"Oh What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceiveâ€¦." -
it's a line from a poem more than 200 years old - but it's still true -
and the currency of it has been brought into sharp relief with the
recent tale of former Deputy Prime Minister Hugo Patt's one-time
The Tacoma went from government ownership into private hands in a
convoluted deal with so many actors that it could have been a movie
Jules Vasquez has been digging to get to the bottom of it:
This is the Toyota Tacoma described in this Bill of Sale from Emil Torres
Auto Company Limited.
And sold to the Government of Belize for $89,000 dollars. The Ministry of
Natural Resources registered it that day
But 9 months later, with elections approaching, on October 27th, the
manager of the Vehicle Care Unit Ruperto Vicente wrote to the Prime
Minister telling him the vehicle was quote "unserviceable" and quote
"beyond economical repairs" and suggesting a sale price of $65,000. But
that either did not reach or register with the Financial Secretary.
5 days later on Monday November second at 9:05 AM, Fin. Sec. Joe Waight
wrote to the Prime Minister apprising him of the situation.
He writes, quote, "you had earlier indicated to me that you were inclined
to grant the request from honourable Hugo Pattâ€¦ Subject to your approval I
would therefore make the offer to him at the valuation price of 87,210,
which is high, as the vehicle was only purchased in late January of this
6 hours later, Waight writes to Vicente, "I have not yet heard back from
the PM, but I think we can begin to draft the letter of offer to Minister
Parr at $87,210.00."
And then apparently the PM did call, and two hours later, Waight wrote to
Vicente saying, quote, "the PM called to say that we can proceed to make
the offer for sale to Honorable Hugo Patt." That was at 5:40, after
government offices were closed.
Two days later on November fourth, Vicente wrote not to Patt, but to a new
player, contractor Juvencio Herrera saying that the Minister of Finance has
approved the sale, not for $87,200 dollars, but for $65,000.
So how did Herrera get the deal that was approved for the Deputy Prime
Minister Patt at great pain from the PM?
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow - Former Prime Minister
"I spoke to the DPM and I told him, but you know the policy, anyway
(sighs). I thought that as a special favour, I would agree."
Patt casually handed that special favour over to Herrera, who he says is
just a friend, and that he no longer wanted the truck because he had family
And while Herrera got someone else's deal, he also acquired the truck with
someone else's money.
The payment came to the government two days later on November 6th from two
companies, Emil Torres Auto Company Limited with 50 thousand dollars, and
another company transferred 15 thousand dollars - both within 90 minutes of
Torres says his company transferred the money - on behalf of a third party.
And he thought it was for land:
Emil Torres - Emil Torres Auto Co Ltd
"An individual that I know - I borrowed some money from. I had money back
for him. I called him and I told him the money came in - wire transfer. He
ask me to do a payment to government of Belize. Unknowing to me, not in my
wildest dreams. 1, I thought it would have been for a vehicle, moreover a
vehicle that I sold to the government, moreover a vehicle that is in
scandal right now."
"So, what did you think you were transferring the money for, because you
owed this third party, but the third party tells you pay the government of
Belize for - fill in the blanks."
"He said simply do a transfer for me to the government of Belize. What I
Emil Torres was under the impression that it was for land or something to
So, another man's money, and another man's deal, but Juvencio's truck, but
only for two months, until he flipped it in January of 2021 to car dealer
Said Perdomo in Belmopan for an unknown sum.
And that's how the Tacoma ended up here - for sale on a car dealer's
parking lot in Belize City where it allegedly fetched a sale price of
Reliable reports tell us that car dealer Said Perdomo has been called
to testify. He bought the Tacoma from Juvencio Herrera.