BELMOPAN, Cayo District, Tues. Oct. 18, 2016–It made headlines on Monday when Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that former Deputy Prime Minister, former Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and now Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Gaspar Vega, had resigned from Cabinet with immediate effect.
It was under Vega’s watch, when he had been the Minister of Natural Resources, that his son, Andre Vega, and UDP crony, attorney Sharon Pitts, walked away with $400,000 each, paid by Government as “compensation” for lands that was already privately owned.
Today, the Prime Minister dropped another bombshell — Defence Minister Hon. John Saldivar has been put on one week’s leave of absence.
His enforced leave comes as a result of his cozy relationship with a man known as William “Danny” Mason, 46, who is now in prison awaiting trial for the murder of a well-liked preacher, Pastor Llwellyn Lucas, more popularly known as “Pastor Lue.” Police say that they found Pastor Lue’s head hidden in Mason’s pickup.
Mason was the main figure held by police in connection with the gruesome beheading of Pastor Lue, 47, which occurred in July.
At a subsequent press conference held by Saldivar, he had claimed that he and Mason were not friends and that Mason had only once made a donation of $50,000 to his Belmopan Bandits Football Club, and that was the extent of their relationship.
However, the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association for the Belmopan Bandits football club were leaked last week and revealed that the two were business partners. Their signatures were both on an agreement that indicated that Saldivar would have 70 percent ownership, while Mason would have 30 percent ownership.
According to the statement from the Prime Minister’s office, Saldivar claims that after September 2015, he made steps to sever ties with Mason.
The purpose of the leave of absence, the statement says, is to allow PM Barrow to seek legal advice as to whether the steps taken by Saldivar were enough to sever the business relationship formed between him and Mason.
However, the statement does not mention the consequences for Saldivar if his business relationship with Mason had not been officially severed. Also, the statement does not indicate why the Prime Minister must wait for an entire week before he receives legal advice on the matter, and why Saldivar has to be put out of office for him (the PM) to receive that advice.