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Apr 12, 2017

Alvarine Burgess Vs John Saldivar over Detention Following Football

John Saldivar

Alvarine Burgess first came to national attention on this station as the “whistleblower” that exposed Minister Edmond Castro’s involvement in visa recommendations for Chinese nationals.  She won a defamation case in the Supreme Court after the Minister withdrew the claim following extensive testimony that vindicated her position.  She has since resumed a quiet life, but her passion for football has once again brought her face-to-face with the political directorate, following her overnight jailing in Belmopan this past weekend.  She had been cheering on her son, a player for the Punta Gorda Freedom Fighters semi-pro football team in the Premier League of Belize, as they were playing the Belmopan Bandits in Belmopan on Saturday evening. Apparently, her cheering got on the nerves of some Belmopan supporters and police intervened to escort her out of the stadium after a verbal confrontation with one female fan. Instead, she was taken to the police station under reported orders of no less than Bandits’ owner and Belmopan area representative, Minister John Saldivar. She was later released without charge the following day. Now, she wants the answers she didn’t get on Sunday. Burgess spoke to News Five via telephone earlier today.

 

On the Phone: Alvarine Burgess, Accuses Police of Unlawful Detention

“When I got there an officer, I don’t know his name, told my sister in front of me, ‘Your sister isn’t going to going home tonight, because John [Saldivar] already called here and told us to detain her for the night. John is the owner of Belmopan Bandits team, he and Mr. [William] Mason, so everybody knows who John is. At ten o’ clock Sunday morning, the phone in the police station rang, because I was sitting adjacent [to] the desk, behind another desk, behind a chair, and I heard when the police officer said, ‘Yes, she’s right here,’ and looked at me. He was on the phone. After a while when he hung up the phone and I don’t know who called him, what they said to him, he said, ‘Ms. Burgess, you are free to leave.’ Up to now I still haven’t been told what, why, how I was detained.”

 

Burgess says she and Saldivar went to school together and know each other well enough, so all she can think is that there is some political mischief behind her detention. She says the woman who approached her has never had conversation with her before although they have seen each other around at football games. She has retained legal counsel, reportedly Kareem Musa, and is pursuing an apology and compensation for her time behind bars. If she gets neither within thirty days, then further action will be taken.

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