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Mar 9, 2017

Introducing “Mr. Middleton”

Barton Middleton

Is this man the shadowy “Mister Middleton” to whom all focus has turned in the ongoing Senate public inquiry? Middleton, we are told, is a car salesman based in Orange Walk Town, but it is his activities in Immigration that have landed him in the news. On Wednesday, News Five brought you the various testimonies of Eric Chang, Patrick Tillett and Lindsay Wade, all of whom said they knew of him and in the case of Tillett and Wade, dealt with him only over the phone.  But Chang says he never met him personally, and Tillett and Wade could not recall basic details about him, his business or even his first name.  In other media, Middleton himself has denied any knowledge of stolen visas. This is despite being named as the ‘agent’ Tillett worked with in the case of six visa applications that ended up going nowhere after the stolen visa foils were found to be improperly affixed to the relevant Chinese passports. We repeat portions of each man’s testimony on Wednesday.

 

Eric Chang

Eric Chang, Former Deputy Mayor, Belize City [File: March 8th, 2017]

“Let’s start with Mr. Middleton – I don’t know who is Mr. Middleton. At no time in my life [have I] ever meet with this Mr. Middleton, so I don’t know where this report says me and Mr. Middleton took the visa to me – I don’t know who is Mr. Middleton, and I never, ever did meet Mr. Middleton in my life. Secondly, it says that me and Mr. Tillett wrote a statement to confirm the transaction; I don’t know what statement and what transaction he is talking about. Because as far as I am concerned, I remember, just because I was working at City Council, and I was with Patrick for whatever reason, I don’t remember – Mr. Tillett, that day, and I wasn’t even aware of…”

 

Aldo Salazar, Chair, Senate Special Select Committee

“What day are you talking about? The day of the meeting at the Calypso?”

 

Eric Chang

“Yes, correct. I was with Mr. Tillett that day; I don’t even know who Mr. Tillett  was going to meet.”

 

Patrick Tillett

Patrick Tillett, Financial Controller, Belize City Council [File: March 8th, 2017]

“I gave Mr. Middleton six visa applications for him to handle the filing and the processing at the Department of Immigration; as far as I know, Immigration does not sell visas – you don’t walk in with two thousand dollars and say I want a visa. As far as I know, you make an application, your application is analyzed and determined, and when you have said yes to that application, you pay your two thousand dollars and get a visa application. That was what I paid for on behalf of my clients.”

 

Dr. Carla Barnett, U.D.P. Senator

“You’ve kind of gone ahead of me, Mr. Tillett; I want to know who Mr. Middleton is.”

 

Patrick Tillett

“That’s all I can say; he was introduced to me.”

 

Aldo Salazar, Chair, Senate Special Select Committee

“Who introduced him to you?”

 

Patrick Tillett

“Mr. William Stuart.”

 

Dr. Carla Barnett

“Mr. Middleton has an office?”

 

Patrick Tillett

“He was introduced to me; I didn’t meet him at his office.”

 

Dr. Carla Barnett

“Okay, I just kind of find it difficult that you would hand over people’s passports and applications to somebody who you didn’t know his first name?”

 

Patrick Tillett

“I knew his first name at the time because he was introduced to me; but now I said, I don’t remember his first name. I knew his first name at the time.”

 

Dr. Carla Barnett

“Do you know where his office is? Does he have an office or does he work out of the back of his car?”

 

Patrick Tillett

“Freelance people may work from home.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“So you don’t know if he has an office?”

 

Patrick Tillett

“I don’t know. I don’t know.”

 

Dr. Carla Barnett

“So you don’t know, you don’t have his name, you have a telephone number for him?”

 

Patrick Tillett

“Four years later? No, I don’t have a phone number; I’ve changed ten phones between now and then.”

 

Lindsay Wade

Lindsay Wade, Former Immigration Officer at Western Border [File: March 8th, 2017]

 

“Mr. Middleton don’t know me; if you bring him here today, he can’t identify me, and I don’t know him either. When the allegations broke probably a month after December, I made it my business to know who is Mr. Middleton, and he told me on the phone that he didn’t mention my name to Mr. Tench, so I don’t know why I am here today. I guess you need to bring Mr. Middleton here.”

 

Aldo Salazar, Chair, Senate Special Select Committee

“Well, maybe you can help us; do you know his first name?”

 

Lindsay Wade

“No, sir; I don’t even know his first name; I don’t even know how he looks.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“So how you got his number?”

 

Lindsay Wade

“I had somebody find him for me; somebody from Corozal. Because, well, if you had allegations broke about you, you would like to know who said it, right? And the person told me that there was this guy, Mr. Middleton, who said that I gave him some visas for sale, so I made it my business to find out who is Mr. Middleton.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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