Senate inquiry failing PUP’s intention Print E-mail
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Thursday, 20 July 2017 00:00

Looking at the live broadcast of the Senate hearing this week, it became even clearer that the PUP is not getting the effects that they wanted out of these hearings .They have now really reduced these hearing down to nothing else but a STAGED EVENT. It has been staged in an effort to get sound bites for electioneering advertisement. During Retired Superintendent of Police Julio Valdez’ testimony and in particular his interactions with Senators Lizarraga ,who was the acting Chairman and Courtenay. It was as if his answers came from what is sometimes referred to as a cheat sheet. Valdez appears like he knew what question would come next. He just glanced down at his papers and gave the answers. Valdez did this so fluidly. He did not even have to thumb through his papers. As soon as he had finished with one sheet of paper, he would turn over that sheet of paper and place it in a pile on his left. Valdez must have really read those two senators’ intentions well.

Most of Mr. Valdez’ testimony surrounded those documents that had been turned in by the Former PUP Standard Bearer in the Belize Rural North Constituency, Attorney at Law Arthur Saldivar. He spoke about the manner and chronology in which the documents reached his hands. The date he quoted as the date he received the files was the 16 October 2013. Our records show that those documents were turned over to the police by Saldivar, who was accompanied to the station, by a Commissioner of the Supreme Court, Winston Smiling another PUP insider, on the 16 October 2013. According to Valdez, the documents were turned over by Saldivar to one Mr. Romero a Senior Police Officer at CIB at the time. He in turn turned them over to Valdez the following day. Valdez spoke to the loose way, in which documents of that sort were stored. According to him the documents were kept in an open room where, because of the huge volumes of people who visit the Immigration Department, it would have been easy for someone to have snuck into that room and removed those documents. We are of that same opinion. Someone who was up to create mischief could have done so indeed. That person(s) could have created the ambiguous situation, where it is now being suggested that the files contained in those documents were incomplete by simply removing parts of the individual files before handing them over to the POLICE. Person or persons could have also created or added to those documents also.

One very important thing that we gathered from Mr Valdez’s testimony was that he did not at any point suggest that any MINISTER was involved in the scenario that he presented. He pointed to the vetting and other processes that were conducted by those persons who worked in the Immigration Department. Valdez inferred, that the things he found in those documents brought him to the conclusion that persons in the Immigration for one reason or the other did not do a proper job in the vetting processes. When he was asked about whether Arthur Saldivar had given a statement in regards to the documents he had turned over to the police, Valdez reported that Saldivar had told Mr. Romero that he would only give a statement if Elvin Penner was being investigated. We don’t understand why Attorney Saldivar would say such a thing, being that he is an officer of the court and as such he has a responsibility to report such things, to the police. If he has any knowledge or is in possession of any material, that in his opinion, indicated, that a crime was committed or was about to be committed he should have reported it.

Valdez was questioned about why he stopped his investigation into the Immigration Department. His response was that even though, the perceived wrongdoings at immigration were more egregious than the missing documents, he was hindered from doing so, because the Auditor General was conducting her investigation and all the documents were in the possession of the Audit Department. It seems like some senators were not aware of what happens once the Auditor General, enters the fray. Once the Auditor General starts an investigation all relevant materials are taken over by her and her team. No other person or entity would be able to conduct a parallel investigation once she and her team is in there, because they would  not have access to any documents, that forms a part of the Audit Investigation. The senators made an issue of that and tried to get Valdez to state that he was instructed not to continue his investigation into the department and only concentrate on the missing documents. Valdez told them that no one gave him a direct instruction to stop his investigation, but it was told to him that he should for that moment  concentrate on investigating into the missing documents rather than doing a general investigation into the department. He was not willing to divulge the name of who told him that because of what he termed as the ‘legal repercussions’ that would come from making such a statement. He said that he is now retired and does not want to be called to court to have to go and testify about who said what to whom. According to him he is comfortable with his position as a private citizen and he preferred to keep it that way, rather than having to go testifying in court like he was still on the job.

In the afternoon Commissioner Allen Whylie testified and really we don’t know why he was asked to testify,  because the questions asked of him should have been asked of the head of Special Branch, rather than the Commissioner, since that person would have the knowledge of how things work operationally when it comes to background checks. Mr Whylie should have only been called after the head of Special Branch was called. The Commissioner was asked about the Writ of Mandamus. He clarified the point that he did obey the court and launched an investigation. The results of that investigation were handed over to the DPP. For most of his testimony the questions and answers were about procedures in the vetting process, rather than any substantial matters involving any wrong doing at immigration. The one other important highlight from Whylie’s testimony, was when he became rather animated in declaring that he had proof, that he at no time instructed Mr. Valdez to stop any investigation or any part of any investigation on immigration. He went as far as to say he had a Senior Police Officer who witnessed the conversation between himself and Valdez. That officer he said could be called to testify if the committee wish to verify what he told Valdez. Whylie said that he values his good name and reputation and if Valdez were to try and smear them, he would be prepared to spend every cent he has to SUE Valdez and clear his name and reputation.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 July 2017 12:34