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Leader of the Opposition insists he did not accuse Prime Minister of involvement in drug trafficking in news appearance prompting lawsuit

Posted: Wednesday, January 24, 2024. 2:17 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: At this time last year, Leader of the Opposition Moses “Shyne” Barrow mentioned an exchange of “lawyer letters” concerning an appearance on Channel 7 News’ Uncut with Jules Vasquez where he discussed the family of Prime Minister John Briceño’s alleged ties to the illicit trafficking of drugs.

While the Prime Minister’s father is publicly recorded as having been convicted of such a charge, Barrow claims that the Prime Minister is “associated” with alleged traffickers as a family member, though not involved himself.

But the Prime Minister is taking the matter to trial in the High Court, and Barrow says he stands by his comments: “He could try to rewrite history – his father, uncle, cousin were all drug traffickers; to me that amounts to cartel. And so he would be associated with those people forever; that does not mean that he is engaged in the activities of those people, and I am not saying that and I am clarifying again for the record that I am not saying that he was, is, a member of any criminal cartel, any drug trafficking…”

Furthermore, Barrow says he commented, in context, in good nature in response to Vasquez’s question about his past: “I was saying if someone can rise from under the cloud of the Briceños’ history with drug trafficking and become Prime Minister then I’m sure the Belizean people would be able to look beyond my youthful indiscretion and give me an opportunity as well.”

Barrow won a lawsuit in response to the Prime Minister’s comments while Leader of the Opposition in his 2021 New Year’s Address claiming that some at the highest levels of the United Democratic Party (UDP) were involved in the landing of drug planes in Belize, a charge for which no evidence was publicly provided although Briceño said he had such “credible evidence.”

 

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