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Jan 23, 2020

Revisiting PM Barrow’s Threat of Termination

Lev Dermen

As we said, the Lev Dermen scandal has been unraveling for days. Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow called a press conference on the recent allegations. At the time he said that he was being hamstrung on immediate action against whomsoever in his cabinet is named until proven to be culpable for having accepted bribes from Lev Dermen.  Barrow told the media that on Tuesday he went around the table in the cabinet room questioning each member individually asking if they had accepted Dermen’s money.  PM Barrow threatened to fire any guilty party for having lied to cabinet if it is found that they accepted monies from the incarcerated businessman.


Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow [File: January 15th, 2020]

“The other question, did anyone in this room receive funds from Mr. Lev by way of an electronic transfer?  And the answer came back, “No.”  If it turns out that indeed there is evidence to show that a member or two members of my Cabinet received funds from Mr. Lev, there will be hell to pay.  I’m not even going to… I want there to be no misunderstanding, I’m not even going to get into the fact that well, even if somebody is shown to have received let’s say the twenty-five thousand dollars a month, but there is no allegation that the monies were given to the minister in return for, that it constituted in that Latin term now made famous by the one and only President Trump, in return for a quid pro quo.  That would not and could not let the minister off the hook.  It might be that the minister could make a hell of a case saying, “Where is the proof that this was other than a campaign contribution from someone that I knew who supported me?”  And that I know the laws in Belize, much to my chagrin, that regulate campaign finance contributions, but I wouldn’t need to get into that sort of an argument with the minister, would I?  Because even if that could be shown to be true, you lied to me and you lied to the Cabinet in saying that you did not receive any money.  QED.  That in itself is a basis for me to say sir, madam; you cannot stay in any cabinet that I lead.”

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