Earlier this week, we reported on Edmond Castro’s suit against a Belize Rural North resident who told the nation she worked with Castro to get hundreds of visa recommendations for Chinese nationals. Today Castro’s name was in court again, and this time, he is the target.
Former public servant and journalist Trevor Vernon of Burrell Boom wants him to answer for the more than $30,000 handed out by the former board of the Belize Airports Authority (BAA) for various personal and political fortunes. Vernon spoke to us in Belize City today.
“I strongly believe that what Hon. Castro did should have consequences; there are provisions for it in the law. We can’t sit back and be afraid and allow the rape of our natural resources to be pillaged and somebody has to be held accountable. We have the proof and documentation. Based on Sections of the Constitution 121. 1, A, C and E, Cap. 4 that deals specifically with this issue and somebody has to pay back these monies for sure because these are public funds, not just funds where anybody goes and just feeds. So, hence, the finding today”.
Philip Palacio is Vernon’s attorney, but the man standing beside Vernon today is PUP Belize Rural North aspirant and attorney Arthur Saldivar. No fan of Castro, Saldivar says this is about bringing his political foe to justice.
”Certainly, I have no reason to want to have a situation that is spurious or frivolous. The code is there to give redress and to answer questions of a legal nature that citizens may have. Certainly, we know that a wrong has been done and we accept that we want to assist him to work for us as Belizeans. The only way to work for us is if we give it a chance to work. Where the law prescribes certain standards for people in public office, then those standards must be met and kept. It is not for us as a people to accept the kind of corruption that is taking place. When we talk about being against corruption, the best way to evidence that position is to give the system a chance to give redress to the wrongs that have been committed when we can see clearly where an individual has done wrong. In this particular case, Edmund Castro is in violation and we are asking the court to give declaration that it also sees that an infraction was committed”.
Minister Castro has said in the House of Representatives no one has presented evidence that the BAA did not have lawful authority to write cheques to him or persons associated to him.
“One of those cheques were issued to defray expenses associated with the death of my dear mother. I am deeply saddened and disappointed that the word of this assistance has been made so public and that it has become so controversial. I readily accept and admit that BAA wrote a cheque to help me to defray some of the expenses with the death and burial of my mother. This is no corruption, Mr. Speaker”.
He says the funds formed part of the BAA’s social assistance program which benefited not only his constituents but others countrywide as well