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Jul 16, 2019

Former Investment CEO Told Sanctuary Bay Investors that GOB ‘Stands Committed to Help Develop this Project”

Tonight, we pick up the Sanctuary Bay story and show you images of what has been billed as a multi-million dollar development in southern Belize, which ended up as the biggest scam to be investigated by the Federal Trade Commission. The project goes by many names, has many angles and has exposed serious allegations against many, many persons in government. In the following video, two Belizeans including Mike Singh, who was with the Ministry of Trade and Investment, make the pitch to investors. Singh says it had government support. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo reports.


Hipolito Novelo, reporting

On November twentieth, 2012, this video was posted on YouTube by “Sanctuary Belize”. The video is believed to have been shot in southern Belize, at Sanctuary Bay Belize in the Stann Creek District. In the video, Luke Chadwick appears. He is not only one of the principals who helped carry out what the FTC’s described as the biggest real estate scam in its history, but he is also named as a co-defendant in the FTC’s suit against Atlantic International Bank Limited. In the documents, the now-defunct AIBL is accused of “facilitated the fraud by helping the developer wrongfully seize Sanctuary Belize lots from American victims.” Attorney Senator Aldo Salazar who was named in FTC’s filing confirmed to News Five that he did meet Luke Chadwick on two occasions- in California in 2014 as A.I.B.L.’s attorney and in South Water Caye. Salazar told News Five that he did not meet or know about Andris Pukke; the mastermind behind the multimillion dollars fraud which Chadwick described as an incredible project.


Luke Chadwick, Sanctuary Belize Scammer

Luke Chadwick

“This being an incredible project for everybody involved and I think, what I want to do is to thank each and everyone one of you. I was kind of talking with some folks today and maybe visiting with them again out there and seeing them for a little while. I just remember them nervously signing the contract, think that they are parting with their lives savings and wondering if they were making the right decision.”


They were right to be nervous. They were indeed parting with their lives savings and yes, they didn’t make the right decision.


Luke Chadwick

“But you really have faith in us and you have faith in our team and I just want to say thank you for that, thank each and every one of you for what is happening today. The marina itself what it represents for us is, I think this project really coming to life for the first time. There have been a lot of things that could have happened. There has been a lot of development, a lot of infrastructures. There has been executing of our vision but the reality is that we move today from concept to reality.”


That couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that the Sanctuary Belize project ended as a massive real estate fraud, one which the Financial Intelligent Unit, under the Directorship of Joy Grant, was tipped off about via email sent from former Central Bank Governor Glen Ysaguirre in 2016.  Ysaguirre told Grant who is now the current Central Bank Governor, that there is an ongoing investigation into massive violations of our Foreign Exchange Regulations by the principals and developers of the Sittee River Wildlife Reserve real estate project.”  One of those principals is Belizean John Usher. He too appears in the video as the Chairman of Sanctuary Belize.


John Usher

John Usher, Sanctuary Belize

“I am going to get sentimental here. I am so happy. I look around and see my family. They have been a big support to me. Yesterday we started early in the morning and I stood there and cried.”


But now those who are crying are the hundreds of US citizens who have been jilted of more than one hundred million dollars in a dream that never came true. Usher’s name came up during the Prime Minister’s conference last week Wednesday:


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“As far as I can recollect my only encounter with Mr. Usher was at one of those economic development committee meetings that I held when from the back of the room he challenged about the fact that BEL was taking too long to electrify his project. I think that was the first, must have described it as Sanctuary Bay that was the first and only time I ever heard about Sanctuary Bay.”


And while the Prime Minister says he did not know or received any complaints relating to the fraud itself, the FTC makes serious allegations against him and his government. The fact is that the government knew of the development itself and in 2012 former CEO in the Ministry of Trade and Investment Mike Singh told investors that the Government stands committed to help develop the project.


Mike Singh

Mike Singh, Former CEO, Ministry of Trade & Investment

“We endeavour to make sure that we continue to give you that kind of security, the kind of security of not only for financial well-being to make sure that economy is able to continue to support what you are doing but also the security to make sure that when you are in Belize the difference of your life compared to perhaps where your home is will be even better because your taxes will be lowered or none. Just wanted to assure you and all the new investors within this project that the Government stands committed to help develop this project and others like it. Thank you.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.

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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