Gaspar Vega Resigns from Cabinet Following Land Scandal

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Updated: October 17, 2016

After ten years in the political arena and eight years in the Cabinet, Gaspar Vega has tendered his resignation as a Government minister.  While the rumours were rampant since the weekend, the confirmation did not come until just after two o’clock this afternoon during a press briefing called by the Prime Minister, Dean Barrow.

DEAN BARROW

“I have been in constant communication with the honorable Gaspar Vega who was Minister of Lands at the time that the transactions took place. I have been in touch with him through the weekend an he and I met this morning in my Belize City Office. As a result of that meeting I accepted the resignation of the Honorable Gaspar Vega from the Cabinet of Belize. His resignation as a Minister of Government.”

Vega will remain as an elected representative for Orange Walk North under the United Democratic Party but effective immediately he will hold no portfolio and therefore will not have a seat in Cabinet.  This move came following conversations over the weekend with the Prime Minister and a meeting this morning in Belize City.  It is a direct result of a land scandal that broke last week where a parcel of land was acquired by Vega’s son, Andre Vega at two thousand five hundred dollars then later flipped for four hundred thousand dollars which the Government of Belize paid out.  Prime Minister Dean Barrow spoke on the matter, saying that it was a mistake on the part of the Ministry of Natural Resources.

DEAN BARROW

“I must make clear that Gaspar said to me that he would never knowingly have signed titles to land that didn’t belong to government. So that when he signed the final papers in connection with these two parcels of land it was his feeling that all was in order and that the certificates for signature had been prepared on the basis that all was in order but he made clear that he recognizes that in all the circumstances especially given that his son became the owner of one of the two parcels and was paid compensation after the facts were discovered in terms of the titles having been issued in error, in all the circumstances his position naturally became untenable. He acknowledges that the new Minister is inquiring into the facts with a view to recovering the monies that were paid as compensation.”

Prime Minister Barrow who has made it a point to speak of his friendship outside of politics with Gaspar Vega expressed regret at the way things have unfolded.

DEAN BARROW 

“I just want to make clear that I am extremely saddened by what has happened. Gaspar Vega certainly was with me as my deputy from the time we first won in 2008 and before that he was one of the fiercest battlers and most effective leaders of the UDP. In addition to all that he was and remains my personal friend. I have the greatest affection for him, you will all know that whatever else might be said he is one of the most warm hearted, caring , genuine individuals that I have had the good fortune to come across but this is the way it is, and so we in the party, in the cabinet, in the government accept the resignation as we are obliged to and given that in all the circumstances it was inevitable.”

Since the Barrow administration came into Government in 2008, Gaspar Vega has served as the Minister of Natural Resource, Agriculture, Environment as well as the Deputy Prime Minister.