Posted: Thursday, November 24, 2022. 8:18 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Former Government Minister and Belmopan area representative John Saldivar stepped up his response to his designation by the U.S. State Department last week as a “significantly corrupt” individual, saying he has engaged an attorney to demand the nature of the evidence and charges against him beyond what has been publicly stated from the U.S. State Department, the Government of Belize and others, as well as to warn the media against further defamation of his character concerning past issues.
Saldivar also revealed that the potential informant against him is currently in an American federal prison and someone he has never met before 2015, though to protect his source he did not call that person’s name.
On Wednesday while announcing the press conference on social media, Saldivar accused the local press of judging his guilt or innocence by the standard of how many times his name has been called in a scandal, stating that no evidence or proof of his involvement has ever been presented.
Today, he said this effort to clear his name was about more than him, but about the principles of natural justice and how this news has been used to try to ruin his reputation, especially in politics, as the Americans announced no financial sanctions on him – for the record, he says, he does not live a lifestyle matching what a “significantly corrupt” individual might live as he has no such assets. He also issued a warning to the press that it should champion due process on his behalf and see to it that the information against him be revealed.
Saldivar repeated that he does not know who is masterminding this campaign against him and on whose behalf – whether his enemies in the United Democratic Party (UDP), the current Government of Belize, or others.
The bottom line, says Saldivar, is that “I am innocent of any allegations that have been made against me. At no time have I participated in any corruption at the Immigration Department, while I was the Minister, or before or after. And there can never be any proof brought out against me in that respect – I challenge the United States Government to provide that proof. I have no difficulty in facing a trial whether in Belize or abroad once [that] evidence has been presented against me. I am not a corrupt person.” On the contrary, he said, he has done his best to avoid such issues.
On the matter of Lev Dermen, in which he insists that the money he took from the convicted fraudster for campaign contributions, he noted that this was not the subject of the American designation, and that the boat ride cited in that designation aboard a Coast Guard boat was to visit installations of the Guard at Hunting Caye, and that it was not a matter of private or personal gain.
And concerning the Special Committee that the UDP has called to look into the allegations, Saldivar expressed confidence that it will clear him, and that Belmopan residents who “know me” will elect him their standard bearer, whereas the Americans have been “misled” by their sources, whomever they may be.
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