Former Blue Economy Minister Andre Perez Remains on Leave Amidst Sex Scandal Controversy
Former Minister of the Blue Economy Andre Perez remains on a leave of absence, but when will he return to Cabinet? Cabinet Secretary Stuart Leslie says that is up to the Office of the Attorney General and the Prime Minister. On August 21, the Belize Rural South Area Representative was granted administrative leave after becoming embroiled in a sex scandal. Perez was accused by an attorney of sexual misconduct and faced much controversy for the incident. GOB had tasked the Attorney General’s ministry with conducting a legal review of the incident to determine whether Perez committed any actionable wrongdoing. Today, Leslie provided an update on Perez’s return and says that it is not an investigation.
Stuart Leslie, Cabinet Secretary: “As far as I know to this date the work of the Attorney General’s Ministry has not concluded to the point where any decision has been made. I know that some people saw Minister Perez attending the retreat and they were saying that oh maybe he’s back in Cabinet. No the Prime Minister has not taken that decision yet to invite Minister Perez. Remember Minister Perez asked for a leave of absence so it is for the Prime Minister to determine when that leave of absence comes to an end. He has asked the Attorney General to look to see what legal position the government might be in and so on and that is going to come but that retreat that was held was not only for Cabinet ministers it was for the twenty six representatives of the government so that we could a greater understanding of what is happening. When the Prime Minister determines it’s time for Minister Perez to come back he will. Remember he is the chairman of Cabinet, it’s his cabinet.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Will the Prime Minister’s decision be based on the outcome of the investigation ?
Stuart Leslie, Cabinet Secretary: “I don’t like that word investigation. Remember that Minister Perez was elected by the people of Belize Rural South and so he’s an elected representative and so he holds a seat in parliament and those people are being represented by him when he’s in the Cabinet. So the findings of the or whatever advice is given to the Prime Minister from the office of the Attorney General that is the measurement that he will use as to when he would or if he would invite the former minister and the representative for Belize Rural South into Cabinet.”
In Perez’s absence, the Prime Minister has been acting as the Minister of the Blue Economy. We asked Leslie how the incident has impacted the PM and to speak on how the ministry is being managed.
Stuart Leslie, Cabinet Secretary: “Time management is important. The Prime Minister tries to schedule his time in a very efficient way and so he has his meetings once a week with the CEO in the Ministry of the Blue Economy they sit down together she brings the issues in front of him the issues that the Prime Minister needs to determine he determines but this Prime Minister is not a micromanager. He’s put a team of competent CEOs in these offices and he trusts them and so a CEO knows when you have to go and consult with the Prime Minister. In the case of the Blue Economy this is I think what CEO Carrillo is doing she meets with the Prime Minister I know once a week and she consults and you know CEOs get together every Wednesday to get their instructions from Cabinet and so also we have as colleagues we discuss, we talk and we work. So he’s managing his time as best as he can with this ministry and he’s focused right now on what’s happening as we get ready for budget and for moving this country forward that’s his big focus right now dealing with issues that will see Belizeans have a better life.”
Perez has gone on record to state that the Prime Minister has assured his return to the Cabinet.