Last week Love News broke the story of the Lev Dermen scandal. Since then Belizeans have been closely following its development and the papers coming out of the US District Court. The trial is set to begin in six days, and it is the hope of many that the two Government personnel who took bribes will be officially named. In any case involving the United States, it is the popular belief, as was popularly expressed on social media, that the Embassy is fully apprised of the cases and are very much involved. Love News spoke with the Chargé d’Affaires, Keith Gilges to find out what their role is when incidents like the Dermen scandal comes up.
Keith Gilges, Charge d’ affaires, US Embassy: “I can’t comment on an ongoing case. You know there are differences between what I do as a representative of the State Department and the government here and what happens in the Judicial System back in the United States so nobody’s consulting with me on these issues. If sometimes a case might touch on something in Belize, I’m following it as much as anybody else is but I don’t have any particular information and I have to be very careful about commenting on any ongoing case or investigation.
Reporter: So it’s not a situation that when something happens in the US, you’re not automatically privy to the information.”
Keith Gilges, Charge d’ affaires, US Embassy: “That’s correct. We’ve got a big government, there a lot of different branches and there are separations between what we do. So I represent the State Department, I represent the president here in country and the policies. What happens in the Judicial system and a case happening in the Federal district in Utah isn’t something that I’m privy to or they’re going to consult with me about.”
The Lev Dermen case comes up on January 27 in Utah. In the trial, Dermen’s former business partner, Jacob Kingston is expected to testify as to the various Government officials that took bribes including from Belize.