Yesterday we showed you how Prime Minister Barrow made light of Hon. Edmond Castro’s diplomatic visa revocation and said he believed his Minister that the reason he has not gone into the US Embassy is because he just has no interest to go to the states. PM Barrow also said he did not believe Senate Inquiry witness Alvarine Burgess that Castro accepted payment of $2000 each to sign visa applications for persons he did not know. He insists that it was not due to this allegation or any impropriety on behalf of the Minister that the US Embassy revoked the visas. Here is a recap of what the PM said.
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: I only know what I’ve heard Minister Castro and what I’ve seen in a letter that he shared with me from the US Embassy, meaning that there is no indication of any reason for the revocation of the VISAs except that the Minister declined to come in when invited to do so to discuss the whole issue of renewal of the VISAs since those VISAs were about to expire. As the Minister said, what he said is confirmed by the letter, he refused to go in because he said he is not interested. In other words, had the VISAs not been revoked, had they been allowed to expire in the next couple of months, he would not have sought any renewal. In that context, while speculation will no doubt run riot, there is nothing at all to go on that can sustain any allegation, any contention that the revocation was for impropriety. Certainly the US authorities have never ever approached me with any kind of complaint or expression of concern about the minister.
Today the Belize Progressive Party issued a press release in which it called for a full investigation into Castro’s visas being revoked. It said that though,
“….the Prime Minister has demonstrated virtually no inclination to do the right thing on numerous occasions when Ministers of his government are exposed for wrongdoing…..The determination of the US State Department to undertake such a move is cause for concern, as it is undoubtedly enacted for a particular reason.” .
The release says that given the responsibility vested in elected officials, full disclosure concerning this matter is necessary.