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Oct 9, 2019

Senate’s Heated Debate over Joshua Perdomo $40K Loan Write-Off

Joshua Perdomo

It was a rare occasion in the Senate today.  The upper chamber voted against a motion to write-off forty thousand four hundred and seventy-four dollars and eighty-eight cents owed by Joshua Perdomo, the son of Cabinet Secretary Carlos Perdomo. The motion was brought to the Senate after the House of Representatives approved the motion last Friday when it came back from committee. After a heated debate, seven of the thirteen senators, including Church Senator Ashley Rocke voted against the motion. The U.D.P. Senators were the only members who voted in favour of the write-off granted to Perdomo to obtain a master’s degree in Forensic Genetics at the University of North Texas. While on study leave, Perdomo continued to collect his salary and was to return to Belize and serve the country. Perdomo failed to do so and the government says it cannot locate him.  But the debate got testy between Senator Michel Chebat and the Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte. Church Senator Ashley Rocke, who for the first time has taken a stance contrary to government, says that the Prime Minister should make a personal effort to collect the monies. 

 

Ashley Rocke

Ashley Rocke, Senator for Churches

“There is still the moral responsibility that we all have that we should all have to Belize, which is what we have seen over the years, Belize has suffered over and over brain drain of people thinking that they can just take what they want and then find better employment or greener pastures in another place. I think it is incumbent on Mister Perdomo, wherever he is, to come and make right what he has done and that is to return the forty thousand dollars to the government man. We could use forty thousand dollars; the government needs that. And I believe in all due respect to my Prime Minister, this one he should make sure he collects that money from that man. With that submission, Mister President, the church has said no to that thing.”

 

Michel Chebat

Michel Chebat, P.U.P. Senator

“Senator Rocke quoted a Supreme Court case that has specifically decided on a similar point and the Supreme Court has ruled in a previous similar instance that this is a specialty and the limitation period is twelve years. I noh know what law school the Attorney General gone to…Excuse mi yo honor, excuse me Mister President, I have the floor. He has had his turn to speak. And what he has represented to this Senate is not correct.”

 

Michael Peyrefitte, U.D.P. Senator

“This dah a 2011 contract. That’s a 1976 case; how can it be the same thing. How can it be the same thing? How can a court in 1976 say what this contract means? Come on Micho.”

 

Michel Chebat

“Mister President, please. He has had his turn to speak and he is being disingenuous and he has misrepresented to the Senate. That is what he has done. It doesn’t matter.”

 

Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte

“Make no mistake about it, Mister President, the Opposition clearly making politics off of this write-off motion. Strictly politics. Mister Perdomo’s son should not be treated in any special way simply because he is Mister Perdomo’s son. No special treatment must be given to him, but then you shouldn’t treat him differently that you would treat anybody in this situation either, simply because he is Mister Perdomo’s son. The government, as is standard in these cases, when it believes it cannot get back the money it has put forward, would write it off. And I would like to mention to Pastor Rocke that it doesn’t mean that Mister Joshua Perdomo has gotten away scotch free. You think that Mister Perdomo could ever work for the public service again or get any serious job in the public service again if he fails to make good on this? A writing off doesn’t mean that you cannot use it still as a bargaining chip at some point in the future. We can still get back the money, unless Mister Perdomo has accepted that he will never return to Belize and never work for Belize again.”

 

Michel Chebat

“This matter is not being raised only because it is Joshua Perdomo that is under the scrutiny. The fact is if it were Joshua Smith; no Joshua Smith could get wah forty thousand dollar bond to go study nowhere. You have to either be a minister’s son or a political affiliate to be able to get things like this.”

 

Michael Peyrefitte

“Mr. Joshua Perdomo has a moral responsibility to pay back this money. And I would hope that he would be urged by anybody who can urge him to pay back this money.”


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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