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Thursday, 01 June 2017 00:00

Alvarine Burgess has attempted to wreck the reputations of 2 other Ministers and a senior police officer in her quest to serve her PUP agenda when on Wednesday May 31 she appeared to testify before the Senate Select Committee.

She is claiming that apart from paying Minister Edmond Castro bribes for 200 visa recommendations, she went before the Inquiry on Immigration to testify that she did visa business with Ministers Erwin Contreras, and Anthony “Boots” Martinez. Additionally, she pointed fingers at Assistant Police Superintendent Rochelle Chan, as the mastermind who recruited her into the shady business of getting big money to help Chinese nationals get Belize visas.

Each of the victims she has publicly mauled have called her a liar, accusing her right back, of telling falsehoods under oath, of all things. Plus, this is an individual who has, on multiple occasions, admitted that she bribed persons to get visas, and on Wednesday, she accepted that she collected thousands of dollars for her role as an immigration agent. So, her credibility is next to zero.

In the hearings, she repeated the same allegations against Edmond Castro, telling the Senate that she paid him $2,000 for each Chinese applicant that he recommended. It’s the same-old same-old that she has consistently repeated as early as October 2013. She first claimed that she paid Castro $2,000 in bribes for each of the 200 visas she helped to get approved over a 6-month period. When she took the stand on Wednesday, May 31, she changed her tune, saying, “over 100 visas”. Chairman Aldo Salazar had to remind her what her testimony was about the numbers. The press asked Castro about the rehashing of the old falsehoods against him, and he said that it doesn’t matter because it is nothing new that she has accused him of, and she couldn’t do any more damage to his reputation than she already did back in 2013, and in 2015 when his slander case against her went before a Supreme Court judge.

She then went on in the Senate Hearings on Immigration to point fingers at Police officer Rochelle Chan as a supposed immigration agent recruiter. She says that he approached her with the offer to get ministers to sign visas recommendations for money, which meant that the Chinese applicants, who were being recommended, would automatically be approved. She claims that Chan acted as her handler, giving her packages with the applications for the Chinese nationals, the bribe money supposedly being paid to Castro, and the money to pay to the Immigration Department for each application. She said that she dropped off the packages to Castro, along with the money, and when the recommendation letters were drafted, she took them to the Immigration Department along with the fees. When the transaction was done, she claimed that Chan paid her $1,500 for each of her trips to Belmopan, to provide this service. She couldn’t offer any details as to where Chan got these applications, or the big money she was describing.

Readers may know Assistant Superintendent Rochelle Chan as the officer in charge of the Hattieville Police Station. He has never been implicated in any type of Immigration scandals, and so this person with no credibility is accusing him. He told the Guardian that this is a complete fabrication, though he does concede that he knows her. He said, “It is a lie; whatever she is saying.” He went further to specify that the only time he gave Burgess any money was when he helped her by giving her $20 while they were at a bar in Belize City as she was soliciting assistance. Chan told the Guardian that he is looking into his legal options.

She also claims that when Castro was out of the country in that 6-month period, she went to Minister Erwin Contreras to get visa recommendations. She was caught in the contradiction directly by Chairman Aldo Salazar who pointed out that earlier in her testimony, she said that she paid him. She was forced to recant that saying that if she said that she paid him for those recommendations, she was mistaken. Minister Contreras has since contacted the press categorically denying that he gave her any recommendations for visas applications from Chinese nationals. He said, “I know Mrs. Burgess through her husband, Orville Burgess, who used to play football along with me with the Verdes FC. I can recall that she in fact came to see me in my office in Belmopan asking for assistance for some visa applications. I immediately told her that I cannot help, and that she should go to the Immigration Dept.”

The last person who she tried to point fingers at was Minister Anthony “Boots” Martinez, who was quick to point out that nowhere in the Auditor General’s reports is his name mentioned even once. She claims that she went to do business with him twice, for 10 applications, and that she paid him $2,000. He has called her a liar, who is making tall tales under oath. She was exposed at the end of the hearing, when she was quick to boast that if she wanted to, she could still be conducting business as a visa agent. She claims that there are persons that she knows of that are currently still conducting this type of business. When she was challenged on that, she had to walk back her story saying that she meant 2016. When the Senators challenged her further to disclose who these people she knew of conducting this type business up to last year, she couldn’t give any specifics.

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 June 2017 15:08