Attorney-at-law Arthur Saldivar was detained by police after he shared a post on Facebook that indicated that a group was coming to Belize via the Santa Elena border and that the process was being facilitated by a UDP politician. Saldivar was picked up by Belmopan Police on Saturday afternoon and subsequently released on bail. Prior to being charged Saldivar’s attorney, Oscar Selgado spoke to our Cayo Correspondent, Fem Cruz.
Oscar Selgado, Attorney: “It is a fact that Mr.Arthur Saldivar is presently detained at the Belmopan Police Station for allegedly making a post on social media in which he made certain aspersions. The police at present is still doing an investigation. He has not been charged as yet and at the end of the investigations, hopefully within the hour, we will know whether or not Mr.Saldivar will be charged. I did not read the post, the post was made on Facebook and I did not read the post but I have taken instruction from him, that is all. I have now read the post. The police can detain him up to 48 hours while the investigation is going on, I hope they don’t take that long but they have the statutory authority to hold him for 48 hours.”
Today at the police press brief in Belmopan, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Joseph Myvett, stated that police had investigated if there was any truth behind the Facebook post before they detained him.
ACP Joseph Myvette, Head of National Crimes Investigation Branch: The police whilst browsing came upon a Facebook post in the name of an account belonging to Arthur Saldivar. As a result an investigation was conducted where he was detained and later arrested and charged for the offence of spreading false news. He was shortly thereafter granted bail to appear in court. The issue which I will not go into detail was regarding persons being allowed into the country from the northern border including Belizeans and non Belizeans. An investigation was done hence the reason why he was detained. The police does have an information technology unit and as investigators from the Crimes Investigation Branch and other operational branches whenever there’s a complaint made that would be a part of any investigation in relation to crimes committed. What happened is that as a result of that post there may have been several other posts in response to what was said hence the reason that the panic was created by others based on that first post. As you are aware also that the first person was charged last Thursday I believe from San Jose Orange Walk and so there are several others being sought by police in relation to these types of investigation.“
According to Myvett, police officers stationed at the northern border were instrumental in validating that Saldivar’s post was untrue.