It's official, John Saldivar can no longer run for the United Democratic Party as a candidate for the Belmopan constituency. That's the decision taken against the embattled politician today, after being designated, along with his entire family, several weeks ago by the United States government. In the absence of any hard evidence against the former Minister of National Security, a special committee ruled that in the face of all the allegations that have befallen Saldivar, it is best for him to stand down from electoral politics. But, he is not going down without a fight and part of natural justice and due process include a right to appeal such decision. We will get to Saldivar's response elsewhere in our coverage of this latest development, but first we go to Party Leader Shyne Barrow who spoke with the media this afternoon from the U.D.P. headquarters.

Shyne Barrow, Party Leader, U.D.P.

"I am pleased that the special committee has made a decision that indicates clearly to the nation and to the world that the United Democratic Party has a zero tolerance for endemic corruption, has a zero tolerance for any of our members that will engage repeatedly in personal misconducts or acts that even bring the scrutiny and the allegations of corruption. And this is what the special committee has said with its decision today for everyone to appreciate and to understand that the U.D.P., this era of the U.D.P., has a zero tolerance for corruption and we are moving forward doing our best to regain the trust and the confidence of the Belizean people. I have said it repeatedly, I, in my conversations with the media, never said that this was black and white and that it was a matter of well if they have the evidence we will make a decision; if they don't, well as some may have speculated that this was a kangaroo court and that we were just going through the motions because there is no sufficient legal or technical evidence. There is a mountain circumstantial evidence of allegations of significant corruption, all the way back to when Prime Minister Barrow moved Mr. Saldivar, according to Mr. Saldivar, himself, from the Ministry of Immigration where his sister remained the C.E.O. of Immigration and corruption continued in immigration."

"The wording, the exact language is being written as we speak, but the decision is that we feel that it is in the best interest, the special committee, I agree categorically, unconditionally with the special committee that Mr. Saldivar should not run as a candidate and should withdraw from politics at this time. I have reached out to Mr. Saldivar, myself, and expressed my position on the matter before the deliberations of the special committee. I do not want to prejudice the special committee and so I went but so far and I try to be balanced, stating the obvious but allowing for due process and I did not want to preempt what the result should be. But now that the special committee who are comprised of senior members of the party, some sympathetic to him, some really didn't know which way they would go, I had no interaction them on the matter with the exception of the party chairman who I have to talk to him every day, not that I don't enjoy speaking to him. But I was not trying to encourage anyone either way, other than what I have said to the press, stating the obvious.

John Saldivar Responds to Special Committee's Decision

This afternoon, Saldivar issued a statement indicating that he does intend to challenge the decision of the U.D.P.'s special committee. The release reads, "I have been informed of the decision of the Special Committee of the U.D.P. to refer the matter of my continued candidacy for the Belmopan Constituency to the National Party Council after a narrow vote against my candidacy. The final decision lies with the N.P.C. and I therefore await the decision of that august body".

Channel 5