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Apr 26, 2017

Barton Middleton Invokes Constitution as Senators Scorn Him

Barton Middleton

The Senate Special Select Committee resumed hearings in public today into the Auditor General’s report, calling three witnesses. One of the witnesses called today was Barton Middleton, the elusive Orange Walk businessman who previously caught a severe case of amnesia over his alleged role in facilitating visas for Chinese nationals, following a purported surgery for a brain tumor at the Corozal Community Hospital.  Appearing in March, Middleton flatly denied any role and said he did not have to respond to what others said about him, even those who considered him a friend.  Then, he tried to claim that he was in fear of his life just because of being called to testify. Given a second chance this afternoon, he followed the old maxim that discretion is the better part of valour and flat-out refused to answer whether he would like to change anything from his original testimony. News Five has learnt that Middleton is to be investigated by the Director of Public Prosecutions over possible perjury in his previous testimony to the Senate Committee. Before leaving the chamber, Barton received a polite tongue-lashing for essentially wasting the panel’s – and the public’s – time.

 

Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator

“I had an opportunity to review the transcript of your evidence before the Senate Select Committee, and I have to tell you that I found ninety-nine percent of it to be incredible. Is there anything that you might have said on the last occasion that you wish to change?”

 

Barton Middleton, Businessman

“What I have to say is that today I will exercise my constitutional rights and I don’t have anything else to say to this Committee.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Mr. Middleton, when you say you exercise your Constitutional right and have nothing else to say, why is that?”

 

Barton Middleton

“I don’t have to explain, sir; I don’t have anything else to say. That’s my Constitutional rights; I don’t have to give a reason. I don’t have anything else to say.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Well, I was about to thank you, but I won’t.”

 

Aldo Salazar

Aldo Salazar, Chair, Senate Special Select Committee

“You are within your right, based on the provision of the Constitution, to refuse to say anything, especially in a situation where what you may say may incriminate you; but based on your last performance here before us, we find it necessary to make it very clear to everybody, to the persons especially who have been before us and to you, without having to cast any aspersions which those persons and yourself may have already cast on yourselves, we need to make it clear that these proceedings are to be taken very seriously. This is the Upper House of our National Assembly; we are a pillar of our democracy, and we expect that persons should carry themselves in accordance with that in mind that we require proper decorum and we require the truth.”

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