By Michelle Sutherland
The United Democratic Party (UDP)’s leadership will be meeting to discuss ex-minister John Saldivar's future within the party, UDP Chairman Michael Peyrefitte told The Reporter this week.
The scheduled meeting follows Tuesday’s U.S Department of State’s announcement that they have designated Saldivar as a government official that had been engaged in “significant corruption.”
Peyrefitte, via WhatsApp text, told The Reporter, “It’s a designation that has to be taken seriously, but I would want John to respond first. I think it’s only fair to him.” Peyrefitte also confirmed that the UDP will be meeting in the upcoming days to discuss Saldivar's future within the party.
The US Department of State’s release, dated November 15th, 2022, informed, “The United States is designating former Belizean Minister John Birchman Saldivar for his involvement in significant corruption. Specifically, Saldivar accepted bribes for the improper acquisition of Belizean immigration documents and interfered in public processes for his personal benefit during his tenure as a government official.”
The release went on to say that acts such as those displayed by Saldivar undermine the integrity of Belize’s democratic institutions and fuel perceptions of corruption and impunity, diminishing confidence in governance.
As part of this action, and under Section 7031(c), which stipulates that any official or government minister along with their immediate family members are all ineligible for entry into the US if the US Department has credible information of their involvement in corruption or violation of human rights. In conjunction with this, the US Department of State announced that Saldivar's wife and his four children, including a minor, would all be banned from entering the United States.
The press release ended by saying that designations such as these reaffirm the United States' commitment to combat corruption, which hampers countries' economic prosperity and curtails the ability of governments to respond effectively to the needs of its people.
“The United States continues to stand with all Belizeans in support of democracy and the rule of law and will continue to promote accountability for those who abuse public power for personal gain, regardless of their position or political affiliation.”