Serious Allegations against Minister ”Boots”

Some serious allegations have been made against Minister of Human Development Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez. An admittedly disgruntled ex employee of the Minister, Kirk Lamb, spoke to our colleagues in Belize City today. Lamb was dismissed as an employee of the minister several months ago and was taken to court for burglarizing one of the Minister’s buildings.   Today, the disgruntled employee told Krem news that the minister had enlisted him as a contractor but he was only a caretaker of one of the minister’s buildings. He alleges that the Minister used Lamb’s credit union account as a clearing account with funds that were supposed to go to the construction of homes for Southside families. He alleged that the Minister would use his account to transfer monies totaling around 8 to 10 thousand dollars at a time and would withdraw that amount which would then go to an organization called Housing for the Poor.

Kirk Lamb, Caretaker and Contractor:

Boots well ah know what he was doing you know.
Reporter: What was he doing as best as you can explain it as it relates to the contractor part?
Kirk Lamb, Caretaker and Contractor: Well the contractor part, he knows he was using me, and I am not no contractor. He know he was using me, so when I get the money, I would give him all the money. All that I would get is my salary that you would see on that list. When I get all my money I give it to Mr. Boots. Until a period of a couple years passed, and I opened my account, it started to go through my account. SO when I would get my money, he would have his cronies that would pick up other cronies and take them to collect and take it the bank and put it in the housing for the poor you know ma’am. My name is Kirk Lamb, my name was ringing up, and I am not no contractor, and I would not want to go to jail for something that I have not achieved anything off of. That is poor, plain thief. I call that thief. It’s like you’re using me and my account.
Reporter: Money that never stayed with you.

Kirk Lamb, Caretaker and Contractor:

No way ma’am it went to him. To him and his family. It’s them who enjoy that and I feel hurt. I really am hurt that he let me go and tell me that…. The other day before I got a job, I was sleeping in a bus. I was sleeping in certain places that I feel hurt. I was with a politician and now I am hurt. So all the years that Boots used me as a contractor is wrong, I haven’t gotten any houses to build anything, and when I get any money, it goes straight to him.

 Reporter: As a result of you being called a contractor, large sums of money that you, that it was not customary to see in your account started showing up, and that money was immediately withdrawn and sent over to who?
Kirk Lamb, Caretaker and Contractor:
To housing to the poor.
Reporter: What is housing for the poor?
Kirk Lamb, Caretaker and Contractor: Well ma’am, that is a bogus thing that he has. He has a sign on top of h is building right now. I don’t know if the sign is still there at the roundabout, because he had a sign right there that was marked Housing for the Poor. When I was there with Boots, I don’t know what his Housing for the Poor. He said that it was a thing where he would build houses for poor people, and he would put up money to buy material. You understand? That’s why he called it housing for the poor.
Reporter: What did he tell you to explain this whole thing?

Kirk Lamb, Caretaker and Contractor:

When Mr. Boots does those things, he doesn’t ask or tell us anything. It’s until I get phone calls or until they picked me up, that’s how I knew he put something in my account. It was the area rep who called me. He usually calls me, or one of his cronies, I don’t really know his name like that but he called me to tell me that he was coming to pick me up and take me to the bank, or the credit union so that I could take out the money that was in my name for Housing for the Poor. Way back then, like I told you, it didn’t use to go through my account. I would get the money, and we would go to the treasury and pick up a cheque.
Reporter: How much of you?
Kirk Lamb, Caretaker and Contractor: Sometimes there is 4 or us or 5 of us.
Reporter: That are supposed contractors who are truly not contractors?
Kirk Lamb, Caretaker and Contractor: Who are NOT contractors.
Reporter: Did you know them? Were they employees of Boots? What?
Kirk Lamb, Caretaker and Contractor: They were employees ma’am, just like me. They were workers just like me. But are not any contractors. If we were contractors, we would have had tools and truck and we would be building houses, but ma’am, I am not a contractor. I feel well hurt by using my name like that because I can go to jail for those things.

Sure enough, a record of his statement of accounts for the last two years shows large sums being put in and withdrawn –  in some cases – on the same day in a loan account. Our colleagues at Krem spoke to Minister Boots Martinez over the phone and he denied all the allegations maintaining that Lamb was in fact a contractor:

Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez, Minister of Human Development:

Well he was a contractor, and he does work also under Housing for the Poor.  And I am no signatory to Housing for the poor. As you rightfully pointed out, …… that he has a gripe …… He was caretaker for a building that belongs to me, and he was let go because he stole the Burlar bar from the building.
Reporter: Are you able to say why the case was withdrawn?
Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez, Minister of Human Development: ……….. I could not watch a man go da jail fi a burglar bar.
Reporter: Now in relation to the contractor part, he says he is not a contractor.
Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez, Minister of Human Development: Well I don’t know. Youneed to ask him about that. Whenever they have a contract, he has to sign. Whatsoever contract he gets………….. I don’t know about him not being a contractor.
Reporter: So Minister, who has the record of him being paid by government as a contractor to build houses.
Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez, Minister of Human Development: lets put it this way. He would have it. Go check with the Ministry of Works.
Reporter: Not housing?
Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez, Minister of Human Development:
Not housing, check with the Ministry of Works. They deal with contracts for Southside house.

The Minister also says he is unaware of any Credit Union and bank transactions that Lamb is referring to.

Reporter: He’s also said that you have done the same thing with three or so other people. That you used their bank accounts or Credit Union account to…..
Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez, Minister of Human Development:

I nuh………….. enjoy it……. Politically and so………. he sold his land and everything, and that da nuh my business that is his  So nuh put me inna da business ………….. he was a constituent of mine, he is a man that I helped, and that’s about it.

We will have more on this story in tomorrow’s newscast.

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