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Feb 24, 2014

Trial of whistleblower in alleged visa hustle begins

Minister of State Edmond Castro was recently under much scrutiny for his part in a Belize Airports Authority check fiasco which resulted in the entire BAA Board being forced to resign. And before that, the controversial politician was in hot water after a whistle-blower accused him of taking money to facilitate Belizean visas for two hundred Chinese nationals over a six month period. Alvarene Burgess has publicly claimed that she delivered money to Minister of State Castro for his role in visa facilitation. She will have her chance to say so again in Court, since Castro filed suit against Burgess and against this station. This morning attorneys for Burgess, Great Belize Productions and Castro appeared before Supreme Court Justice Courtney Abel for case management. Burgess was also present, but Minister of State Edmond Castro was not. It’s only a very preliminary stage of trial, so the attorneys could not provide much information at this point. Godfrey Smith appeared for Great Belize Productions, Kareem Musa for Burgess and Rodwell Williams for Edmond Castro. 

 

Rodwell Williams

Rodwell Williams, Attorney for Edmond Castro

“The judge issued case management directions which are formalities that we should comply with…that’s about it.”

 

Godfrey Smith, Attorney for Great Belize Productions

Godfrey Smith

“This case is at the very preliminary stage…just the case management occurred this morning before the judge, meaning to say that preliminary matters are dealt with. In our case, we have indicated to the judge and the judge has made a case management order that we shall be applying to strike out the case of Minister Castro against Great Belize Productions on a very discrete ground…that is that the Prevention of Corruption Act provides us with immunity from civil liability, from suit, once we filed a complaint to the Integrity Commission. So orders were given as to the filing of that application, exchange of arguments etc, and we are to return to court I think it’s around the sixteenth of June. The Prevention of Corruption Act and the amendments that came are part of a region-wide initiative by the Organization of American States to encourage whistle-blowers to not be afraid of victimization or being sued so that prevention can be tackled honestly and in a serious way. So that was one of the requirements of the initiative by the OAS to ensure that state parties to that treaty amend their legislation…it was so amended, and we are taking advantage of that protection provided. So it basically says once you’ve made a reasonable, complaint, it’s not frivolous or vexatious, you file a complaint to the Integrity Commissioner…then you’re afforded immunity from suit, so we intend to test that and seek the protection of those provisions.”

 

Section thirty-four of the Prevention of Corruption Act, the one being referred to by attorney Godfrey Smith, has never been used before in this jurisdiction.

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4 Responses for “Trial of whistleblower in alleged visa hustle begins”

  1. Ali BaBarrow, king of Bootyman says:

    Don’t forget Edmond Castro, The Belizean Diplomat on that CH5 resume.
    Showing his love for Taiwanese diplomatic staff during his Citizen Kim junket to Taiwan, that got him on the radar of his host country and a few other countries.

    Now it is going to be Edmond Castro, on the witness stand. Won’t hold my breath.
    Odds are he will choke and not show up. Bootyman is bluffing and has too much to loose.
    Godfrey Smith will neuter Bootyman on cross examination; then it will be Booty-steer, possibly being sent off to Hattieville. Well maybe not Hattieville, he is an untouchable like Honorable Penhead along with the rest of Ali’s honorable 40 thieves. He can say or lie about anything and get away with it, as long as he does not rat out ALI.

    Bookies in vegas say 1% chance he will testify, 99% chance his lawsuit goes poof in a cloud before the door hits him in the ass.

  2. orangewalk south says:

    Mein dis castro know he is guilty,well actually in the Belizean public court he is guilty….so he did not show up i think its his concience that does not let him sleep,he di tief from our poor people,oh i heard he said he was poor? plssss da fool di talk but da no fool di listen,we tired off theze corrupt politicans and Belizeans should not continue to tolerate dem anymore longer..PUP OR UDP,because at the end ALL of us suffers the consecuences of their dirty bu## &***.

  3. Rod says:

    When will Rodwell Williams pay back the million dollars he stole from the poor people of this country for his medical bills , I bet never since judas barrow gave him the money .

  4. CEO says:

    Castro is a dam fool! Now why on God’s green earth will he bring this type of scrutiny to himself after he has had so many legal problems. He should lie low and wait for the clouds to blow over.

    She is a brave Belizean and I hope she tell it all to the court and the public.

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