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Jun 1, 2017

P.M. Puts Confidence in Coast Guard in Wake of Saldivar Scandal

John Saldivar

Is the owner of the Belmopan Bandits, Minister of Defense John Saldivar, justified in using coast guard vessels to ferry members of his basketball club to San Pedro on game day?  He has issued a statement addressing the use of the gifted resources and Rear Admiral John Borland, Commander of the Belize National Coast Guard, says there is nothing wrong in making available those boats for civilian use.  Today, we asked Prime Minister Barrow for a response on the U.S. Embassy’s ongoing investigation on the use of the gifted vessels.  The PM says that the Americans haven’t brought their protest to him personally.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Well they certainly haven’t made any complaint to me personally.”

 

Reporter

“The foreign minister?”

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“They may have spoken to the foreign minister.  But where that issue is concerned, look, let’s leave aside the question of people gifting you material and then telling you how exactly you’re to use the material.  Let’s leave that aside because the Americans apart, the question arises whether even if these were boats bought and paid for entirely by the Government of Belize, it was the right to do, in terms of the minister’s use of the vessels.  I am very much impressed by the fact that the commander of the coastguard, Admiral Borland, who is a fellow, as you know, is fiercely independent, seems to fear no man alive.  I am impressed by the fact that he spoke to the press and made clear that in his view there was nothing wrong with the minister’s use of the vessel for that purpose.  That leads me to the position where I can say with confidence, with conviction, that very clearly the minister genuinely did not think that he was doing anything in the slightest bit improper, and the fact that the admiral, the person immediately in charge of the vessel, felt the same way, I think, has to count for a great deal.”

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