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#504254 - 05/15/15 11:20 AM Castro's Office Facilitated Visa Hustle
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Castro Cross Examination Reveals His Office Facilitated Visa Hustle

After months of case management, Belize Rural North Area Representative Edmond Castro finally got his first serious day in court before Justice Courtney Abel. He's suing Channel 5 and immigration agent turned whistleblower Alvarine Burgess for defamation.

Viewers may remember that in an interview, which was aired in October and November 2013, Burgess alleged that she approached Edmond Castro to sign 200 visa recommendations for which she paid him $2,000 dollars each. That was right around the time when the Elvin Penner Immigration Scandal was raging. Castro asserted that this allegation was false, and that it hurt his reputation. He demanded a retraction and an apology, neither of which were given, and so he sued them to try to clear his name.

His attorney, Rodwell Williams, opened today's hearing by submitting to Justice Abel that the defendants cannot prove that Castro was involved in any visa hustle, and so, Castro's reputation has suffered unnecessarily for it.

Alvarine Burgess's defence is that what she said was the truth, and she can justify the accusations she made. Channel 5 has different platforms of defense against the claim. The first is that indeed Burgess' comments are true. Secondly, they also claim absolute privilege due to the integrity in public life laws, which governs the conduct of public officials. Finally, Channel 5 claims qualified privilege, common law afforded to the media and the press as fair comment.

The entire day was spent with Castro on the witness stand, where Godfrey Smith cross-examined him based on his written testimony that the allegations are false. He asked Castro about the Code of Ethics that Elected Politicians must follow, so that they don't demean their high office, allow for their credibility to be questioned, or use their public office for personal gain. From there, Smith directed an inquiry into Castro's removal from Cabinet in 2010, then the scandal involving him at the Belize Airport Authority, and then, finally, his role as recommender for Asian Nationals for visas, individuals whom he did not know.

All of these were very trying times for Castro in his tenure as an elected official, and it has to be bad timing that all these issues are rehashed only 2 weeks before he must defend his position as the UDP standard bearer for the UDP in an open convention. Under Smith's cross-examination, Castro conceded that his integrity was called into question when he was fired from Cabinet after a woman alleged that she paid Castro to acquire land for her, and claimed that he swindled her. He conceded also that it was bad judgment accepted a cheque from the BBA, a Department which he was in charge of as a Minister. That money was used to cover his late mother's funeral expenses.

As to the visa scandal itself, he admitted that he did not know or even meet any of the Asian Nationals he recommended. He also conceded that in hindsight, he knew that something was wrong when he gave his signature for what can be described as a "visa hustle". He also accepted that after consideration, he was risking his reputation by signing these recommendation letters. He also admitted that he knew that Burgess was being paid to get these visa recommendation letters signed by him, and by that reasoning, his ministerial office did facilitate the visa hustle.

Castro rejected, however, the suggestion that he was paid any money, much less $2,000 dollars for each letter he signed. He also denied that he knowingly participated in this visa hustle. He maintained that he only helped Burgess by signing the letters because she was a longtime friend who came to him with the financial difficulties that her husband was ill and needed expensive medical treatment available out of the country. He claims that Burgess asked him for money to cover the expenses, but he didn't have it, so he did the next best thing and signed the letters so that she could earn the money as visa expediter.

Castro was then cross-examined by Burgess' attorney, Anthony Sylvestre, who chose to confront Castro's attorney with 21 Asian Nationals he recommended. His response to that was that his secretary crafted the letters with all the necessary information, and he claims that he only signed them after they were finished.

So, that's a lot of revelations after 6 hours on the witness stand, and when court was adjourned at 5 this evening, we spoke with both sides. Here's what they told us:

Godfrey Smith, SC - Attorney for Channel 5
"The thrust of the cross examination was to do several things; to establish that the minister was aware of how he ought to comport himself in relation to code of ethics. The thrust of the cross examination was also directed to establishing that the minister had a reputation for being involved in questionable acts before. Notably one that lead to his being fired from cabinet. Basically, Minister Castro agreed that there was a visa hustle going on. The cross examination was directed to establishing that after he talked about it, he realize that his actions - that of his office what he was lending his office to, could amount to a visa hustle. He accepted that. He accepted that he had done visa recommendations for Asian nationals, on more than one occasion, for people he had no knowledge who they were and why they wanted to come to Belize and what they wanted the visas for. So, as I've said, the only thing he refused to accept was that he had taken money for this and obviously he couldn't very well accept that - could he?"

Rodwell Williams, SC - Attorney for Hon. Edmond Castro
"Every one of God's children do have a reputation. The good one, the bad one, the ugly one, the pretty one. They do have a reputation that is capable of being harmed and injured. Even you say, a bad child of God. They do have a reputation, capable of being harmed."

Mike Rudon, Ch5
"Do you think the cross examination today was damaging to your client in the least?"

Rodwell Williams, SC - Attorney for Hon. Edmond Castro
"Not really. They were very long examinations and very detailed, but, no his case remains the same."

Castro goes back on the stand tomorrow, where his attorney will have an opportunity to question him, and then it is expected that Alvarine Burgess may be called at some point what is expected to be another very full day at court.

Channel 7


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#504288 - 05/16/15 11:01 AM Re: Castro's Office Facilitated Visa Hustle [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Case For Castro Worsens On Day Two

Yesterday, we told you about Area Representative Edmond Castro's very difficult day on the witness stand for his lawsuit against Channel 5 and Alvarine Burgess. Under cross examination by attorney Godfrey Smith, he admitted yesterday, that in hindsight, he risked his reputation by signing recommendation letters for Asian Nationals who were applying for Belizean visas. He said he did it to help Alvarine Burgess. Well, today, Burgess took the stand and asserted that he didn't act out of compassion, she said he did it for the money. She says that he knowingly took a bribe of $2,000 for each visa applicant that she was asking him to recommend to the Immigration Department.

Burgess took the stand for most of today's session where Castro's attorney, Rodwell Williams vigorously questioned her about different aspects of her story in which she accuses the minister of state of participating in an immigration hustle. Even through his suggestions that she was lying and that her story was false, Burgess stuck steadfastly to her story that Castro took money to recommend Asians for visas.

Castro, of course, completely rejects her allegation that he ever took money for the recommendation letters. He also claims that he only recommended persons on her behalf on only 2 occasions, and he claims that in his meetings with Burgess, his driver, Norman Middleton, and his friend, Vernon Cuthkelvin, were both present.

After today's marathon session, we spoke with both Alvarine Burgess and Castro's attorney, Rodwell Williams about their impression of how the evidence recording process went in the trial. Both sides confidently claimed victory to the press this evening:

Anthony Sylvestre - Attorney for Alvarine Burgess
"To use the word of Miss Burgess. She was excellent and extremely fantastic. In my short years of practice I haven't seen a more fantastic witness. I mean, questions were posed to her and she was good. She remained as firm as she was when she gave the first interview on the 23rd of October and the 12th of November. Anyone who was in court can see firsthand how credible she was."

Alvarine Burgess - Immigration Agent/Whistleblower
"I believe that in life once you tell the truth no matter, there's no going around under or over it. The truth would always be the truth."

Daniel Ortiz
"It turns out to be your word against his. Do you believe that you've done a good job of explaining clearly what this was?"

Alvarine Burgess - Immigration Agent/Whistleblower
"I believe I did a wonderful job. It's for the Belizean public to see that we do have a corrupt government."

Daniel Ortiz
"Would you reject the suggestion that no matter how hard you tried to pose Miss Burgess' story, you failed?"

Rodwell Williams, SC - Attorney for Edmond Castro
"Not really. I think were you to seek to count the inconsistences they do add up. They may appear to be little inconsistences. She sat on the fence. She doesn't want to jump over that side or this side of the fence. 'Fencing' as Mister Smith referred to. That's all she did, fenced and when the questions were too probing she simply didn't respond to them. I don't remember, I don't remember, I don't remember. "

So, the glaring issue in this entire scandal is the allegation that Alvarine Burgess paid a bribe to Castro. That issue remains unresolved, and Castro maintains his innocence. But, is there an actionable allegation? And does this open both of them up to criminal prosecution by the state? That's what we asked both sides, and here's how they responded:

Daniel Ortiz
"Did you fear at any point that the statement tried to prosecute you for your actions, even though it's in the past?"

Alvarine Burgess - Immigration Agent/Whistleblower
"Well I think we will cross that bridge when we get there."

Mike Rudon, Ch5
"Do you feel that is was an attempt of intimidation?"

Alvarine Burgess - Immigration Agent/Whistleblower
"Well like my lawyer said, yes"

Anthony Sylvestre - Attorney for Alvarine Burgess
"That was definately a question I honestly thought was a low, on part of the Council for Mister Castro to ask such a question. How can he seek to suggest that only Miss Burgess ought to be prosecuted. Certainly this would have been a matter that would involve the Honorable Edmund Castro so if there's any question or issues of prosecution then he obviously wouldn't be involved with respect to any such discussion."

Rodwell Williams, SC - Attorney for Edmond Castro
"I don't think it is conceivable to any reasonable person that Miss Burgess would wish to maintain that she could get away with saying "I bribe the Minister but only the Minister is guilty of bribery. I don't have anything to do with it because the Minister tell me to give the money." No reasonable person would let that fly in my view. Even though there are unreasonable persons. I think that it really destroys her own credibility because she refused to [conceive] even though she probably won't accept she was morally wrong but she's more than morally wrong if what she said is true but she is refusing to accept that."

Mike Rudon, Ch5
"Is that the entire trust of your cross examination?"

Rodwell Williams, SC - Attorney for Edmond Castro
"No I wouldn't go through the entire cross examination it was too long but the cross examination is that she was simply lying about what she alleged and I think her failure to come forthright in relation to bribery.... It is certainly not and that won't fly for anybody. That's one of the major ointment I think in terms of her testimony."

Mike Rudon, Ch5
"That point then would mean that you're accepting that the minister did accept the bribe that she..."

Rodwell Williams, SC - Attorney for Edmond Castro
"No, I'm not accepting anything. I am saying to you that her credibility is impugn by the fact that she had the gall to say to a reasonable person or this court that bribery is a one way street. There's the briber and the bribee, the giver and the taker and they're both liable unexposed."

Mike Rudon, Ch5
"Have you at any time regretted doing what you did by going public?"

Alvarine Burgess - Immigration Agent/Whistleblower
"No, never one minute."

On the witness stand, Burgess told the court that her husband's illness backed her into a corner financially. On the allegation of bribing Castro, she told the court that at the time of the transaction, she didn't believe that she did anything wrong. That's because according to her, it was Castro who required payment. She said that she didn't realize that she was participating in a visa hustle until after the Elvin Penner Immigration scandal broke. She claims that this is also her reason for coming forward to the public because she wanted everyone to know the extent of the visa hustle.

The case goes back to court on July 3, where the attorneys will make closing arguments, and after that, Justice Courtney Abel will decided if Channel 5 and Alvarine Burgess defamed Castro.

Channel 7


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#504398 - 05/21/15 10:57 AM Re: Castro's Office Facilitated Visa Hustle [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Castro's Very Bad Week Continues With Squatting Claims

Since Last week Thursday, Belize Rural North Area Representative Edmond Castro has been having a very tough time politically. His lawsuit against Channel 5 and Alvarine Burgess last week was – to put it nicely – very uncomfortable, where he was cross examined on every political scandal he’s been involved in while in elected office. Then, he had to sit through several hours of Alvarine Burgess testifying under oath that he took bribes to sign recommendation letters for Asians trying to apply for Belizean Visas.

All this while he has a convention coming up in 11 days, and he must convince the people of Belize Rural North that he is the man to represent the UDP once again as standard bearer.

And tonight, the political pressures keep mounting.

Realtor Emerson Burke wrote a letter, dated May 13 in which he accused Castro of squatting on Lands in Santa Marta Village which he uses to cultivate sugar cane. It’s an activity which a number of farmers have been doing for years. Burke categorically states that this activity by Castro and the other farmers has cost his clients millions of dollars in cancelled sale agreements. Burke’s letter says, quote, “you are in fact complicit in squatting, an illegal action, and an act (that) the Cabinet has expressed vehemently its zero tolerance toward.”

That’s a heavy charge to lay against an elected government minister of state, who is held to a higher standard. Today was asked Castro about it when we caught him at another event – one which should have been a pre convention political pedicure but turned into something closer to a political punch fest. Castro explained that he buys cane from farmers who have cultivated in the area. He says he doesn’t cultivate it, hence, he isn’t squatting. It’s a tricky position to take, and so, we pressed him on it and it kinda went downhill from there:

Hon. Edmund Castro - Belize Rural North Area Rep

"Foolishness, almost 98% of the farmers in the Santa Marta area are on some private land. I do not own any private land in Santa Marta, however I do have cane. I have been in the cane business ever since I was about 10 or 12 years old. We had cane in the Carmelita area, it's just a tradition we continue in the business. So Emerson Burke need to seize and desist because then I'm not a man that likes court or know about court. He has no proof that any squatting of land is being done by me or any letter or any paper to show that I have own or claim to own any land in the Santa Marta area."

Reporter

"You say you have cane there."

Hon. Edmund Castro

"We have cane."

Daniel Ortiz

"Under what conditions? What's the situation of the land that the cane sits on. Is it your property? Do you have title for it?"

Hon. Edmund Castro

"No, no, no such thing. I do not own no land in Santa Martin. Man, let Emerson Burke bring his proof that I am squatting on his land."

Daniel Ortiz

"You are not squatting on his land, you are squatting on land of his client."

Hon. Edmund Castro

"The entire half of Maskall is privately owned. It's the same thing, I am not squatting on no land, for Emerson or his client."

Daniel Ortiz

"If it's privately owned then squatting is taking place sir."

Hon. Edmund Castro

"I never claimed I was squatting on any land."

Daniel Ortiz

"Do you or do you not have lands right now cultivated with sugar cane in Santa Marta?"

Hon. Edmund Castro

"I have some cane in Santa Marta."

Daniel Ortiz

"And do you own the land that the cane is currently on?"

Hon. Edmund Castro

"My friend, the cane that I have in Santa Marta, is cane I bought from people that had those cane there in Santa Marta."

Daniel Ortiz

"Sir, you just told us that you cultivate cane in that area."

Hon. Edmund Castro

"I said we have cane that I had bought from some people in Santa Marta, yes."

Daniel Ortiz

"But you just said you cultivate cane in the area and therefore because you don't own the land, you're squatting which is illegal and this gentleman says you should be held at a higher standard as a minister, as an area representative."

Hon. Edmund Castro

"My friend, I don't know what Emerson Burke is talking about. Emerson Burke will have to come and show me what land he is talking about. I do have some cane that I had bought from some people in Santa Marta. I don't own no land in Santa Marta."

Daniel Ortiz

"So you don't cultivate either, you buy?"

Hon. Edmund Castro

"I had some cane that I had bought some people in Santa Marta."

Daniel Ortiz

"Has this issue been brought to your attention before?"

Hon. Edmund Castro

"I know Emerson Burke came to me, maybe a year ago and he wanted to sell some land which encompasses about half the village of Maskall it contains about 6 or so thousand acres of land."

Daniel Ortiz

"Haven't you been informed that farmers are squatting on this parcel of property?"

Hon. Edmund Castro

"If that's the section he's talking about, I would say almost all the farmers in the Maskall area, all the way down are on those lands 20, 30, 40 years as long as I can recall."

Daniel Ortiz

"And he says that the government has expressed no interests to acquire that land publicly to distribute to those farmers - therefore those farmers need to move as well."

Hon. Edmund Castro

"Then he needs to take that up with those farmers. Those people have been living, have houses on those lands in Maskall all the way down for as long as I've known them. So it's something probably that government would have to - half of Maskall from where the school is in Maskall all the way down. Those are the land that I think is in question."

Reporter

"You purchase cane but you don't purchase the land, do other people own that land?"

Hon. Edmund Castro

"None of the farmers, I would go as far as saying none of the farmers or very little of them who have 100 of acres of cane own those lands. They have been cultivating those lands for 40 years, so if I buy a patch of cane from them, I buy the patch of cane, I can't buy the land because they have no title or paper for the land."

Reporter

"So the accusations that Mr. Burke is making that you are basically participating in the illegal actively that these individuals."

Hon. Edmund Castro

"There's no such participation in no illegal nothing."

Daniel Ortiz

"But sir, they squatted and you go and buy their canes."

Hon. Edmund Castro

"No, no, no. Yes sir, I purchase a patch of cane from them,"

Daniel Ortiz

"Which is illegally cultivated."

Hon. Edmund Castro

"(Sigh) Man."

Daniel Ortiz

"That's the position sir."

Hon. Edmund Castro

"What we need to do is to go and try to make Emerson deal with the 100 of farmers and shut them down and tell them that as of such a date, they cannot go on the land and cultivate or take care of their cane. If Emerson wants the patch of cane, he can have it."

Reporter

"Because he has rights to it."

Hon. Edmund Castro

"But he can take it, but he can take it, that's not a fuss. It's his, take it! Eat it! Do what you want with it!"

Daniel Ortiz

"But sir you're making it sound as though he's in a wrong for wanting to claim rights to this."

Hon. Edmund Castro

"There is no wrong, you are trying to pin it one me and then I am saying the entire part of the constituency that grows vegetables are on that plot of land.”

As you heard in the interview, Castro asserts that there are many farmers – “hundreds of farmers” in his words – who have been squatting on private land and cultivating it in Belize Rural North. That sounds like social unrest just waiting to happen once those private land owners start claiming their property. That’s the very same position that Castro has on this issue. He told us that the farmers are willing to purchase the land from Burke’s clients, if they are made a reasonable offer:

Hon. Edmund Castro

"The patch of cane I have in Santa Marta on his land, he can take it. He can take it, he doesn't even have to give me any compensation for it, right. Those people have been on those lands for umpteen years. I helped him to gather the people together because they are willing and preparing to pay. The don't want to beat it! They want to pay for it, where else will they go and grow their cane? Where else will the farmers in Bomba and Maskall go and grow their vegetables - to take to the market?"

Daniel Ortiz

"Sir how do you balance that with the interest of the land owner who has millions of dollars?"

Hon. Edmund Castro

"It's very simple, the farmers in the Maskall and Bomba area, all the way to Santa Marta would like to sit down and I had tried to put them together so that they can work out what it would take for them to own the piece of land. If the land owner so deserves of selling them the piece of land they have been cultivating for umpteen years. I don't see nothing wrong with that - as a representative of the people I tried to put that meeting together with Emerson, only to find out that he have ulterior motives. So that's why I said he is a crazy man because I even got in touch with Eludio Aragon to go and represent your people and see how you can best fight for the people in the Santa Marta area. Because if those people can't grow their cane tomorrow, we will have riot up there. If they can't go to their cane field tomorrow, we will have riot up there."

Castro has offered to take the press to the lands in question to speak with farmers who are cultivating on property they don’t own. Again, he asserts that he is not squatting on lands in Santa Marta; he only buys cane from farmers who have cultivated on land they don’t own.

Castro on Alvorine's Sworn Allegations

After his defamation lawsuit was finished on Friday, Castro didn’t stick around for the press to approach him for an interview.

We got the chance today to ask, if given that his standard bearer’s position is up for grabs, should he have just left well enough alone and dropped the suit? He made it clear that he wasn’t going to discuss that with the press at this time. He refused to answer, even though it is arguable that he took a political hit from Alvarine Burgess’ allegations in open court:

Daniel Ortiz

"Bad timing for you as a convention candidate.”

Hon. Edmund Castro - Belize Rural North Area Rep

"My friend, I cannot discuss that case, that case is in front of the judge and I can't discuss that."

Reporter

"Do you still expect the prime minister to support you given what transpired in court?"

Hon. Edmund Castro

"Did I say that matter is in front of the court? So if it's in front of the court."

Daniel Ortiz

"Political consequences."

Hon. Edmund Castro

"That matter is in front of the court, let the court for what they do. It wasn't them suing me, I sued them."

Daniel Ortiz

"Ought you not to have left good enough alone, politically speaking."

Hon. Edmund Castro

"My friend, I'm not here to try prejudge nothing, I took them to court."

Daniel Ortiz

"I'm talking about the political consequences."

Hon. Edmund Castro

"There is no political consequence. Let me tell you this, there is no political consequence you know."

Daniel Ortiz

"But she is alleging illegal activities sir. Must have some sort of consequence"

Hon. Edmund Castro

"We will go through convention, I will increase the margin on who ever come. We'll win the general election and I will defeat who ever else come. And if the want to come out in 2s and 3s, I will still win. I fight out here to represent my people. We are here doing a very good job to represent my people. I don't know what Emerson Burke, that crazy man is taking about."

Reporter

"But sir, that is like saying I was wrong but I shouldn't be criticised for it, it was in the past."

Hon. Edmund Castro

"So you were wrong to buy vegetables."

Reporter / Daniel Ortiz simultaneously

"We're talking about the court case sir."

Hon. Edmund Castro

"Man, I no done answer you and say that thats in front of the court? Why are you asking about court case. I am not talking about no court case."

Reporter

"But does it have political consequences?"

Hon. Edmund Castro

"My friend, you the talk about court case, then you go to the judge and find out. I no the talk about now court case.”

The case goes back to court on July 3, and when the closing arguments are completed, Justice Courtney Abel will decide if Castro was defamed or not.

Channel 7


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#505657 - 07/04/15 10:21 AM Re: Castro's Office Facilitated Visa Hustle [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Quite Unexpectedly, Castro Drops Lawsuit Against Ch 5 & Alvarine Burgess

In a recent Belize Rural North convention, UDP Minister of State Edmond Castro proved his popularity when supporters turn rout in record numbers to support him. But while he still enjoys popularity in the 27 villages between Bomba and Boom, in the wider society, his public image has taken a pounding over the last 18 months. And today, he can add one more humiliation to that meltdown: he threw in the towel on the libel case against Channel 5 and Alvarine Burgess - and, to boot, he has to pay their 30,000 dollars in legal bills.

Oral arguments in the case were supposed to start this morning, but before that could happen, Justice Abel called both parties into his chambers and essentially indicated that he does not consider the case presented by Castro to be strong and prevailed on him to withdraw, lest he face an adverse judgment. After due consultation, Williams presented the motion to discontinue the case. It's kind of like a technical knockout in boxing - where Castro didn't leave the ring on a stretcher, but his reputation is certainly battered and bruised.

That's because Alvarine Burgess who made the allegation of corruption against Castro, stuck to her guns when she testified in May, insisting that Castro had taken money to recommend unknown Asian nationals to come to Belize. Under cross examination, Castro was forced to admit that he had done everything except take money.

When Castro exited out of the court, he declined comment to awaiting reporters. Burgess, who no longer has to worry about there being legal consequences to her allegations, was a more forthcoming with the press. Here's what she had to say:

Alvarine Burgess, Defendant - Castro Lawsuit
"I am very disappointed by it. Because I feel that I was dragged to court and so I told the truth. Mr. Castro just backed out. I am very surprised and disappointed."

Reporter
"Mr. Castro told us that because he felt that he had done enough damaged to you as his friend. So he withdrew his case."

Alvarine Burgess
"He withdrew because they knew that Alvarine Burgess came and told the truth and they had a losing case."

But, as we told you, it was highly unusual for Castro to have decided at this moment that he wanted to discontinue the case. We tried to get him on it the last time around, and he declined then as well, but on another occasion, he granted a press encounter, a few days before his convention.

There was no indication then that he had intentions to stop this push to protect his reputation:

Daniel Ortiz
"Bad timing for you as a convention candidate."

Hon. Edmund Castro - Belize Rural North Area Rep
"My friend, I cannot discuss that case, that case is in front of the judge and I can't discuss that."

Reporter
"Do you still expect the prime minister to support you given what transpired in court?"

Hon. Edmund Castro
"Did I say that matter is in front of the court? So if it's in front of the court."

Daniel Ortiz
"Political consequences."

Hon. Edmund Castro
"That matter is in front of the court, let the court for what they do. It wasn't them suing me, I sued them."

Daniel Ortiz
"Ought you not to have left good enough alone, politically speaking."

Hon. Edmund Castro
"My friend, I'm not here to try prejudge nothing, I took them to court."

Daniel Ortiz
"I'm talking about the political consequences."

Hon. Edmund Castro
"There is no political consequence. Let me tell you this, there is no political consequence you know."

Daniel Ortiz
"But she is alleging illegal activities sir. Must have some sort of consequence"

Hon. Edmund Castro
"We will go through convention, I will increase the margin on who ever come. We'll win the general election and I will defeat who ever else come. And if the want to come out in 2s and 3s, I will still win. I fight out here to represent my people. We are here doing a very good job to represent my people. I don't know what Emerson Burke, that crazy man is taking about."

Reporter
"But sir, that is like saying I was wrong but I shouldn't be criticised for it, it was in the past."

Hon. Edmund Castro
"So you were wrong to buy vegetables."

Reporter / Daniel Ortiz simultaneously
"We're talking about the court case sir."

Hon. Edmund Castro
"Man, I no done answer you and say that thats in front of the court? Why are you asking about court case. I am not talking about no court case."

Reporter
"But does it have political consequences?"

Hon. Edmund Castro
"My friend, you the talk about court case, then you go to the judge and find out. I no the talk about now court case."

We understand from his attorney that he felt that he had done enough in the case to discredit Burgess to ensure that nobody believed her claims. Having sat in court ourselves, we've since heard Burgess' account first hand, and so that's a tough position to take. His attorney didn't believe so, however. He explained weeks ago that he had done enough to show that when intensely questioned on her stories, there was an accumulation of small inconsistences which add up to call her integrity into question:

Daniel Ortiz
"Would you reject the suggestion that no matter how hard you tried to pose Miss Burgess' story, you failed?"

Rodwell Williams, SC - Attorney for Edmond Castro
"Not really. I think were you to seek to count the inconsistences they do add up. They may appear to be little inconsistences. She sat on the defence. She doesn't want to jump over that side or this side of the fence. 'Fencing' as Mister Smith referred to. That's all she did, fenced and when the questions were too probing she simply didn't respond to them "I don't remember," "I don't remember," "I don't remember." "

Channel 5 issued a statement today saying quote, "it has been vindicated...because while public figures have a right to safeguard their reputations, they should expect to be subject to a greater degree of public scrutiny and criticism." The statement continues, "It is also a huge victory for whistleblowers who bravely expose wrongdoings by public officials.

Channel 7


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