Posted: Tuesday, November 29, 2022. 4:21 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: The Opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) is directly appealing to American Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to ask for the evidence they looked at in arriving at the historic designation of former Government Minister John Saldivar as “significantly corrupt.”
In the letter dated November 24, party chairman and former Attorney General and Minister of National Security Michael Peyrefitte asks Blinken for disclosure of, quote, “whatever detailed information the US Department of State relied on to in order to designate former Minister of Government of Belize, John Saldivar for his alleged involvement in significant corruption under your laws.” Peyrefitte’s reasoning is two-fold: one, in support of its anti-corruption policy, the party wants to protect their democratic institutions from government officials who act with impunity; two, Saldivar must be afforded due process before the Special Committee of the party which meets on December 2 can make a decision on Saldivar’s candidacy for the constituency of Belmopan.
In an online press briefing Peyrefitte cited both the timing of the allegations and the fact that neither the Government nor Police have come forward with charges against Saldivar; even the U.S., he says, has not made mention of criminal charges.
“We have a member of our party who is looking to enter a convention to represent our party and a designation was given like the one that was given, not only against him but his wife, his children, a minor child – everybody except the dog – and so we want to see what evidence they are depending on, what evidence they used to come to that decision, so that the UDP may look at that evidence and come to our own evidence. So, we just wanted to know what they have,” Peyrefitte said.
He added that the UDP was “obliged” to ask even if the Americans do not agree, and considering that neither the current Government nor the Police has found anything since getting into office, but “time would tell” – the Party Special Committee starts its work on December 2 and is expected to take a week to make its decision. Saldivar has said he will appear before the Committee.
Peyrefitte said that without the evidence, the Committee would still make its assessment and report back to the wider party. It was only fair for the UDP, which cooperated with Washington while in office, to at least be considered in this scenario. As to how much of a role public opinion would play, Peyrefitte said it was a matter for a Committee and the interest of the party was in this case paramount.
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