UDP Calls for Resignation of Minister Andre Perez Amidst Sexual Harassment Allegations
Based on accusations of sexual harassment, the women’s group of the United Democratic Party (UDP) is calling for the resignation of Minister Andre Perez. A release was issued this morning, calling on the Police to launch an investigation into the allegations against the minister, and that he be charged if evidence is uncovered. The UDP’s National Organization for Women is also calling on the Director of Public Prosecutions to levy charges against the minister, pursuant to the evidence. A call was also issued to the Special Envoy, the PUP arms, along with its Women’s Parliamentarians, their caucus, and the Belize Network of NGOs. Additionally, the UDP is calling on the Speaker of the House to submit a request to have the matter sent to the Privileges Committee based on a breach of conduct and decorum by a member of the House of Representatives. The backdrop to this release from the UDP has to do with the Minister of Blue Economy, Andre Perez being caught in a messy situation, after Attorney Wendy Auxillou registered claims that he was being a sexual predator, and sending her unwelcomed nude images and sexual messages. The matter escalated when screenshots of the conversations between them were leaked. Since then, the Minister has confessed that there was a consensual affair, but that it had ended. The matter has given the opposition grounds to call out the Minister of Blue Economy which is exactly what UDP Chairman, Michael Peyrefitte did.
Michael Peyrefitte, UDP Chairman: “The UDP is not interested in any PUP minister’s sex life you know ? That’s their business. We are interested in cost of living, inflation, crime, healthcare, the economy, the one billion dollar debt that they have accrued since November 2020 that’s what we’re interested in. What we’re interested in is the Prime Minister was informed by a legal professional that they were in fear of their safety. That they were threatened purportedly and he only called the minister two weeks after that to verify. The Prime Minister was informed of certain behaviors by this individual and from what I’ve been told certain unwanted photographs and messages that were sent to people. We believe that if someone feels threatened there needs to be a serious investigation and it’s a hell of a mess. There’s the talk of blackmail, there’s the talk of being a sexual predator, they talk about threat of life I mean it is a hell of a mess and we must as members of the National Assembly carry ourselves in a certain way whether in our professional or private lives. I mean the Leader of the Opposition wrote a letter, wrote a letter and that had the privileges committee scrambling to try and have him drawn, quartered and hung at bridge foot. I mean and something happens like this and we don’t hear anything. We don’t hear that cry. We don’t hear that urgency and so we as the responsible opposition we have to keep the fire burning on issues like this. Here you are someone saying that they have to check with the Prime Minister if it’s okay for them to go back to Belize because they don’t feel safe. I mean that is something that you let the police investigate. You don’t on your own Prime Minister determine that it doesn’t meet the threshold for something. I mean and it seems that it’s a pattern of behavior with these PUP ministers you know? I mean what is going on? We need to get to the bottom of it. And we need to do the investigation and also these people who are saying that they feel threatened and aggrieved or a crime was committed against them they need to formalize their complaints with the police. They need to do that. But in the meantime with the way we are supposed to carry ourselves, code of conduct, decorum I think it is only right that the minister resign from the Cabinet, step away and seriously consider resigning his seat from the National Assembly because that is no way to be carrying yourself in my view and I don’t think that it is becoming of the office of a member of the National Assembly that’s just my personal view.”
According to Minister Perez, the affair got messy when Auxillou allegedly began blackmailing him for weeks, but he had refused to give her what she wanted. After reviewing some of the screenshots sent to us, our newsroom found that the messages show a two-way conversation of a sexual nature with Auxillou telling the Minister what her preferences are, and him responding in-kind. Love News understands that Auxillou had reached out to the Prime Minister, and had claimed that she had to flee the country in fear of her life. With all that said and done, and while Peyrefitte says they are not interested in the minister’s personal life, he does believe that he should be taken before the Privileges Committee.
Michael Peyrefitte, UDP Chairman: “Where is the privileges committee? They should be calling a House meeting for this afternoon to try and deal with this matter if you’re going to call one special committee just to deal with a letter from the Leader of the Opposition. You cannot be enraged by behavior because it supposedly comes from the UDP and then not be enraged by behavior that comes from the PUP. I am saying if you’re talking about convening the privileges committee to bring a motion , to bring whatever it is that comes with dealing with a member of the House, if you can talk about bringing it against the Leader of the Opposition for his purported behavior with words in a letter to the Speaker I am thinking that if you can do that then how can you not bring one for the purported conduct of the minister in question who is a member of the same lower house as the Leader of the Opposition. All I’m asking for from all these people who cry bloody murder is some consistency. Just come with some consistency and the UDP now believes that the government is very harsh on purported violence against women, exploitation against women especially sexual exploitation of women. Here we have a case where there is a possibility that that has taken place and why are they not crying or pushing the powers that be for an investigation to find out if those purported allegations are true or not.”
Meanwhile, Minister Perez has issued an apology to his wife, his family, his constituents, and colleagues for his error in judgement.