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Jul 10, 2019

Prime Minister Dean Barrow Vehemently Denies Knowing of Sanctuary Belize Land Scam

With a huge scandal starring him in the face, Prime Minister Dean Barrow today called an urgent press conference in which he responded to the claims and allegations made in a U.S. court document against him, his fellow U.D.P. parliamentarians and the Central Bank of Belize. The allegations are related to the Sanctuary Belize scam, described by the Federal Trade Commission as the largest real estate scam in its history. Lead scammer Andris Pukke and associates, such as Luke Chadwick, convinced U.S. citizens to pay tens of thousands of dollars for prime land in southern Belize, known as Sanctuary Bay or the Reserve. Turns out, everything was a scam and Pukke and his associates made off with tens of millions of dollars. The F.T.C. began legal actions on Atlantic International Bank Limited, which has been shuttered down by the Central Bank. As part of its civil claim, on June tenth, the F.T.C. filed documents in which serious allegations are made against government officials, including the Prime Minister. On page thirteen of the claim, the F.T.C. claims that the government supported the fraud. In fact, the claim goes as far as to say that Prime Minister Dean Barrow met with Sanctuary Bay Enterprise representatives in August 2014 after the development’s problems were widely known. It says that A.I.B.L.’s C.E.O., Ricardo Pelayo, provided Sanctuary Bay Enterprise a quote it could use in a white paper presented to Barrow about the development’s significance to Belize. Today, the Prime Minister denied all allegations made against him in the claim.


Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“In a way I was kind of befuddled because I don’t whether to call it artful or just a hatched job because what was said by implication and innuendo is totally prejudicial in substance dealing first with myself. Nothing factual was alleged that could cause me the slightest trouble. Most of what they had to say that I found in any event disturbing appears under the caption the Belizean government supported the fraud. Again, in terms of describing the Sanctuary Bay development as a fraud I have no quarrel with that. I repeat, as for me, nobody ever come to me and said a word of complaint about the fact that these U.S. investors thought ultimately that they were being jilt by the promoters of this scheme. I have never in my life met with this Mr. Pukke. I met with nobody concerning Sanctuary Bay. I’ve gone back because they say it is August 2014, we don’t keep records of every single person that comes to see me but I guard my time in terms of people who ask for meetings jealously precisely because scammers are always about the place and one needs to be careful as to whom one would meet with. But I had absolutely no meeting of any kind of this Mr. Pukke. They are relying for this statement on one of the very persons they are charging as defendants, somebody called Chadwick who is listed as one of the defendants had absolutely no meeting with Pukke or with any other principal from Sanctuary Bay, had no discussion of any sort with anyone about Sanctuary Bay. I have never in my life been to Sanctuary Bay. There was no such white paper presented to me. There could not have been because there was nobody with whom I met that could have presented such a paper. If there had been such a presentation that surely would be on file.”

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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