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John Saldivar fired from cabinet, resigns as UDP Leader elect #540545
02/12/20 12:45 PM
02/12/20 12:45 PM
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Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
PM Barrow will issue a recorded statement, according to Attorney General Michael Peyerifitte, who came out of the cabinet meeting.






Re: John Saldivar fired from cabinet, resigns as UDP Leader elect [Re: Marty] #540546
02/12/20 07:26 PM
02/12/20 07:26 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 65,148
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Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP


Prime Minister Dean Barrow: John Saldivar resigns as UDP Leader elect and suspended indefinitely as Minister of National Security

Here is his statement

"Like all Belizeans, the Office of the Prime Minister has been closely following developments in the Salt Lake City trial of accused U.S. fraudster Lev Dermen. It has been some time now since documents related to the trial have surfaced with allegations that Belizean officials, including a Minister of Government, have been involved with Dermen in improper activities related to Belize.

The allegations contained assertions that Belizean officials were paid by Dermen and his associates in connection with Dermen's efforts to obtain Belizean nationality, and a Belizean diplomatic passport and Ambassadorial or Consular status.

The testimony given in the trial this Monday and Tuesday by one Jacob Kingston has proved, to say the least, explosive. Kingston incriminated Minister John Saldivar, in particular, and produced text messages in support of his evidence relating to the allegations he made against Minister Saldivar.

As Prime Minister I have earlier gone on record about this matter. This was after Ministers had 'sworn' to Cabinet that none of them had taken any money from Dermen and associates. I said in Cabinet at the time, and later at a press conference, that any Minister subsequently proven indeed to have taken money and therefore to have lied to Cabinet, would have to leave the Cabinet.

That time for leaving, in view of what happened Monday and Tuesday in Salt Lake City, Utah, has unfortunately come. I, therefore, today asked Minister Saldivar to submit to me his resignation as Leader Elect of the United Democratic Party. He has agreed to do so.

In addition to the resignation, I have decided to put the Minister on indefinite suspension from the Cabinet. This will do two things: It will give the Minister a chance to prove the innocence which he strongly maintains; it will also give time for the Government to obtain official transcripts from the trial and direct the Police to Launch and complete a thorough investigation into all the allegations made in the course of that Dermen trial.

The UDP will in due time choose a new Leader Elect for the Party. "

Re: John Saldivar fired from cabinet, resigns as UDP Leader elect [Re: Marty] #540548
02/13/20 05:31 AM
02/13/20 05:31 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 65,148
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

Jules on Set

So that's what he said he would do, but what will he really do, or what must he now do?

In studio with us tonight to analyze all that is our news director Jules Vasquez - who's been in Belmopan all day, circling the Cabinet meeting and trying to get the download on what's next for the Barrow administration and the UDP.

Jules, what's next?

Re: John Saldivar fired from cabinet, resigns as UDP Leader elect [Re: Marty] #540553
02/13/20 06:15 AM
02/13/20 06:15 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 65,148
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

Statement by Hon. John Saldivar

In a Special Cabinet meeting today I informed the Prime Minister and colleagues of my decision to resign as the Leader-elect of the United Democratic Party. I have come to this decision after careful consideration and consultation with colleagues. While I maintain my innocence of any wrongdoing, bribery, or corruption and the testimony in Utah has confirmed that their was no bribery, I feel that the negative attention being generated by this trial is overtaking my Party and can hurt our chances in the upcoming general elections. I have therefore stepped aside to allow a new leader to be chosen. I thank all those who supported me during the recently concluded Leadership Convention. It is unfortunate but life is real. Once my name is properly cleared I will resume the work that I love so dearly. I will continue to work with colleagues to ensure victory for our UDP later this year. I am also happy to continue to serving as Minister of National Security.

Related Stories on Channel 7

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Tonight, Belize's political landscape has been completely re-mapped: John Saldivar has stepped down as UDP Party Leader Elect - less than 72 hours after he was elected by a large margin in a lavish national convention. And, he has been suspended indefinitely from Cabinet. It is a stunning reversal of fortune and a precipitous fall from grace; two days ago he had reached the political pinnacle, sworn in as party leader, and said he would be in discussions to take over as Prime Minister after the budget presentation in March. But, tonight, Saldivar is on the political equivalent of life support after a meeting in the Cabinet room where Prime Minister Dean Barrow used the full weight of his office to force him to step down.

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And an hour later we learned what that tightly guarded decision was. The Prime Minister issued a statement which laid out the penalties for Saldivar, who he concluded had misled him and the Cabinet. The PM referred to Jacob Kingston's testimony in a Utah Federal Courthouse. As we told you testified on Monday that he saw John Saldivar receive packs of cash valuing $10,000 dollars each from Lev Dermen at a Turkish businessman's residence in Belize. And yesterday, he also testified that in 2014 he sat in a meeting with Saldivar and Lev Dermen who promised to pay for John Saldivar's re-election campaign in cash disbursements. Kingston also discussed text messages he exchanged with Saldivar a 50 thousand US dollar donation in cash which was to be picked up in Miami.

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In a statement published on his Facebook page this afternoon, Saldivar says, quote: "I informed the Prime Minister and colleagues of my decision to resign as the Leader-elect of the United Democratic Party. I have come to this decision after careful consideration and consultation with colleagues. While I maintain my innocence of any wrongdoing, bribery, or corruption and the testimony in Utah has confirmed that their was no bribery, I feel that the negative attention being generated by this trial is overtaking my Party and can hurt our chances in the upcoming general elections. I have therefore stepped aside to allow a new leader to be chosen. I thank all those who supported me during the recently concluded Leadership Convention..."

Patt Cautious On Leadership
So, thanks for that insight Jules. The days ahead are sure to be interesting. And much of the talk will focus on Hugo Patt, the humble and soft spoken representative from Corozal North. Right now, he's looking like the man who would be the UDP's next leader - and, yesterday at his swearing in as Deputy Prime Minister, having a sense of how things were heading, Jules Vasquez asked him if he's ready to lead. We wouldn't say he was chomping at the bit: Jules Vasquez: "Is it unforeseeable that you may have to for whatever period assume the leadership of the UDP."

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Before our commercial break, we gave you a blow-by-blow account of the current crisis that Barrow Government and the UDP face, following this week's big reveals in the Lev Dermen Trial in Utah. Jacob Kingston has testified under oath that he sent $50,000 US dollars in cash to John Saldivar in Miami, back in early 2014. The context of this evidence is that the prosecution in that US court is attempting to show that Lev Dermen had an "umbrella" of powerful people in Belize, the US, and Turkey, who would protect him from the scrutiny of law enforcement.

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So, while the PUP stands to gain some political mileage out of the Lev Dermen scandal, observers have not missed the fact that they could take some blows because of it. As we told you, Ralph Fonseca's name has also been called, as one of Dermen's business associates, while he was in Belize. As we told you, Kingston has testified that back in 2013, he and Dermen were looking at properties for a casino, which was to be named Lion's Casino. According to the evidence, Dermen and another Turkish businessman were in talks with Ralph Fonseca, known him as the minister of finance. They settled on a property and instructed Kingston to buy it. Kingston said that on June 24, 2013, he wired 1.5 million Belize dollars to Fonseca to purchase the property. Kingston said, quote, "He was the minister I was working with," he said. "He got the license for the casino business."

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Re: John Saldivar fired from cabinet, resigns as UDP Leader elect [Re: Marty] #540600
02/14/20 05:13 AM
02/14/20 05:13 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 65,148
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
Text Messages Big Reveal! Saldivar Asked Kingston For 50K USD

Today in Utah, Jacob Kingston's testimony finished his testimony after the defence retired. And, tonight, Jill Parrish, Judge for the US District Court for Utah has released the transcripts of text messages exchanges between John Saldivar and Jacob Kingston. And we know it is John Saldivar because the cell phone number in the text messages is the number we have for him form many years, up to the present day.

We will present everything that was entered into evidence. It begins at 3:10 pm on February second, 2011, Saldivar opens saying "Hey Jacob".

He asks, "How are things?" And identifies himself, saying (it's) "John Saldivar, brother". Saldivar then tells Kingston he is quote, "Nervous" because he has, quote, "some commitments for this week and am not hearing from Levon."

Saldivar adds, quote, "Four of my candidates have been successful in conventions already….It's looking real good so far but am out of cash" end quote.

He then says, quote, "Really need the February tranche." Kingston asks, "Can I wire?" Saldivar says, "Hmmm. Not sure that's a good idea."

Kingston asks, "Tell me how." Saldivar replies, "I could probably fly to Miami tomorrow."

Kingston replies, "I'll send some money to Miami. I'll let you know the contact person to meet. It I'll be there Friday."

He asks Saldivar, "Tell me how much to send."

And Saldivar replies, "Usual is 25k but perhaps it's best to deal with March at the same time." End quote.

So, Saldivar is here asking for 50 thousand US dollars, and then Kingston doesn't reply for about 40 minutes.

So, Saldivar then texts back, saying, "You there?…Awaiting your confirmation." Kingston replies "Confirmed…I'll talk to Levon."

Saldivar then states, quote, "Ok. I will head to Miami Thursday."

Two days later, on February 13, 2014, Kingston gives him the name and number for a contact in Miami. Saldivar says, "Ok buddy"

Kingston then follows up on February 16th, asking Saldivar, quote, "You get what you needed?"

Saldivar replies, "Yes buddy. Nuff thanks."

Channel 5

Re: John Saldivar fired from cabinet, resigns as UDP Leader elect [Re: Marty] #540615
02/15/20 05:18 AM
02/15/20 05:18 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 65,148
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

.
Marty  Offline OP
Statement by Hon. John Saldivar

Yesterday I tendered my resignation from Cabinet. The actual text messages of conversations purportedly between Jacob Kingston and myself have now been published in the local media. I categorically state that those messages do not appear to accurately reflect my recollection of any conversation with Jacob Kingston. Mr. Kingston's credibility as a witness is highly questionable and expert scrutiny of the text messages reveal serious discrepancies that creates high suspicion of being deliberately manufactured. Be that as it may, I feel it is time to tell my story.

I have always maintained that I was never, ever bribed by Lev Derman, I was never a part of any discussion to move any money from the United States to Belize, and I never involved myself in any act of corruption or wrongdoing. This is what I have said repeatedly in all my public releases. I was always careful not to say that I did not receive any cash because I knew that I did receive campaign contributions from Lev Derma just like many other politicians on both sides of the aisle who knew Lev Derman. These contributions were not tied to any favor or quid pro quo, hence were not illegal or improper. Jacob Kingston himself has testified in one instance of campaign contributions, and in another instance was unable to say the reason for the monies. At no time in his testimony has Kingston referred to bribery in connection with any monies he claims to have given to me or to have seen given to me. The media and others are ignoring this fact.

The question would then be why did I not say this from the outset?

Well, I was in the middle of a heated battle for the leadership of my Party and if I had disclosed this information I would have been removed from Cabinet and I would have had to withdraw from the race. Patrick Faber would have been declared the winner and that would have left all of my colleagues demoralized and exposed.

My failure to disclose was a mistake and I deeply regret it. I should have opted to make full disclosure to Cabinet and to the public from the outset. This mistake was unnecessary and avoidable since there was nothing wrong or illegal about receiving campaign funds. Today, I apologize to Cabinet and to the general public for this poor judgment, however, I repeat that I have not been the beneficiary of any bribe nor the participant in any corrupt deal and there has been no testimony to the contrary.

I have already resigned from Cabinet to stave off the mounting pressures on my government and Party. In the ensuing days I will be consulting with my constituents and my colleagues to determine the way forward in my political career. I still have the desire to continue to serve my people as I have done nothing wrong in receiving monies to service my constituency.

This whole episode has caused me to reflect on the real jeopardy that looms over the head of politicians who pursue their work with zeal and gusto. The demands of our constituencies are great and resources very scarce. We politicians spend most of our waking hours soliciting money to fulfill the needs of our constituency. We knock on every door possible and we talk to every potential donor. We meet all sorts of people the background of whom we know very little about and there is no mechanism beside a quick Google search to do a background check. So when we meet people who are willing to help and a cursory check turns up nothing negative, then we gladly accept their contributions. In my case in Belmopan the investment in my community is visible especially in sports where among our various sports programs we assist almost five hundred youths to be active in the various disciplines. On a daily basis I assist many individuals and families with cash for various purposes from health to education to water bill, light bill and the likes. This money has to come from somewhere and it's not coming from government whose budget for sports and community assistance is very limited. The money to help our constituents come from business people who have the compassion and desire to help. If politicians are going to be held criminally liable when they accept financial contributions from persons who later on turn out to be criminals, then all of us politicians are in jeopardy of one day being considered a criminal for having taken an innocent contribution. There are some politicians even in my Party who are pretending sanctimoniously that they don't do the same.

I repeat that I maintain my innocence of any wrongdoing and I hope I can repair the damage done by my not being forthcoming from the beginning with my Cabinet colleagues and the public about campaign contributions from Lev Dermen.


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