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#327871 - 03/12/09 02:41 AM U.D.P. Minister Implicated in Contraband?
Short Offline
And this is from the U.D.P. TV station. I guess even a minister can suffer under our taxes.

Originally Posted By: 7 News Belize
Minister of State Juan Coy and Contraband Beer and Soft Drinks

He’s the Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation, but eleven days ago on February 28, Juan Coy was called upon to intercede in a contraband matter. 7News has confirmed with official sources who wish to remain anonymous say that on Friday February 27th, a school bus was stopped by a BDF patrol in the area of the Treetops observation post, which is near to Jalacte. The soldiers found a man whose name has only been given to us as Ruben with a significant quantity of Guatemalan beer and soft drinks.

It is BDF procedure to confiscate large movements of contraband and they did. But on Saturday, Coy who is the representative for Toledo West attempted to intercede – and called Fairweather Camp to have the five cases of Gallo liter beers, five cases of soft drinks and two cases of Squirt drink released. Still, it seems the BDF couldn’t just release it without covering themselves, so they required that Coy write a letter giving a waiver for the release of the items. And that’s just what the Minister did. Sources who have seen the signed, handwritten letter say that the letter permits the passage of the contraband beverages for, “personal use.”

We’ve been trying to get a comment from the BDF for a week. At Fairweather Camp, Major Steven Ortega directed us to the Public Relations Officer at Price Barracks Major Ganney Dortch, who directed us to the CEO in the Ministry of National Security, General Loyd Gillett who told us he had no comment. As for Junior Minister Coy, we have been unable to reach him but the CEO in the Prime Minister’s Office Audrey Wallace confirmed that he intervened for someone on a bus.

And while Wallace could not give a position, government still has to come up with an answer for a Minister of State giving a green light to the smuggling of a fair amount of contraband. To put it in context, we’ve been to Jalacte and the neighbouring Guatemalan village of Santa Cruz where the trade in contraband is constant and while there are big players, most of the farmers only bring across a few beers, groceries and soft drinks.

But 12 cases of beverages definitely qualifies as contraband smuggling – and with the official position on contraband, as undermining the local economy – seems to us, Government can hardly turn a blind eye – after all, Coy signed a letter permitting passage of that product.

We await an official response, but we also note official precedent. In November a ministerial driver was caught at a customs checkpoint with contraband liquor smuggled from the Free Zone and as a consequence, the Prime Minister ordered that he be suspended.

Live and let live

#327878 - 03/12/09 08:11 AM Re: U.D.P. Minister Implicated in Contraband? [Re: Short]
sweetjane Offline

#327959 - 03/12/09 01:32 PM Re: U.D.P. Minister Implicated in Contraband? [Re: sweetjane]
Short Offline
Yep, that ministerial driver smuggling contraband liquor from the Free Zone wasn't so bad, but smuggling Beer and Soft drinks cuts hard in Barry Bowen's profits... Wait a minute, didn't he just appear on the enemy of the Belizean people's TV station?
Live and let live

#328927 - 03/18/09 01:26 AM Re: U.D.P. Minister Implicated in Contraband? [Re: Short]
Short Offline
As expected third minister down...

Originally Posted By: 7 News Belize
Barrow Suspends Minister of State Juan Coy for Contraband Smuggling

Last week Wednesday – 7News broke the story of Minister of State Juan Coy, who wrote a letter to the BDF Camp in Punta Gorda asking them to release a significant amount of contraband soft drinks, juice and beer that they had confiscated – items that not only did not pay duty, but are also prohibited from being sold in Belize. The letter as we reported was handwritten and signed on February 28 and under that authority the BDF did release the contraband goods to a man identified to us only as Ruben who had been intercepted carrying the contraband cargo on - of all things - a school bus in the Jalacte area. In his letter, Coy told the BDF that the five cases of Gallo liter beers, five cases of soft drinks and two cases of squirt drink were for personal use.

In the wider context, veteran politicos tell us it’s not really a huge deal, but our story caused a huge embarrassment and a mini-political emergency for the Barrow administration, which was elected on a platform of good governance. Last week, the Prime Minister told us he would act on it once he was finished chairing the CARICOM meeting – and he did today. A release issued at the end of Cabinet today says that Coy has been suspended as Minister of State for six months, starting today.

The release says that the Prime Minister has decided that Coy’s intervention on behalf of one of his constituents, quote “constituted a lack of judgment and could be viewed as an abuse of his ministerial position,” close quote. It is a strong stand, and for a first term politician, while six months isn’t an eternity it is a full 10% of his elected term of office.

But still, informed speculation is that if it were another Deputy Minister, he could have been shuffled out of Cabinet for the infraction – but as the only Mayan in the House of Representatives and in Cabinet – Coy, it is felt, was due for special consideration. Also, Coy occupies a strategic position for government in its battle with the Mayan Leaders Alliance. We know that he is from San Pedro Colombia which is also the economic and power base of the Cacao Growers’ Association – which has publicly opposed the Mayan leaders claim for ownership of communal property. In a recent press conference, Mayan Leader Greg Choq, all but directly accused Coy of meddling and trying to undermine the communal cause.

For that reason alone, it is seen as politically prudent that the Prime Minister keep Coy politically relevant in his Toledo West division. Now the other side of this story is that there’s a Cabinet post temporarily open, that of Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation. We’ve heard a name rumoured for this post, but we’ll wait and see.

Live and let live

#328934 - 03/18/09 07:43 AM Re: U.D.P. Minister Implicated in Contraband? [Re: Short]
sweetjane Offline
Originally Posted By: Short
Yep, that ministerial driver smuggling contraband liquor from the Free Zone wasn't so bad, but smuggling Beer and Soft drinks cuts hard in Barry Bowen's profits...

(snicker. that's funny, yet not.)

dropping like flies???


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