BELMOPAN, Belize, Friday June 2, 2017 – Mounting calls for Prime Minister Dean Barrow to sack his Transport Minister Edmond Castro, whose US diplomatic and tourism visas were recently cancelled, have fallen on deaf ears.
Barrow is standing by his minister, saying there’s no evidence of any wrongdoing by Castro.
“There is no indication of any reason for the revocation of the visa,” he told reporters.
The Prime Minister explained that the minister declined an invitation from the US Embassy to come in when he was invited to do so to discuss the renewal of the visas.
“He refused to go in because he’s saying that he’s not interested. In other words, had the visas not been revoked, had they been allowed to expire in the next couple of months, he would not have sought any renewal,” Barrow explained.
Earlier this week, Belizean Opposition Leader John Briceno described the development as “shameful and disgraceful” and called on the Prime Minister to “do the right thing (and) fire Minister Castro”.
President of the activist grassroots organization, Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA), Geovannie Brackett, is predicting that Washington will move against more government ministers, telling Barrow that “he cannot remain silent after his minister has lost his visa”.
However, the prime minister said while he is aware that “speculation will no doubt run riot, there is nothing at all to go on that can sustain any allegation, any contention that the revocation was for impropriety”.
“Certainly, the US authorities have never, ever approached me with any kind of complaint or expression of concern about the minister. In these particular circumstances, where all there is is the fact of the minister not being interested in a renewal and not being prepared to go in to discuss the issue of the visas, I am afraid all I can do is to say that it is then a personal matter for the minister,” Barrow stressed.