The UDP establishes a committee to investigate accusations of corruption against John Saldivar

The UDP establishes a committee to investigate accusations of corruption against John Saldivar

The United Democratic Party (UDP) has decided to establish a special committee to investigate the alleged acts of corruption brought against Former UDP Leader and Minister John Saldivar. Earlier in the month, Saldivar and his immediate family were designated by the US State Department. The US is accusing Saldivar of  “significant corruption” while in office. The recent accusation has stirred up calls to have Saldivar removed from the party. Saldivar has denied all accusations and is determined to remain in politics. Today, during a one-hour press conference, Leader of the Opposition Moses “Shyne” Barrow, explained that the party will be investigating the accusations brought against Saldivar to determine whether he is fit to remain a member of the UDP. 

Moses Shyne Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “We have to accept that the Americans have a very rigorous judicial system and system of governance whether investigating former presidents and the like and certainly this coming from the Secretary of State is serious and we can’t get around that. That does not preclude Mr.Saldivar from having some type of due process. It is important. It is a part of all robust democracies that people will be accused in this instance designated but still have an opportunity to present their side and that is what we are doing with the special committee which will examine, consider and make a determination not just based on legal guilt or innocence but the myriad factors involved as the constitutional opposition, as the government in waiting, as a mass party for the last forty odd years we have a responsibility to our supporters, we have a responsibility to the country, and we have a responsibility to democracy to consider this in totality and that is exactly what we are doing with the special committee which will be comprised of the party chairman, the ethics chair, the rules chair, the legal advisor, the nominations chair as well as the other two members on the nominations committee. I’ve been in touch with the State Department to request as much information as they are prepared to submit because while we appreciate our relationship with the world super power, our number on bilateral partner , I have a great relationship with the Americans before I was elected to the House of Representatives, before I became Leader of the Opposition, before I became party leader. We also have a responsibility to our constitution and our human rights and our presumption of innocence but as I mentioned earlier this is not the Supreme Court, this is not the Magistrate’s Court. We are a political institution and as one of my political friends always reminds me we are in the business of winning elections and you cannot win elections if you don’t have the public confidence and you cannot have the public confidence when one of your members are accused in this fashion.”

This is not the first time that Saldivar is being accused of corruption. It is, however, the first time that the US Government is making the accusation. The former minister continues to be scrutinized for the allegation brought against him. Given the constant blows to Saldivar’s political career, today Barrow was asked if there will ever be a point the UDP decides to part ways with Saldivar. 

Moses Shyne Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “Unlike my opponents and detractors report to the public I am not a dictator so I cannot make that decision unilaterally. It is not for Shyne Barrow the party leader to say enough is enough. I think I’ve been  very clear where I stand. I said I’m against corruption. I said I appreciate the relationship we have with the United States for the last forty one years. I appreciate that the Americans do not arrive at these types of decisions arbitrarily, that there is a rigorous legal process that they go through before they designate someone. They’ve never done it in Belize and so we have to consider that. So where I stand is with what is in the best interest of the party and the best interest of the country and not the best interest of any particular individual.”

It is said, Saldivar who heads the UDP’s caucus for change, played a vital role in Barrow’s bid for party leader. And, since Barrow’s ascension, the two have been hot on the campaign trail with Barrow recently endorsing Saldivar. Barrow was asked if Saldivar is fit to be part of the party going into the 2025 elections. 

Moses Shyne Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “It is much too near to blind the public in what we are trying to offer as the government in waiting. I do believe these allegations are a distraction. I do believe the history of the allegations could serve as a distraction and I’m certainly not happy about having a candidate , a potential candidate that has been dogged by allegations of corruption it’s not good for the party. What do you want me to do? Do you want me to come up here and defend him and then if I would defend him you would say oh but you’re defending corruption.”

Reporter: You’re acting like an acrobat. 

Moses Shyne Barrow, Leader of the Opposition:  “No I am being truthful and I am addressing the situation in its fluid form. So allegations are allegations. Don’t pretend as if anyone can’t go to the station or go to an entity say Jules Vasquez did X,Y,and Z.”

Saldivar will appear before the committee on December 2 to prove his innocence, and thereafter the committee will have up to December 10 to deliver a decision on Saldivar’s fate in the UDP.

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