Foreign Minister Says The Austrians Are Yet to Explain the Nagel Saga

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Updated: April 5, 2017

On Monday, March 13 when the House of Representatives met in Belmopan, the Fort George Area Representative, Said Musa brought to the surface, an issue involving Belize’s Ambassador to Austria, Joel Nagel (NAY-GLE).  He did not go into detail on the issue but he did allude to a scandal being attached to the Austrians’ decision to drive Nagel out of the country.  The issue came up again by PUP’s lead Senator, Eamon Courtenay on March 27.  Love News asked the Foreign Affairs Minister, Wilfred Elrington to elaborate on the matter.

WILFRED ELRINGTON

“It’s a very unfortunate situation. For years we have had an Ambassador in Austria although most Belizeans don’t know that. A fellow named Piletsky which was appointed under the People’s United Party and he’s’ been there for donkey’s years did nothing really for Belize as far as I’m aware. So government decided to change him and we appointed Nagel. The understanding I get is that Piletsky’s wife works at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and he was very upset by the fact that he was replaced. He is closely connected with officials here in Belize, former officials of the People’s United Party government and Joel Nagel as far as I know was involved, he was involved in a seminar in Austria where they are trying to promote business for Belize and he attended the seminar I’m not sure in what capacity but Piletsky allegedly reported this incident to the Austrian Officials and the Austrian Officials up to this point in time have not written about it telling us what he has done. They have not said he has done anything wrong in writing we have nothing to show, we can’t show anything. They called him in and told him that he had to leave because of his activity by attending that function. We found that very strange. I have always thought that it was the role of ambassadors to try to generate business for the country why else would you want to have a presence there unless if it was to get the maximum benefit. So I did not think that his participation at a seminar was anything that should have caused the response of the Austrians but I can tell you they refuse to put anything in writing so we have nothing as to what he did. Some junior level functionary called him and told him that he had to leave because he was involved in this activity and that is how that came to be.

RENEE TRUJILLO

“Leave the country or just the post?”

WILFRED ELRINGTON

“The country. Yeah they don’t want him there any longer and they don’t want him there as ambassador that is what they told him.”

Minister Elrington went on to speak of the work that Nagel has been able to achieve in his capacity as Ambassador including the development of plans to introduce a Cancer Centre in Belize which we had reported on earlier this year.

WILFRED ELRINGTON

“I can tell you for the short time he was there we had him accredited to the IAEA which is the International Atomic Energy Agency which is stationed in Austria and he is still accredited to that as far as I know and we have had tremendous benefits in such a short time that he was there, as a matter of fact we are working very actively on cancer center through the assistance of the IAEA; they send them a team the team did some fantastic work in Belize, two or three of them came and they we are really at the point now where they want us to help us to train our people to put a cancer center and to help us, now this stupidness could potentially affect it but we are still going to have him at the IAEA; he has done a very good job but the country is so small and petty and some of our people descend to some very low positions that are more harmful to our country than helpful but they think that that is going to advance their own personal careers. It hurts Belize when these things happen. I got to know Joel Nagel because has for years now been inviting large amounts of investors to come to Belize to invest in Belize and I used to go and address them and he used to ask me to go and talk to the investors when they came so I would go to San Pedro and talk to them there and I would go to Radisson Fort George and I said a man who is doing so much for Belize could perhaps do even more if he were placed abroad and that is how he came to be posted. So Nagel was really doing a great deal of work for us in Austria but this guy Piletsky…..”

RENEE TRUJILLO

“Was Nagel involved in anything untoward, anything illegal?

WILFRED ELRINGTON

“Absolutely not. Absolutely not. He had nothing to do with anything improper or illegal.”

RENEE TRUJILLO

“Have you reached out to the Austrians?”

WILFRED ELRINGTON

“They refuse to put down anything in writing, I spoke to them, they refuse. He attended this seminar just a seminar and that was it.”

RENEE TRUJILLO

“But what seminar was that?”

WILFRED ELRINGTON

“They had a business seminar to try to encourage investors to come to Belize and he attended that seminar I think that was put on by people who he had connection with. He is not an ambassador that we were paying he was defraying all his expenses and to operate out there is very expensive but he was defraying all his expenses and he is not the only one we have had other ambassadors who pay all their expenses who are delighted to have the honor to represent Belize. We have an ambassador in the Dominican Republic who is like that, our ambassador to UNESCO is like that they are very helpful, very kind people who funnel business to Belize who assist us tremendously I think it has worked well for us.”

Joel Nagel was appointed as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Austria for Belize in September 2015.