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Ministers vote in case of Joshua Perdomo write off

Four Cabinet ministers voted in favor of writing off forty thousand five hundred dollars owed to the Government by Joshua Perdomo, the son of Cabinet Secretary, Carlos Perdomo.  As we reported in a previous newscast, Joshua Perdomo was employed by the Government, went on study leave with the condition that when he completes his studies, he would return and give three years to the public service. Joshua returned but went against the bond.  Prime Minister Dean Barrow, in listing the write-offs being proposed at the last house meeting, noted that Joshua could not be located for repayment.  Joshua’s services were terminated by the Government in 2014; fast forward today and there has been no repayment.  Parliamentarian, Kareem Musa, is a member of the Finance and Economic Development Committee which met this afternoon at the National Assembly.  During that meeting, the majority voted in favor of writing off the monies.  Those who voted in favor are John Saldivar, Edmond Castro, Hugo Patt, and Elodio Aragon.  According to Musa, several citizens were at the meeting protesting the write-off.
Kareem Musa, Parliamentarian: “They are now going to recommend to the house that this be withdrawn as a motion, and so that was never done of course. There was a vote of 4:1, four members of the government and my vote against it so that is how it tallied off today that there was four for the motion to go ahead despite the fact that Belizeans had very serious views that they expressed today. The meeting was chaired by Minister Saldivar the member for Belmopan and also present were Ministers Hugo Patt, Minister Elodio Aragon and Minister Edmund Castro. It is certainly a shock when you hear the Deputy Prime Minister characterize this entire scenario as something that kind of took place in the dark because he as the Deputy Prime Minister should know about this and the Minister of Education he is also the Minister of Education so if it’s anybody that should know about a bond for education being written of it should be him the Deputy Prime Minister and so if he didn’t have an opportunity to express his views at Cabinet then why is it even at the house because clearly if you listen to Patrick Faber he is saying he is against it, he is saying that it is blatant nepotism, he is agreeing with me. So the fact that he shares those views but then there are others in his Cabinet who do not and who do not care about the views of the general public but rather just want to write it off then clearly there is an issue. So the question is why are we going to a committee meeting with so little information. You can’t just wake up one morning and say ‘we’re going to write this off’ and not do your homework to see what attempts have been made to contact either the principal Joshua Perdomo or the cosigner Silvia Perdomo so there was a lot of response to the effect that they don’t know. So at the end of the day like I said in a normal democratic society having listened to the concerns of the citizens the way they presented today, because they all presented excellently one would think that you know what we don’t have all the answers perhaps we should reconsider, take this back to the house and make some adjustments. Try to make an attempt to reach Joshua Perdomo perhaps, try to make an attempt to reach the cosigner before we take this very drastic step of writing off this bond.”
In following up this story, we had spoken to the Deputy Prime Minister, Patrick Faber who told us that he is not in agreement with the write-off and that he was unaware of the proposal.  He added that the Prime Minister was unaware that Joshua is the son of the Cabinet Secretary.  It is a situation that has conjured up criticisms from various corners.  According to Musa, this write off in favor of Joshua Perdomo just may be unprecedented.
Kareem Musa, Parliamentarian: “After so many years I believe Mr.Perdomo, according to the Financial Secretary today, his services were fully and finally terminated in the year 2014 according to the FinSec today House Committee meeting and here we are in 2019 writing off his $40,000 bond. Now it’s a very rare situation because as you know students when you go abroad you have to honor your bond. I don’t know of any scenario and neither the FinSec because that question was specifically put to him ‘are you familiar with other situations like these where a bond was written off in the manner it was today?’ and he said he could not recall of any off the top of his head. Now one of the excuses that was given as to why Mr.Perdomo was being given this special treatment so to speak is because they are saying that he could not be found. Now I don’t know what methods they employed in trying to reach Mr.Perdomo but I see a lot of people have him on social media. I know that the Prime Minister has his father as Cabinet Secretary he shouldn’t be somebody that is too hard to find. But in addition to that his sister Sylvia Perdomo is the cosigner for this bond and she actually lives in Belize City and so the question was put to the FinSec and other members ‘what attempts were made to recover from the cosigner of this bond?’ and again they didn’t have much answers to those questions. So to see that special treatment, it’s nepotism at it’s best, special treatment is being afforded to Joshua Perdomo in this instance, and so rightly so we had some concerned Belizeans Mr.Dwight Neal, Ms.Tanya Santos, I believe Ms.Contreras they all went and they shared their views, they expressed their views because they too were at one point in time were students who had bonds and they had to work off their bonds like every normal Belizean and so the question has to arise ‘why is special treatment being afforded to this one individual?’ is it because he is the son of the Cabinet Secretary why they are going through this very special motion to write off his $40,000 loan.”
Perdomo’s write off is one among five that were presented at today’s meeting.