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Jul 19, 2019

COLA Says Suppressing the Media is Unacceptable

Shawn Saldano

Last Friday, the law firm of Barrow and Williams issued a statement which essentially served as a cease and desist letter warning the media against publishing or broadcasting details of a document in which serious allegations were made against Prime Minister Barrow by the Federal Trade Commission.  Belize’s head of government was named by the F.T.C. in the Sanctuary Bay scandal.  The motion taken on behalf of the PM by his law firm is seen as an attempt at restraining the free press in executing its responsibility.  Earlier today, President Shawn Saldano, of COLA, weighed in on the issue.

 

Shawn Saldano, President, COLA

“The government’s tactic and position to stifle the media will not be accepted.  In fact, if you are going to attack anybody [then] attack the source of the document.  You should never jeopardize the work and the freedom of press and so, in fact, that press release, you should look it up on COLA Belize, it says specifically that we stand in solidarity with the press to ensure that the Belizean people get the relevant facts and information as it pertains to our democracy and as it pertains to this horrific scandal of corruption.  I also want to underscore and to raise a level of eye opener to the Belizean people.  The government was a bit too quick to settle the matter and so really and truly we have to be very cautious and we have to be very careful and we have to ask very important questions too.  Where will these monies come from to settle and what are the reasons for the settlement and so forth.  So I think we really and truly have to be mindful of the situation and we can’t allow it to bypass so easily. We’ll come to the realization that the culprit cannot investigate themselves.  We need independent investigation and that is something that we will be discussing within our council of meeting to ensure that government realizes that there needs to be some level of independent investigation.  We cannot allow this to go by just like that.”


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