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SALDIVAR FATE 1

Saldivar Career ended?

53-year-old John Saldivar may be seeing the end of his political career and may just go down as the shortest-serving Party Leader Elect for the United Democratic Party.  Party Leader Dean Barrow has asked for his resignation as the UDP’s Party Leader Elect and has suspended him from Cabinet. 

53-year-old John Saldivar may be seeing the end of his political career and may just go down as the shortest-serving Party Leader Elect for the United Democratic Party.  Party Leader Dean Barrow has asked for his resignation as the UDP’s Party Leader Elect and has suspended him from Cabinet.  It was less than 72 hours ago, among a jubilant crowd inside the Belize Civic Centre that John Saldivar was signing autographs and delivering a speech of triumph.  Despite all the allegations, accusations and a public outcry for justice, Saldivar proclaimed innocence in the case of Lev Dermen and the monies he allegedly received.

John Saldivar, Former UDP Party Leader Elect: “I’ve always said that I’m not guilty of any wrongdoing, I maintain that and until anything else is proven otherwise that is my position and I’m glad that the people of Belize saw it that way whilst the media may not have. Not at all. I know that there’s nothing that’s gonna come from that that’s gonna affect me in any negative way, I’ve always maintained my innocence.”

Sunday saw the confident Saldivar saying that nothing would come out of Utah that would negatively impact and boy was he wrong.  Tonight, he no longer has that prime ministerial seat he has been eyeing for some years now and his fate as a Government Minister hangs in the balance.  Love News was back in Belmopan today after being informed that an emergency meeting of Cabinet and the UDP’s  31 Standard Bearers. The media was out in full force anxiously awaiting any information that would come to us as the UDPs entered and exited the Sir Edney Cain Building.

Orson Elrington, UDP Standard Bearer, Freetown: “The Prime Minister will make a statement.”

Renee Trujillo, News Director, Love News: You’re sentiments coming out of this meeting ?

Orson Elrington, UDP Standard Bearer, Freetown: “The Prime Minister will make a sentiment darling.”

Renee Trujillo, News Director, Love News:  How do you feel considering that we know that this is something surrounding Saldivar and you’re support was with Faber?

Orson Elrington, UDP Standard Bearer, Freetown: “The Prime Minister will make a statement.”

Renee Trujillo, News Director, Love News:  Alright well that seems everybody is being given a gag order. 

Renee Trujillo, News Director, Love News:  [To Lee Mark Chang] No comments? 

Lee Mark Chang, UDP Standard Bearer, Caribbean Shores: “No comments right now, sorry.”

Renee Trujillo, News Director, Love News:  Alright, so everybody is waiting for …..

Edmond Castro, Area Representative, Belize Rural North: “Talk to Jules, I always talk to Jules. Jules knows everything. I love you sir. “

Reporter: Sir has Minister Saldivar been fired? I love you too sir but I want to ask a question.

 Edmond Castro, Area Representative, Belize Rural North:“Not today.”

Renee Trujillo, News Director, Love News:  Alright so everybody is avoiding the media. It seems that there has been a gag order coming out of this emergency meeting. Nobody is allowed to say anything to the press and we just have to wait until the Prime Minister makes a statement.”

While the Cabinet members were mum on the Government business and the outcome of Saldivar and his Cabinet seat, we sought answers from a political perspective from the recently endorsed UDP Chairman, Michael Peyrefitte.

Renee Trujillo, News Director, Love News:  As the recently endorsed chairman of the United Democratic Party could you comment in terms of the party business ?

Michael Peyrefitte, Chairman, United Democratic Party: “No. The Prime Minister is in the process of recording a statement as we speak. He will release that to the media and to the public. Subsequent to that we will give interviews but for right now out of respect for the PM I’ll wait until he issues his statement. 

Reporter: But he speaks on executive matters, can you speak on the party ? You are in custody of the party.

Michael Peyrefitte, Chairman, United Democratic Party: “I will speak after the Prime Minister speaks.”

Renee Trujillo, News Director, Love News: So you say this is a recorded message, he will not be meeting with the press right now ?

Michael Peyrefitte, Chairman, Unitd Democratic Party: “I think English dah unu problem. I will speak after the UDP—“

The pre-recorded statement from the Prime Minister came at two-twenty this afternoon.  A statement that had social media swarming with comments that the punishment against Saldivar did not fit the crime.

Rt.Hon Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “Like all Belizeans, the Office of the Prime Minister has been closely following developments in the Salt Lake City trial of accused U.S. fraudster Lev Dermen. It has been some time now since documents related to the trial have surfaced with allegations that Belizean officials, including a Minister of Government, have been involved with Dermen in improper activities related to Belize. The allegations contained assertions that Belizean officials were paid by Dermen and his associates in connection with Dermen’s efforts to obtain Belizean nationality, and a Belizean diplomatic passport and Ambassadorial or Consular status. The testimony given in the trial this Monday and Tuesday by one Jacob Kingston has proved, to say the least, explosive. Kingston incriminated Minister John Saldivar, in particular, and produced text messages in support of his evidence relating to the allegations he made against Minister Saldivar. As Prime Minister I have earlier gone on record about this matter. This was after Ministers had sworn to Cabinet that none of them had taken any money from Dermen and associates. I said in Cabinet at the time, and later at a press conference, that any Minister subsequently proven indeed to have taken money and therefore to have lied to Cabinet, would have to leave the Cabinet.

That time for leaving, in view of what happened Monday and Tuesday in Salt Lake City, Utah, that time has unfortunately come. I, therefore, today asked Minister Saldivar to submit to me his resignation as Leader Elect of the United Democratic Party. He has agreed to do so. In addition to the resignation, I have decided to put the Minister on indefinite suspension from the Cabinet. This will do two things: It will give the Minister a chance to prove the innocence which he strongly maintains. It will also give time for the Government to obtain official transcripts from the trial and direct the Police to launch and complete a thorough investigation into all the allegations made in the course of that Dermen trial. The UDP will in due time choose a new Leader Elect for the Party.”

Interestingly, while all Cabinet members refused to speak before the Prime Minister’s statement came out, John Saldivar beat him to the punch, issuing a press release.  His release reads, quote, “In a Special Cabinet meeting today I informed the Prime Minister and colleagues of my decision to resign as the Leader-elect of the United Democratic Party. I have come to this decision after careful consideration and consultation with colleagues. While I maintain my innocence of any wrongdoing, bribery, or corruption and the testimony in Utah has confirmed that there was no bribery, I feel that the negative attention being generated by this trial is overtaking my Party and can hurt our chances in the upcoming general elections. I have therefore stepped aside to allow a new leader to be chosen. I thank all those who supported me during the recently concluded Leadership Convention. It is unfortunate but life is real. Once my name is properly cleared I will resume the work that I love so dearly. I will continue to work with colleagues to ensure victory for our UDP later this year. I am also happy to continue serving as Minister of National Security.”  End of quote.  What caught the attention of our newsroom is the fact that Saldivar says he is happy to continue serving as the Minister of National Security.  So, did he really get suspended or didn’t he?////