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Jun 1, 2017

P.M. Distinguishes Castro Circumstances from Max Samuels

Dean Barrow

In her testimony before the Senate Special Select Committee on Wednesday, whistleblower Alvarene Burgess attested that the U.S. Embassy is in possession of an audio recording in which Castro can be heard transacting immigration business on behalf of government.  Could this be the basis on which his visas were revoked?  According to PM Barrow, there is no truth to that claim simply because he believes that embassy officials would have notified him were they to have such evidence in hand.  In speaking to a parallel being drawn between Castro’s predecessor in Belize Rural North, PM Barrow says that the circumstances surrounding Maxwell Samuel’s visa cancellation are quite different since Castro has been invited on previous occasions to go in and discuss renewal.


Reporter

“If we are to believe Alvarene Burgess, the embassy has a recording with Minister Castro transacting immigration business for a fee, supposedly.”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Well I don’t believe that, quite frankly, because if that were so it is my feeling that the U.S. Embassy would have spoken to me.  Look, certainly a couple of years ago, there was an indication of some disquiet on the part of the U.S. authorities concerning an official in the immigration department.  I say this merely to make the point that it is not as though the U.S. will keep silent about the conduct of Belize government officials regardless of how egregious that conduct might be.  In those circumstances, their never having come to me about any recording or about any other activity, report, suggestion regarding Minister Castro, means that I am left without a choice but to conclude that what happened in terms of the visa revocation took place for circumstances or for reasons that have nothing to do with impropriety.”

 

Reporter

“When Maxwell Samuel’s visa was revoked in the early 2000s, your party at the time made great fun with it in terms of you all interpreted it as a direct indictment of the Musa Administration and of the fraudulent immigration practices which were happening then.  Isn’t that then still an inevitable conclusion?”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I do not know whether in the case of Maxwell Samuels a letter was written to him.  I don’t know what the circumstances were.  In that kind of a context you can see how the speculation then would have been legitimate.  I’m making the point that there will be speculation even now, but there’s much more to go on in terms of the correspondence with Castro, in terms of the invitation that was extended to him twice to come in and discuss the visas and his refusal on the basis that he is not interested.  It is clear that the man seriously, honestly is not interested.  As he said, he gave up his green card; he’s not traveled to the United States in the last three years and has no desire to do so ever again.”

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