Attorney Arthur Saldivar has found himself in a pickle after a misdemeanor charge led to an even bigger charge with mandatory remand. The Arthur saga began unfolding over the weekend when he posted false information of a UDP associate being facilitated at the Santa Elena border in bringing in a group of people into the country. Police arrested him for that offence, and he was taken to court. His problems compounded, however, when he was found with an unlicensed firearm which led to the discovery of more unlicensed firearms in his house at Camalote Village, Cayo District. Love News spoke with Police Commissioner, Chester Williams who clarified that Arthur is not being targeted or singled out by the police.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Any person who acts in violation of the law we will come for you and that’s what Arthur Saldivar did. He made a post which we investigated, we learnt that it was not true and on that basis he was picked up. When he was picked up at his home in Camalote the police found with him a 9mm pistol, that firearm was taken into custody of the police. He was subsequently charged and granted bail. On Monday, which was yesterday, we made checks in our system on the firearm and we discovered that the firearm license had not been renewed from October last year. Now the law grants a licensed firearm holder a grace period of one month to renew their license. So his license expired I believe on the 19th of October on his birthday so he had at least until the 19th of November to have renewed his license. When he went to renew the license in Belmopan yesterday he was told that the license would not be renewed because of the fact that he had not licensed it from October last year. He had to go to court so he went to court to answer to the false Facebook comment and what he did was that he sent a friend to Belize City to renew the license in Belize City. Now he was told in Belmopan it was not going to be renewed, he sent a friend to do it in Belize City and the firearms clerk in Belize City renewed the license but, and I listen to my good friend Dickie Bradley this afternoon in your newscast and he said that his client produced a licensed that he had paid for his license. He is right and the reporter asked him a good question, when did your client pay, and he said “Sometime late March.” He should be honest and should have said yesterday which was after the fact because the firearm was found with him on Sunday at which time the license was not valid. Now the fact that he sent someone to Belize City to renew the license and that firearms clerk in Belize City renewed the license one without the gun being present and two by a second person not the firearm license holder, is a breach of our internal policies and so the firearms clerk is being dealt with because he ought not to have done that. He was detained yesterday evening and the police took him to his house because in our system was showing that he had another firearm so the officers took him home to go and search for the other firearm or any other firearm that he may have. He refused for the officers to go to his house but eventually they got in there and a search was conducted. During the search the police found one pump action shotgun, the police found five 9mm magazines, bulletproof vests, 12 gauge cartridges, .22 rounds, all of which he had no license for. The pump action shotgun is licensed to his brother one Paul Saldivar who was not at the home at the time but the firearm was found in Arthur Saldivar’s room under his bed.“
Our Cayo Correspondent Fem Cruz spoke with Attorney Richard Dickie Bradley who indicated that the firearm was licensed.
Fem Cruz, Cayo Correspondent: 48-year-old attorney-at-law Arthur Saldivar was detained just after 11 o’clock last night at his home in Camalote Village by Belmopan Police. Saldivar was escorted with his caretaker and a black knapsack. Attorney for Saldivar, Dickie Bradely, spoke to Love News about his detention.
Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley, Attorney-at-Law: “Yes, this is after midday in Belmopan and attorney-at-law and social activist Arthur Saldivar is still in a filthy, stinking cell in the Belmopan Police Station, he has not yet been charged. The situation seems to be that they want to charge him for his firearm which is supposedly not licensed, it has always been licensed and for some reason now it is not licensed. They searched Mr.Saldivar’s residence which is a family residence for several hours and we spoke to him a short while ago, two firearms were located. Those firearms are licensed firearms in his brother’s name, his brother stays at the family residence when he is in this part of the country. So it is just unbelievable that any citizen can be in custody from yesterday for a simple matter of having a licensed firearm for which the license is supposedly not up to date. We have seen a receipt where Mr.Saldivar has paid the Government of Belize for a current license ?”
Fem Cruz, Cayo Correspondent: How long is that ?
Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley, Attorney-at-Law: “That would be – today would be the end of the month – sometime late in this same month of March but it does not matter, it would mean that the gun is licensed and you don’t treat your citizens as if they are criminals because your vehicle was not licensed at the gate when it was required, your firearms, your boat, whatever it is. There’s a procedure, you want to charge him for committing and offence charge him and taken him to the courts where the matter can be proceeded with you don’t have people languishing around the place. You see what will happen shortly, somebody is in a line and they’re not six feet away you watch how many people the police will drag off to the station and charge over that matter. So the situation really is that Arthur Saldivar who we know is being singled out is being maliciously detained for a matter for which he can be charged or for which he can be advised to get your papers as early as possible and proceed with your life.”
Saldivar is expected to be remanded to the Belize Central Prison.