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Nov 15, 2013

Is the U.S. Government listening in on private phone conversations in Belize?

Margaret Hawthorne

Visa informant Alverine Burgess has provided first-hand testimony of her financial dealings with Minister of State Edmund Castro. She has stated repeatedly that she paid Castro for each visa he would facilitate for Chinese nationals at her request. On Monday, Burgess took her allegations to another level, revealing that she had been interrogated by US investigators at the embassy in Belmopan. She claimed that investigators made her listen to a recording of a meeting in which she, Castro and another person conducted visa transactions. And then, said Burgess, she gave and signed a four-page statement outlining all her transactions with the Minister of State and others involved in the visa hustle. The evidence is compelling, but also fraught with pitfalls. That’s because if Burgess’ story is true, it would mean that the US is involved in clandestine recordings, and of government officials, no less. Today, we had the opportunity to put the question to U.S. Embassy Chargé de Affaires Margaret Hawthorne. Hawthorne confirms that Burgess was at the embassy, but could not disclose what had happened there. Not surprisingly, she emphatically and repeatedly denied any recording. Hawthorne was extremely cagey when asked about Burgess’ statements, and Castro’s involvement, sticking to her story that the U.S. Embassy is not engaged in any recording.


Margaret Hawthorne, Chargé d’Affaires, US Embassy

“What I will say is that we are of course very concerned about any allegations of visa or passport fraud really anywhere in the world because it concerns us when something like this is happening so we are following this matter very closely. What I can say is that the person you mentioned as the informant came into the embassy for a visa interview at her own volition. I am not at liberty to talk about what was discussed during that interview because US law does not allow us to do that. But I can say that her statements have been inaccurate and that I can assure you that the US Embassy has not recorded anyone including any government officials in connection with what is going on here…that is not correct.”



“Can we get a categorical statement from you as well…are there any forms of organizations here by the US Government that are conducting any type of wiretapping or cell phone monitoring in this country at all?”


Margaret Hawthorne

“I think that you know that I can’t comment on any kind of intelligence activity that the United States may or may not engage in so I really can’t address that question.”



“Ma’am you said that some of her statements were inaccurate. Could you tell us in what areas?”


Margaret Hawthorne

“I really can’t address all of the specific comments…what I can say is that the US Embassy has not recorded anybody in connection with this matter and that’s really the most that I can say at this point.”



“So you couldn’t speak on the allegation that the name of a Minister of State has come up?”


Margaret Hawthorne

“No. No. Again, we have not recorded anybody.”

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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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17 Responses for “Is the U.S. Government listening in on private phone conversations in Belize?”

  1. Joe Blank says:

    Yup. Mek sense. And we have never heard of Snowden. Pigs can fly and the Dean Barrow government is a model Parliamentary Democracy that stands ready to replace the U.S. model. In a cynical way, this is a good thing. The constitution of the country can’t keep our leaders in check. God is not ready to come down for them. So, hey, that leaves Uncle Sam. Take a bow Uncle Sam! We tired a the bukut!

  2. Rod says:

    What do you think she is going to say yes then you are really dunce fi true true true

  3. Citizen says:

    With all the problems in the world today, and our little country selling visa to criminals by the bundle, the cannot afford to not listen. Nice try, but we don’t believe you and, it’s ok to listen if we want these ministers to straighten up.



  5. Beano, next step says:

    In the next episode the selling of Belizean passports will be passe. Selling visas something done on the street corner when buying a dokudu.

    Got the money? Become a Belizean cabinet member for a week. Get in on the ground floor of criminal ops being hatched, maybe even a planning session and see the money split.

    Got big money? Become the Belizean Prime Minister for three days. Give Deano a vacation or time for back surgery. Belizean citizenship is naturally thrown into the deal at no additional cost. Pick the District you are born it, and your parents (live or dead or fictitious). We got you covered, we are Belizeans willing to sell mama if the price is right.

  6. Belizean ghetto says:

    Thank GOD, if the US is listening. I hope they take the Next step and arrest all these thieves and criminals of Belize which include both parties. Dean barrow and Musa with his rat looking face. I didn’t have to think too long about giving up Belizean citizenship, it was a no brainer with all the corruption in Belize.

  7. Eye in the Sky says:

    Remember . . . . .

    Even McAfee is listening to everything everyone says.

    Beware Belize !

  8. concerned! says:

    Giving up Belizean Citizenship will not change anything.. .We as belizeans should stand up and say you know what that is enough and we make a change not wait for some other country to do it…
    we must do this!

  9. Al Rich says:

    @Eye in the

    @Eye in the Sky, I believed McAfee when he said he was set up. I believe they tried to shake him down for money and he refused. This man had enough money to buy the country, think about it, somebody wanted some of that money.

    Someone used the problems these two neighbors had to cover the murder in order to frame McAfee. Money is the root of all evil in Belize. It is a total disgrace what my homeland has become. The country is being raped by a bunch of uneducated bastard thieves hiding under the name of politicians and using the government as perfect cover.

    There has to be a high court that functions outside of party lines to be watch dog over these kinds of criminal activity and treason. I am so glad that the US is taking a good long look, you better believe they are all over this thing. The fact that there is silence from the US speaks volumes, they got this.

  10. Belizean Pride says:

    oh come on we know that uncle sam is always listening to everything even the simplest gossip here in Belize. An American official will never say yes even under hard tension, so it’s up to you fellow if you want to believe this Lady, of course uncle sam is there and will deal with it when it really feels it’s hitting their best interest but for now it’s no no when we no it’s yes yes they do.

  11. venus says:

    Yes they are; whenever there is a beep on national calls followed by drop in voice level your phone is being monitored in Belmopan without a judge’s order.

  12. venus says:

    Zoom in on Google earth to certain compound and buildings in Belmopan and you will get your answer. Pay keen attention to dishes, antennas, receivers and sniffers and what direction they are pointed to. Not rocket science,

  13. Dumb Guy says:

    When Castro was asked if he had ever “tapped” anyone in Taiwan, he said “NO”. Now we are asking the US government if they have ever tapped Castro in Belize, and they also answered “NO”. A Tap for a Tap. Or shall we say, a no tap for a no tap. Nope, no tappy here … or there.

  14. Average Bzean Citizen says:

    notice the choice of words “US Embassy has not recorded”, it’s not the US Embassy that did it, it was either the FBI, CIA or other body…..choice of words says it all. Question should have been asked, has the US Government recorded…….

  15. ceo says:

    Yeh right! They have also never recorded anyone that was released on Snowden’s list either. Too bad she cannot really call names. Problem is too many Belizeans do not see the importance in stopping this sort of mess regardless if it is the Party you prefer! Really sad! Until enough of us decide we have had enough and demand more from our elected officials it will only get worse. I wish the US bar everyone with an illegal passport from obtaining a visa and from entering the US and also revoke the visas they have already issued from those in high places.

  16. ceo says:

    We all know that the US is no saint but Ms Hawthorne if you would speak the truth just a small group of Belizeans that are diehard UDP would be upset at you. It is really unfortunate you cannot tell us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

  17. BelizeaninAsia says:

    Hawthorn has no reason to tell us the truth as she is NOT Belizean!

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