Minister Andre Perez Remains on Unpaid Leave Amid Scandal
Minister Andre Perez remains on unpaid leave following a scandal that rocked Ambergris Caye and possibly, his political career. Reports from the government is that the Office of the Prime Minister would be merely holding over Perez’ portfolio until an investigation is concluded and a report presented by the Attorney General. Earlier today, Love News noted that on the National Assembly’s website, Perez had been stripped of his portfolio, and is now only listed as the Area Representative for Belize Rural South. Yesterday, Prime Minister Briceno was asked to comment on the matter, and the idea that there is the need for a standard to be upheld across the board for elected officials. The Prime Minister’s discomfort at the question was evident, and he did refrain from directly commenting on the allegations against Perez.
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “I think we need to be careful how we handle this, all of us, and you also the media included because many of you are not without sin. So we need to be careful whilst we set these standards and being the morality police. But yes I believe – but it doesn’t matter, you provide a good, a common good to the country by providing the news. So you also have certain ethical standards that are expected from you. But we’re not going to argue about that. The point that I’m making, or that we need to make, is that we need to now really start to talk about setting up some standards that has not been done. And especially when it comes to the use and misuse of social media that we all have a responsibility and also to be an example to the rest of the country. But at the same time, I say this very carefully because we are also human beings, we have a private life and that if you are doing something with somebody privately, it should remain private and it should not become public unless you are doing something illegal. And so that I think I want to leave it as that.”
Reporter: And is the leave of absence unpaid.
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “Yes, it is.”
Reporter: Will Mr. Ferguson also be investigated in this light ?
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “Well, I don’t know yet because I have not seen it. And I have not spoken to him as yet. So after the investment summit I will sit down and start to take a look at and see what is there. I mean, so should we also condemn the Leader of the Opposition for his behavior? I mean, so you know, you need to draw a line somewhere. And that’s what I’m trying to make.”
Reporter: Is there a timeline for the investigation by the AG?
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “Well, we did not set a timeline, but I expect within the next few weeks, I think the attorney general can report to cabinet to see if there were any laws that were broken.”
The Belize Rural North Area Representative took a leave from office two weeks ago after he was accused of sexual harassment by an attorney. Love News understands that the investigation will determine whether Perez took part in any actionable wrongdoings and will also attempt to determine if there is any truth behind his claim of blackmail.