The case of Edmund Castro versus Alvarine Burgess for defamation of the Area Representative’s character was withdrawn last week . Burgess had alleged that Castro had facilitated hundreds of Visas for Asian nationals at a set price per visa. According to Castro’s attorney, the Honorable member of the House decided to spare Burgess any further grief because she was his friend and he also felt that having gone so far in the case had somehow vindicated his name and there was no longer any need to proceed. So he withdrew his defamation claim. That withdrawal came just before the judge’s verdict would have been announced. All those court documents submitted by Burgess’ attorney and all the allegations made are officially in court records. Today, Burgess appeared on Rise and Shine and said that she was not the only one submitting through Castro, but as a part of her case file submission were letters from now UDP Standard bearer Papa Mena requesting the same support for visa approval for Chinese Nationals that Burgess said she was getting from Castro.
“When in court, it is on document again, and I have to keep referring to that transcript, that bundle there, that there are letters..numerous letters of recommendation written by Minister Castro to the Director of Immigration. In that bundle there are also more letters. Not only from Minister Castro but there are letters from Mr. Frank Mena who is going for elections tomorrow. He submitted a letter with 9 names to Castro to submit to immigrations for him, not as a friend, he stated at the bottom as a care taker. That is public record. Mr. Mena stated,’ I serve to recommend these nine names at the bottom for Minister Castro and Godwin Hulse to put in for Immigration to consider for visa to Belize and I submit as a Care Taker.
“That is current and a part of your case?”
One of the letters dated July 29, 2013, appeared to be on letterhead from the desk of Frank “Papa” Mena requesting visas from the immigration director, while the second document is on government letter head dated May 16, 2013, with a request for 9 visas submitted by Elvin Penner on behalf of Miley Garcia, caretaker for Cayo South and Frank Mena, caretaker for Dangriga. Burgess said that those documents were a part of her case file submission. Burgess was also asked how she felt about the withdrawal of the case against her by Edmund Castro.
“Louis, when I went there on Friday, I expected closing submissions by our lawyers. I expected a decision by the judge, only to be disappointed that Minster Castro and his friend Mr. Rodwell Williams, when we gathered in the courts when the judge came out, he said that he wished this case to be discontinued. That was like a major blow to me because getting a decision had to be included in that transcript. It would have been written that first time in the history of Belize, the truth came out to the end about a sitting minister. This was the end. So, Mr. Castro literally took us for a joke. Why I say he took of a joke? All the evidence were presented, he admitted to so many things and in the end he just said well you know what, these are the evidence, I admitted but you know what I am going to pull out, so what? I think that final statement that his very intelligent lawyer, Mr. Williams, told the media that they are discontinuing to farther not hurt our friendship… being a sitting Minister and a layer, that is a very cheap explanation. They could have come with something better than that.”