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Briceño goes after Boots for “rent payments”

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Posted: Saturday, September 26, 2020. 5:56 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: After a mostly calm meeting of the House of Representatives, light on political drama, the speeches on the adjournment roiled the National Assembly and put a damper on what may well be the last meeting of the House under the Dean Barrow administration, though no election date has been set.
Leader of the Opposition John Briceño presented parts of 54 pages of documents which he says counteract former pronouncements by Minister of Human Development, Anthony “Boots” Martinez.
In November of 2016, the Minister denied allegations that he and his daughter, attorney Stacey Martinez, transacted with the Women’s Department, a division of Martinez’s own Ministry, to rent office space. He told reporters then that “I, in 2013, I inherited that building through a mortgage, at an auction, from the Scotia Bank. On my daughter’s return – it was a building that existed there before; da no noh new building, we do some renovation and so on it, and add parts to it and so I gave that building to my daughter as a gift. That is a private transaction; that dah noh wah building that I have gotten from Government; or that I have bought from Government; that is a private transaction.” The Department had relocated while its premises on Albert Street were rebuilt.
And concerning the decision to rent, he stated then, “That transaction was negotiated by the Ministry of the Public Service. I was kinda lee reluctant, you know, but it is what it is. The Ministry – also there was choices, you had Audit that wanted the building; you have other Government Ministries. You move around the City, and see if you can find choice buildings, with the kind of location that exist there. I was just fortunate to have owned that building through that auction there, the correct location, and so be it! And da noh like a thing where there [isn’t] value for money, and the Ministry of the Public Service was the Ministry who oversee the process; I noh have no difficulty with that.”
The difficulty now, it seems, is that the Ministry apparently paid both Stacey and Anthony Martinez to rent the property in question.
Briceño told the House on Friday, “Yesterday I got a bunch of payments that have been issued by the Ministry of Human Development. Payments made to the minister and to members of his family totalling 1.5 million dollars. I see one member of the minister’s family gotten 90 payments for rent $7,760, $5,335 – 90 payments in just over a 5-year span. What I find most interesting though is that the minister also got 86 payments for rent totalling $568,859.85. The other family member got $586,329.55, he said to Jules Vasquez that it was not him; it’s a family member of his. But now we find out that both the family member and himself are collecting for the exact same amount. One family member is $7,760 and the minister is collecting $7,760, the next member $5,335.00 and he is collecting $5,335.00 the exact same thing. It makes you wonder what’s going on.”
Briceño further cited monthly payments of $4,000 for sporting events in Port Loyola this year, from January to September inclusive – the teeth of the COVID-19 emergency. Per PUP standard bearer Gilroy Usher, Senior, no such activity has been going on in Port Loyola.
Martinez rose to respond fiercely. “I, Honourable Anthony Boots Martinez rent no building and collect no money from no ministry,” he stated. As for the $4,000, he said – and the documents show – that the money is the standard “community vote” provided by the Office of the Prime Minister for which each area representative is eligible.

Martinez added, “There is no record of the ministry or government paying me any monies for any rental of premises, so they better get that out of their heads, because when you are talking about corruption, me nor none of my family member no went to prison for drugs. We no deh pan dat at all.”



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