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Feb 6, 2023

Former Minister of National Security John Saldivar says No to Khan

Last Thursday, the nation learned that Belize would become the home of former Guantanamo Bay Detainee Majid Khan. The forty-two-year-old arrived in Belize that day, where he was locked up for two decades. Khan was held for his involvement in terrorist activities, including meeting with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was a co-conspirator of the nine-one-one terrorist attacks at the World Trade Centre in New York. During the years that Khan spent imprisoned, he was subjected to torture and inhumane treatment. According to U.S. officials, Khan has fully cooperated with their government. So when the U.S. turned to Belize requesting that Khan be resettled here after serving his sentence. Belize conducted an extensive vetting process which led to Khan’s arrival last Thursday. It is a move that the Leader of the Opposition, Moses Shyne Barrow, has supported, based on a humanitarian level and because of his own experience of reformation and contrition. But Barrow’s newest standard bearer, former Minister of National Security, is all but in agreement with the decision to have Khan relocate to Belize. Following Saldivar’s victory at the U.D.P. Belmopan Convention on Sunday, he shared his views on the matter.


John Saldivar

John Saldivar, U.D.P. Standard Bearer, Belmopan

“I don’t agree with it and I put out a release that was agreed to by a vast majority of my colleagues. In fact, I can almost say unanimity except for the party leader, almost all of us are against it. I am certainly against it. I don’t know how you would look at it in terms of us being scared or what, but this is unchartered territory.  I am not into much psychology, but I don’t know the psychology of a terrorist and I don’t know if we know about the psychology of a terrorist to be able to declare somebody to be de-radicalised. Who does that? Who knows that? What expertise can declare that a terrorist no longer have the kind of intentions that we know that that is a part of their doctrine? So I am concerned. I am concerned about that. And I am also concerned about the U.S. and them wanting us to take the risk and not them. So I don’t agree with it. Something like this, just like when the infected ship – they wanted it to come to Belize and we stood our ground – our cabinet, our prime minister at the time stood our ground – and said no. Something like this is an indication of weakness, vulnerability somewhere within our leadership system of our country that they were not able to say no to the U.S.  So I have to wonder what’s that vulnerability.”

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