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Nov 16, 2016

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

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.

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2 Responses for “Minister “Boots” Martinez Hits Back at John Briceño”

  1. TheTruthShallSetYouFree says:

    Leave office immediately brok up teeth! no body wah miss u cause all u know fi do dah give weh sand ah bs. south side need wah new face like yesterday, tired ah these tiad azz wanna be minister. you nuh even got wah bizness degree, the fishes inna di sea di call u mista unqualified cause all u qualify fah dah wah fisherman job.

  2. TheTruthShallSetYouFree says:

    Wah boost yuh azz weh, far weh weh di sun nuh shine, tiad ah these unqualified yoky dory wanna be minister. The honorable thing for this man to do is leave office immediately, and also immediately terminate the lease he has with GOB on that building. BOOTSY POO need to find another way to pay the mortgage on that building, or just give it back to the bank if he cannot afford it.

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