The Minister of Defence and Area Representative for Belmopan, Hon. John Saldivar, who is also the owner of the Bandits Sports team, HAS been criticized for using Belize Coast Guard vessels to transport his players to and from their games in San Pedro. The issue has been viewed as an abuse of power; use of public resources for his private business. However, in a Facebook post, it is clear that Saldivar views the situation differently. The post by Minister Saldivar partially says
“There is absolutely no misuse involved in using public resources to help a basketball team and I am absolutely prepared to go down believing that!!!”
It appears that GOB also does not see any corrupt or inappropriate behavior in Saldivar’s actions as a press release from the Government Press Office ,was issued today stating.
“The Ministry makes clear that the deployment of armed forces assets are the responsibility of the Commanders of the armed forces who are completely aware of the purpose of which they are to be used. In cases where these assets are donated for the primary use of deterring and detecting illegal activities which are in line with the Defence Mandate, the commanders of BCG and Belize Defence Force (BDF) may deploy them for other activities as they see fit, providing that these activities do not contravene any local or international laws or military standing orders.
The release ended by stating that the Ministry of Defence supports local sporting community and in this regard both BDF and BCG have partnered with the sporting community of Belize.” As has been reported, the US Embassy, which has been instrumental in procuring and donating the vessels, told the Reporter newspaper quote, ” The primary purpose of these vessels is to deter and interdict criminal activity, particularly in support of counter-narcotics efforts.”