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John Saldivar claims US State Department meddling in Belizean politics; says designation based on ‘preposterous lie’

Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2022. 8:55 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Spending his first morning under the shadow of the United States designating him as engaging in “significant corruption” during his time in office, John Saldivar believes he has hit on the source of his current problems.

In a lengthy social media post, Saldivar details a conversation he had with Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who informed him that an unidentified car dealer who claimed to be in his inner circle had allegedly made “fantastic claims” of Saldivar’s involvement in corruption including collecting bags of money weekly. Saldivar denied the claim relayed by the Embassy to Barrow and that was that.

Except, Saldivar now says, it apparently wasn’t, and that this “big lie” came back to haunt him. Saldivar maintained that he oversaw no corrupt activity at the Immigration Department while it was under his portfolio.

And while Saldivar maintains the U.S. State Department doesn’t have the evidence it says it does and what it does have is based on “a preposterous lie”. He reluctantly acknowledges that they may not have to present any evidence and says that we must assume “there is no secret motive to interfere in our politics”.

But if Washington or his native Belmopan expects him to walk away, he says, they have another thing coming, citing the saga of John Zabaneh over allegations of drug trafficking connections. He points out that in a few weeks he will be challenging to become Belmopan UDP standard bearer and that his opponents are betting he will walk away rather than fight. But he insists he will fight and that the Capital’s voters know who he is.

Saldivar notably does not address the allegations about his use of the Coast Guard boat for personal trips which form the second plank of the information that led to his designation.

Also on social media there have been efforts to link Patrick Faber and even Prime Minister John Briceño to the scandal, noting that the latter recently met with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in Washington and allegedly that Faber has been meeting with Briceño. Faber himself posted on social media on Tuesday before responses by both Saldivar and Moses “Shyne” Barrow that “the silence is deafening” from party leadership.

 

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