John Saldivar is a Minister once more. He resumed his Ministerial duties as of today after being suspended for one week. Prime Minister Dean Barrow made the decision to suspend Saldivar after documents surfaced that indicated that Saldivar had formed a business relationship with the infamous William Danny Mason. Today his fellow cabinet ministers were presented with a legal opinion that quote “rejects as invalid any conclusion that the Minister, in consequence of the continued existence after September 2015 of a company in which both the Minister and Mr. Mason had subscribed to shares, continued in a business relationship with Mr. Mason.” End of quote. The release further states quote, “The opinion makes the point that after the company was formed, and no doubt because the Minister shortly thereafter made unsavory discoveries about Mr. Mason, the Minister took no steps to actually allot to himself or Mr. Mason any of the shares to which they had subscribed. This meant that they never actually became shareholders and the company never got off the ground.” End of quote. The release did not specify whose legal opinion was sought and so we asked Minister Anthony “Boots” Martinez.
“In my view I am happy to see that the legal opinion vindicated my colleague.”
“Whose legal opinion was it?”
“I don’t know? It was a legal opinion that was presented to the Prime Minister and I think that I would want to refer to that legal opinion or have the question of whose legal opinion it is directed by the Prime Minister. In my humble opinion from when I looked at the situation last week just as an ordinary citizen looking on the documents that were presented in my humble opinion I think it was in August of 2015 in my opinion also to Minister Saldivar stated that he severed ties with Mr.Mason in September of last year. I might had had a different opinion had the documented been after September of last year.”
“One of the questions brought up when the announcement was made whether or not his suspension was with pay or without, how exactly does that work? Can a Minister be suspended a week ?”
“Well in my view that was a discussion that was held with Minister Saldivar and the Prime Minister I don’t know I heard the speculation in the media whether it would work. I have yet to research it even as a minister.
“That wasn’t discussed today at all?”
In the legal opinion obtained by the Prime Minister, it noted that it was important to emphasize that there is no allegation that Minister Saldivar interacted or associated with Mason after he ended contact with him. The legal opinion went on to state, quote, “The charge against him is solely that by remaining a shareholder, in common with Mr. Mason, in a company which apparently never did anything after it was incorporated, Hon. Saldivar thereby remained in a business relationship with Mr. Mason” End of quote. Another point brought about by the legal report stated, quote, “That is a purely legalistic argument. For the reasons stated above it is wrong. Common ownership of shares in a moribund company does not put shareholders in a business relationship with each other.” End of quote. According to Agriculture Minister, Godwin Hulse, it is based on this legal opinion that the decision was made to clear Minister Saldivar and to have him resume his duties as Minister of Defense.
“With respect to the company that shares were not issued and so really there was no functioning company, they were subscribed but they were not issued so you cannot say that the man had a relationship because there was just the company, the company was just paper and as a consequence there could be no relationship that is my general understanding. The man said it from September he said that he had no further business relationship and if that is what the opinion says that that is not a business relationship I have to accept that.”
Minister Saldivar did not attend today’s cabinet meeting. We asked him for a comment via text but we got no response.