LOO Says Defence Minister Put Belize At Risk for the Bandits

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Updated: May 31, 2017

The Leader of the Opposition, John Briceno, then shifted his attention to Minister John Saldivar. Saldivar has come under heavy criticism surrounding the use of the Belize Coast Guard vessels to transport Bandit basketball players to San Pedro for a game. In an interview yesterday, Commander of the Belize Coast Guard, Admiral John Borland, explained that as the commander he has the authority to deploy the vessels for other activities as he sees fit, providing that these are not illicit activities.

JOHN BRICENO

“Here we have now no other than the Minister of Defense using these boats that have been donated for a specific purpose for our security and for the fight against drugs and the Minister of Defense is using those vessels for his own personal use, for his basketball team or football team or whatever team that he has; it is wrong and what he is doing is that he is putting this country at risk because the donors I am told are very upset and the donors could very well decide, you know what if this is what you are going to do, if this is the abuse that you are going to have we are going to stop assisting Belize.”

LOCAL REPORTER

“From your explanation it appears that you disagree with the commandants explanation, his justification that this sort of thing is under a wider heading of helping the community.”

JOHN BRICENO

“I am not picking a fight with Commandant Borland; he is a good man but quite likely he is acting under orders. You can see that he at least from the body language that he was very uncomfortable with his answers and so I am not going to pick a fight with him. We all know that it is a weak excuse because how is it that it’s only the Bandits are getting access to these boats? How is it that other organizations are not getting access to it? That by itself would answer what has taken place.”

Borland said that the coast guard is reimbursed for the fuel used.