Politics is a dirty business, but we live in a small society – and usually politicians try not to mash each other's personal corns when they're outside of the House of Representatives. But the UDP's Port Loyola Representative Boos Martinez says the PUP Leader crossed that line last night when he said this:

Hon. John Briceno, PUP Party Leader
"A daughter I don't know that she has been working for a year. So, if it's the name of a daughter, where did she get the money? Has the FIU done an investigation? Maybe the FIU needs to investigate where his daughter got the money to build that mansion if that is the case."

So today, Anthony Boots Martinez called his own press conference to defend his daughter, who he says Briceno has baselessly maligned.  But Boots didn't just defend; he went on the offensive to blast Briceno's family – extending even to the PUP leader's deceased father – Eligio Joe Briceno, who Martinez eulogized just a few months ago. Today, all the niceties were put aside and it was about getting out the hurt, and putting a hurting on Briceno:..

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Port Loyola Area Rep
"To start with, I didn't raise an issue against Mr. Briceno and his family. He raised it on me so I need to respond. So then I must place the record straight and attacking and insinuate that FIU need to investigate my daughter. How you reach deh? How you reach deh? How you reach deh? How you reach deh?."

"I gave that building to my daughter as a gift, that is a private transaction, that is not a building that I have gotten from government. Then for you to be saying "my daughter where she got the money from to build the building?" Nobody said that. I said that my daughter is the owner."

"Then you are going to tell me that you don't have eyes to see? As your neighbour, you have been running that gas station for years. As your neighbour, you don't have eyes to see that that building exists from a long time ago?"

"Here are the documents that say, that this was a mortgage between me and the bank of Nova Scotia, so I find it very disturbing to have, and also too to have the question the character of my daughter for something that was gifted to her. What they need to question what was gifted to them and how it was gifted, because their father, his father and his family have a track record of doing illegal thing."

"I don't know if the FIU has the tentacles to reach back from 1985 and beyond to see what was inherited through illicit activity. When his father was both minister of government and after he was minister of government. Apart from that like I said they have a lot of things that they have in their closet. For example he set up the Speednet deal at the time, unbeknown to the Prime Minister of the country at the time, Mr. Musa. Mr Musa didn't know that such arrangement existed. Only because I am form Southside I must not own nothing? No man."

So when you fass with me boss you are live lumber, I am dead lumber, I am going out. You want to attend the big dance, you need to conscious that your pants have a big split sir and the light is dancing over and the light the come on. So everybody will see how your pants tear big."

"I think also too, the charge also too his comment I find it racially offensive. Why? I am a black man. I am from Southside. I name Martinez but I might have the wrong pigment. Only Briceno's and the Martinez's and the Huang and the Chuang's and soh should be owning people? I am an entrepreneur, I am a professional and I work, and I work for money I noh work for stone."

And while he doesn't work for stones, his critics say Martinez does have a glass house situation going with a department in his own ministry renting office space in his daughter's building.  It's the Women's Department, not the Department of Social Services as we had first reported.  They've moved from Albert Street while a new building is being constructed – and they moved into the Martinez building that the corner of the Western Highway and Central American Boulevard.  Today Martinez said that they rented it as a last resort:..

Reporter
"Sir can you say whether or not other buildings were looked for before."

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Port Loyola Area Rep
"Enough, that is what I'm saying to you, enough! That was the final stop because I was a little reluctant align with my daughter to even end up in this situation."

Reporter
"Sir but you do understand why it raised eyebrows because a department of your ministry is being housed in your daughter's building. You understand why it raised eyebrows?" 

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Port Loyola Area Rep
It is what it is sir. I understand why it raise brow you know. If you look on the building of Women's Department right in front of Channel 7, you see where the building is unfit for people to work. But I think that we settled for what would be a temporary rental base on the fact that my daughter wants the building to do her own business."

He says the temporary rental should last for a little more than a year, but declined discussing how much rent was being paid. But, all this talk of Martinez's buildings forced us to ask about those bright yellow buildings which are known to be the property of Boots Martinez.  It's his trademark yellow, but he says he has no shame in his game, because they're legitimately acquired:..

Jules Vasquez
"Mr. Briceno's family company Speednet got a prized telecommunication providers license whilst he was the deputy prime minister. You have amassed a number of real estate holdings while you are a minister."

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Port Loyola Area Rep
"When you say a number sir, clarify for me sir."

Jules Vasquez
"Mr. Boots we know about the yellow building they."

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Port Loyola Area Rep
"Which yellow building they, every yellow building da for me sir? Ask me a question, how many buildings have I amassed since I become a minister of government you must ask the question and not speculate. You were making a statement about the amount of yellow building, no all yellow building inna this country da fi me sir. I da wish that every time you see a yellow building you could have give it for me for true. What you must da how much buildings I have amassed since becoming a minister then that will tell the story."

Jules Vasquez
"Okay how many buildings have you amassed since becoming a minister?"

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Port Loyola Area Rep
"One sir."

Jules Vasquez
"Okay so let's go through it because you have 4 other yellow right ya."

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Port Loyola Area Rep
"Let's put it this way, me have 4 others."

Jules Vasquez
"5; 4 others which are linked to you."

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Port Loyola Area Rep
"How it wa link to me, I the tell you yo di ask me so we no have speculation and so I the say to you; Charo building and right here."

Jules Vasquez
"Now you can see how there might be some question. You say you have your salary deduction, legit."

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Port Loyola Area Rep
"Yes."

Jules Vasquez
"Mr. Briceno with whom you don't compare because he's a multi-millionaire many times over but Mr. Briceno have a store front; he have his business, the turn over. His business you can see the gas station every day the make cash, the cable company can't do that. So I'm saying you don't have a story."

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez - Port Loyola Area Rep
"So because I no have a store front I no have no have brains inna my head. I was an entrepreneur before, even up to now. Make I tell you part of my side business, I manage property for people."

"What is interesting that you a see all that need to seen when the integrity commission comes into play. So I don't have a problem, I no have no shame inna my game. So a part from that I da wa business man and because I am a black man that black shouldn't have brains, black man shouldn't be able to make money only Briceno and store front people and so."

And while Martinez gave us juicy news with all those sound bites, one journalist wanted a bit more after the 48 minute oppress conference, and he secretly snapped a picture of Martinez's cash dongle he keeps in his sock.  For those who've been around politics it's fairly well known that he does this, but Martinez complained to us today saying that whichever media practitioner took the picture did him a low because the circulation of the photo on Facebook now exposes him to personal risk…

Channel 7


Minister “Boots” Martinez Hits Back at John Briceño

On Tuesday, Leader of the People’s United Party John Briceño lashed out at fellow parliamentarian and Minister of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, Anthony “Boots” Martinez, over allegations that he and his daughter, newly-minted attorney Stacey Martinez, transacted with the Women’s Department, a division of Martinez’s own Ministry, to rent office space. The Belize City office of the Lands Department is also housed in that building. For many years, Martinez has been called out for owning lots of property around the Old Capital and being unable to explain the source of his wealth beyond politics. The veteran politician has had enough of the insinuations and today he fired back. Aaron Humes has the highlights.

Anthony “Boots” Martinez, Minister of Human Development

“I said to no one that my daughter built the building in question on Cemetery Road and George Price Highway; I said she is the owner. I, In 2013, I inherited that building through a mortgage, at an auction, from the Scotia Bank. On my daughter’s return – it was a building that existed there before; da no noh new building, we do some renovation and so on it, and add parts to it and so I gave that building to my daughter as a gift. That is a private transaction; that dah noh wah building that I have gotten from Government; or that I have bought from Government; that is a private transaction.”

Aaron Humes, Reporting

Very little concerning the Government remains private, as Minister Anthony “Boots” Martinez has found out to his discomfiture. And while he and his daughter, newly-minted attorney Stacey Martinez, appear to have agreed privately on the deal – none of the documents he presented to the press this morning show any change of land title or other switch to her name from his – the decision to have the Women’s Department and other Government departments rent office space there was not a Minister-to-Minister initiative.

Anthony “Boots” Martinez

“That transaction was negotiated by the Ministry of the Public Service. I was kinda lee reluctant, you know, but it is what it is. The Ministry – also there was choices, you had Audit that wanted the building; you have other Government Ministries. You move around the City, and see if you can find choice buildings, with the kind of location that exist there. I was just fortunate to have owned that building through that auction there, the correct location, and so be it! And da noh like a thing where there [isn’t] value for money, and the Ministry of the Public Service was the Ministry who oversee the process; I noh have no difficulty with that. I di wait for the temporary, that because my daughter want(s) to set up to start her law firm there.”

Leader of the Opposition John Briceño had openly questioned the father and daughter’s personal finances when asked about the deal during a Tuesday press briefing, and called for the Financial Intelligence Unit to investigate. That kind of probing, Martinez told us today, crossed a line, and feeds into what he believes are ugly ethnic stereotypes.

Anthony “Boots” Martinez

“As a Minister of Government, and especially as a Minister of Government since 2010, I have been dealing with everything ethical and legal in terms of being in Government. So for you to be hauling my daughter’s name into things, you have to question your own. I think also too, the charge – also too, his comment – I find it racially offensive. Why? I am a black man; I am from Southside. Ah name Martinez, but I might have the wrong pigment. Only the Briceños, and the Martinezes and the Wangs and the Huangs and so should be owning people? I am an entrepreneur, I am a professional, and I work; and I work for money; I noh work fi stone. When people want new vehicle and so, I have my own motion and my own things that I want. Everything that I own, I can account for, especially the property that have buildings that I own.”

If wealth is measured in real estate, then how rich is Minister Martinez?  He says he manages properties for other persons as a sideline to his Ministerial work. But by his count, the Charro’s building is the only one he has personally acquired since becoming a Minister. He quashed rumors concerning the building on Euphrates Avenue which houses Police Precinct One, among others.

Reporter

“How many properties have you amassed since becoming Minister?”

Anthony “Boots” Martinez:

“One, sir.”

Reporter

“One?”

Anthony “Boots” Martinez:

“One, sir. One.”

Reporter

“Okay, let’s go through it. The one on Euphrates…”

Anthony “Boots” Martinez:

“I have that. Boots Crescent…”

Reporter

“Precinct One is renting it. On Euphrates, mek wi start with that.”

Anthony “Boots” Martinez:

“I have that from before I become a Minister, sir. I used to live there!”

Reporter

“Right. And you got that when P.U.P. was in Government?”

Anthony “Boots” Martinez:

“Yes, but that was before I became a Minister, sir. That was – Mek a tell you something – again, I could bring the documents for that, and that was bought at an auction for eighty-eight thousand, seven hundred [dollars], sir. From D.F.C. So, we put that to rest. I have Boots Crescent; I have that from 1984; and that in itself was a mortgage from Belize Bank. Wi di talk bout what ah amass since ah become Minister sir, so ah di tell you that as far as building, only Charro building belongs to me, sir.”

Aaron Humes reporting, for News Five.

Martinez says that contrary to popular belief, he is not associated with all the yellow-painted buildings in the City. As for what has forced the Women’s Department out of their established home on Albert Street, Minister Martinez told us that the Caribbean Development Bank will fund a replacement for the dilapidated and rodent-infested building. He estimates that the “temporary” rental at Charro’s will last for about eight months to a year. The Department of Human Services, meanwhile, is not affected; that department remains downtown on Regent Street next to Benny’s.

“Boots” Throws in the Towel; Leaving Politics After Current Term

Anthony “Boots” Martinez

A political career started in the 1990s has reached its endpoint. According to Minister of Human Development and four-term area representative for Port Loyola, Anthony “Boots” Martinez, he is stepping down from political office at the end of his current term. Martinez has enjoyed successively smaller margins of victory at the polls as latest rival Gilroy Usher Senior, has gained ground on him. But Usher Senior is the least of his concern – at fifty-three years of age, and more than twenty years into his political life, Martinez says he now wants to spend more time with his family, although he still intends to keep in touch with his political contacts.

Anthony “Boots” Martinez, Area Representative, Port Loyola

“I am retiring from running as a candidate; I have had enough. I have had enough in terms of I need to live wah part of my life too. I am getting up there in age and politics, doing it the right way, takes a lot of time. I had days when my children, most of the times only see me pan weekend and we live ina di same house. When I go to work in the morning, they are sleeping. When I come home from work, dehn di sleep.”

Channel 5