Late Wednesday evening, a meeting of the National Executive of the People’s United Party (PUP) concluded, and leader Francis Fonseca addressed the press downstairs of Independence Hall.
One of the topics on the agenda were the swirling allegations of impropriety against Orange Walk East Area Representative Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez, which have reportedly now expanded to include reported criminal reports of indecent sexual assault on minors.
Police have made no formal statements and the matter is “evolving and fluid” in the phrase of Fonseca, who reiterated that so far nothing formal has come to his attention personally or that of the party, and they treat what has been said as rumours and speculation, but very serious nonetheless.
Francis Fonseca stated that the PUP has “zero tolerance” for such activity within the party. But officially, after discussion of several options, the party authorized Mr Fonseca to take such actions as may be deemed necessary and appropriate as information comes in.
Francis Fonseca summarized, “There are allegations. We take those allegations very seriously, but we do not have any substance to support those allegations that is presently before the Party. As the matter evolves and develops, then we will certainly review whatever information becomes available and make our decisions and determinations on the basis of such information.” He added that the party expressed concern for Dr. Mendez and his family’s welfare.
When asked to compare its treatment of Doctor Marco Mendez with that of Arthur Saldivar, with whom the party broke ranks last September after a civil suit was filed against him alleging theft of his client’s monies, Mr Fonseca said the party was involved in trying to determine what is true, whereas there were solid reports and evidence against Mr Saldivar that the party gathered, as part of its internal investigation, that led to his suspension and then removal from the National Executive and as standard bearer of Belize Rural North.
The party was in communication with Dr. Mendez on Wednesday, and according to Francis Fonseca he remains steadfast in his innocence and intends to defend his name and reputation and family vigorously, and has no intention at this time of resigning his seat in the House of Representatives.
Francis Fonseca would not be drawn into speculation about Dr. Mendez’s future, saying forcefully that he would act based on the facts, and would not bow to a “political agenda” against Dr. Mendez. We asked about concerns of morality of members in the House of Representatives and Mr Fonseca says it is important to be concerned about such issues, but brought back the matter to the question of determining what was true about the allegations. He said he did not expect the situation to evolve like that of Cayo Northeast Area Representative Elvin Penner, who openly defied his party’s strictures to resign in the wake of the Won Hong Kim scandal.
One way or another, the matter would be clearly and decisively settled, Mr Fonseca said.