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Trial of the year: Mason headed to court

Posted: Sunday, March 10, 2019. 9:00 am CST.

BBN Staff: Two days from now, Belizeans at home and abroad will be paying attention closely to what could be the most explosive murder trial in recent memory, the trial of William “Danny” Mason and others.

Mason, along with co-accused Terence Fernandez, Ashton Vanegas, Keiron Fernandez and Ernest Castillo, are to stand trial on Tuesday for the July 2016 decapitation of Dangriga pastor Llewellyn Lucas, but there are more implications than the crime itself that have caught the national interest.

What started with the discovery of Pastor Lucas’ head being kept in a bucket inside the pan of Mason’s pickup truck, led to the discovery of a web of allegations and a minister of Cabinet being “suspended” for connections to Mason.

Mason was revealed to have several identities, those being Danny Ouellet, Ted Ouellet, Danny Mason, and Raj Ouellet. He also had documents for each of these and a gun license in each of those names. In 2016 the acting Commissioner of Police, Russell Blackett, told the nation that all gun licenses had to have been approved by the Commissioner of Police, an office that was held at the time by the now retired Allen Whylie.

Apart from murder charges, apparent immigration fraud, and somehow fraudulently obtaining five different gun licenses, Mason was also wanted for kidnapping and extortion in the realm of $300,000.

As more about Mason came to light, it was revealed that he had donated some $20,000 to politician Frank “Papa” Mena, to assist his campaign to win a 2015 by-election. Immediately after the information surfaced, in 2016, Mena said that he somehow still had the $20,000 in its entirety and was prepared to give it back.

Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, ended up on suspension for a week while the office of the Prime Minister sought legal advice on whether he should be sanctioned for his connection to Mason, after it came to light that Mason had invested some $50,000 in Saldivar’s Bandits Football Club.

Notably, Saldivar retained all his ministerial perks while on suspension and was reinstated the following week after the Prime Minister’s legal advisors determined that he had done nothing worth sanctioning.

The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU), during their 2016 Stand up for Belize Campaign, took industrial action against the government of Belize shutting down schools countrywide and threatened to keep them closed unless a series of demands were met. Among those demands, the BNTU called for an independent investigation into the death of pastor Lucas and the illegal affairs of Danny Mason. This was one of the few demands that remain unmet to date.

 

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