Guatemala mired with corruption: minster resigns and police chief jails

Prime Minister Dean Barrow was in Guatemala last Friday for a summit of SICA presidents. Barrow and the Central American leaders met with United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. She was on her last stop of a regional tour and engaged the leaders on a discussion about the coup that ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya from power. In a sit down with the media on Wednesday, Ambassador to Guatemala, Fred Martinez, said the political climate in Guatemala was a hot button issue which was discussed by the leaders. Guatemalaís President Alvaro Colon has lost a minister to corruption charges, there are persistent allegations of a death squad, and two chiefs of police have been jailed in the last seven months.

Fred Martinez, Belizeís Ambassador to Guatemala

ďTo discuss the very chaotic situation in Guatemala, politically and administratively arising from corruption charges within the Ministry of Home Affairs where the Minister of Home Affairs has had to resign along with his vice ministers. The vice-ministers accusing each other of corruption within the system of setting up death squads to eliminate certain people that the narcos wanted to eliminate. The chief of police jailed, the chief of anti-narcotics has now been jailed. This is the second chief of police that is jailed in seven months. This has happened, not because of their internal investigations, but you should be aware that Guatemala has a United Nations Commissioner against impunity. Itís a hundred and eighty-one experts from around the world that sit in Guatemala and are helping the Guatemalan government now clean up its parallel forces, its corruption forces and whatever. It is a weakening situation for the government; in one week he has lost three ministers including his Minister of Home Affairs. So that political scenario can tell you that this is no time to be holding any referendum in Guatemala on any matter in that country. I think it was a show of boosting for the presidentís constitutional powers to be there with the whole region to give him that silent support because he needs all the help that he can possibly get. The man basically is an honest man and thatís the assessment of everybody and heís battling against all of these forces. In that context of the prime ministerís visit, which he held a private discussion with president Colon with some of the issues principally on the Sarstoon, which there were assurances that things would not escalate and return to normal from the president. We took the opportunity of the prime ministerís visit to request that Guatemala ratify the Partial Scope Agreement. The prime minister was handed over with the ratification of the partial scope agreement on Trade which now takes effect on the fourth of April next month.Ē

Martinez says that the Partial Scope Agreement on trade is the first bilateral agreement that has been signed between the two countries; which has been ratified by the president and the congress of Guatemala. He says Belize will be the primary beneficiary of the agreement as it will result in additional export of Belizean agricultural products into Guatemala.

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