a Cabinet Minister.
Long past the time he should have been gone, Perdomo is the current CabSec. This shows how deeply both Manuel Esquivel and now Dean Barrow have relied, and Barrow continues to rely on him.
All of this to say that Perdomo should be, like Caesar’s wife – above reproach. But is he?
Yesterday Perdomo’s performance in the Senate left him covered in sticky shame, unable (or perhaps unwilling) to answer why in the clearly egregious case of Ku, he did nothing. He exposes himself as being either colossally incompetent, or worse.
Perdomo did nothing about the Ku matter despite clearly knowing wrong had been done, and despite being at the time, Minister of Immigration and Nationality and National Security.
Why? He could not explain, despite the fact that he was informed that Rina Lo, his ” good friend” and CShores constituent had tried to bribe a senior immigration officer.
Yesterday, Senator Lizarraga asked Perdomo a most pertinent question : “After you found out that there was an attempt to bride Ms. Chavarria especially by one of your friends. I’m trying to understand having been the minister of police now the minister in charge of immigration, why after having found out even if after the passport has been issue that an attempt was made to bribe Ms. Chavarria, why did you do not do anything? Why was there not an investigation? Why especially since it was your friend that was trying to bribe Ms. Chavarria, one of your employees-”
Guess what Perdomo tried to do? The equivalent of covering his eyes with his little hands.
The exchange that followed that question went like this : “But why minister? Why wouldn’t you seek to-”
Carlos Perdomo “Must be busyness or something but it was not intentional.”
Hon. Mark Lizarraga “It was not because you were dealing with friends of friends?”
Carlos Perdomo “No never.”
Psychologists say the reason little kids who cover their eyes think they can’t be seen, is not because they don’t know their bodies are visible. It is because they think that by covering their eyes, they are hiding their inner “self” which cannot be perceived.
When people grow up, they generally accept that this is fallacy, but for a few, grown bloated with hubris, they believe their own prevarication to the extent that for them, it becomes reality.
Perdomo yesterday enshrined “I don’t know why” in the Hall of Shame of the Senate Inquiry along with “I don’t recall” and “I can’t remember” elevating it to the level of Shaggy Defence (“it wasn’t me”).
Make no mistake. Perdomo is no outlier. He is pretty typical of the entitled bunch, bloated with bombast and puffed up with privilege that make up the UDP nomenclature.
Their “Daddy” has made them so. And it is too late for Caesar now to insist that any of them should be above reproach.
Ending? This Circus is now Maximus – and we have not yet even reached intermission. Fiat Justitia Ruat Caelum. The PM should know what THAT means.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.
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