Headline — 01 April 2017 — by Micah Goodin
The horrible, terrible memory of Barton Middleton

BELMOPAN, Cayo District, Wed. Mar. 29, 2017–Today, Barton Middleton appeared in front of the Senate Select Committee after police delivered a summons to his residence in Orange Walk.

Middleton was the alleged visa agent who reportedly collected $3,000 per stolen visa processed in 2012.

However, Middleton adamantly told the committee that he was not involved in any such transaction and denied knowing Patrick Tillett, the Belize City Council Financial Controller who, under oath, claimed to have paid him.


The alleged visa agent reportedly collected
$3,000 per stolen visa processed in 2012

 

Senator Aldo Salazar: “Your name has been mentioned as being the person who was in possession of those eight visas that were stolen from the Western Border Station outside of Benque. Your name was mentioned as being the person who was in possession of those eight stolen visas by Mr. Patrick Tillet. Do you have anything to say about that?”

Middleton: “No.”

Salazar. “Were you ever in possession of visas?”

Middleton: “No.”

Salazar: “Do you know Mr. Patrick Tillet?”

Middleton: “No.”

Salazar: “Mr. Patrick said that he paid you three thousand dollars to take visa applications, eight visa applications, into the Immigration and Nationality department in relation to 8 Chinese nationals and that he paid you three thousand dollars each. Is that correct?”

Middleton: “No.”

Salazar: “Do you know any reason why Mr. Tillet would lie about you?”

Middleton: “No.”

Salazar: “So he made up a fantasy?”

Middleton: “I don’t know.”

Salazar: “It was further stated that you met with Patrick Tillett in Belize City and it was at this time that he had discovered that the visas were not capable of being utilized and that he mentioned this to you in Belize City in a meeting with him. Is that correct?”

Middleton: “No.”

Senior Immigration officer, Mark Tench, had previously told the Senate Select Committee that an investigation into the stolen visas led him to Mr. Middleton. However, when Middleton was asked about their meeting he denied it throughout his testimony and further claimed to have no recollection of it whatsoever.

Senator Salazar was compelled to ask Middleton if he had any medical condition that would have affected his memory. According to Middleton, he did.
Here is the exchange that took place:

Salazar: “Do you suffer from any medical impediment which affects your memory?”

Middleton: “Well, I can’t say so for sure but recently I removed a tumor from the back of my head so, I don’t know.”

Salazar: “You removed a tumor from the back of your head?

Middleton: “Yes.”

Salazar: “Where was this done?”

Middleton: “In Corozal.”

Salazar: “In Corozal hospital?”

Middleton: “Yes.”

Salazar: “Corozal hospital does brain surgery?”

Middleton: “… I don’t know the group of white people that come in every once in a while and they come in to aid with surgeries and stuff like that.”

Salazar: “Was the surgery exo-skeletal, meaning was it outside of your skull or inside the skull?”

Middleton: “I’m not sure.”

Salazar: “You’re not sure?”

Middleton: “I can’t recall.”

Salazar: “You can’t recall whether your skull was opened to remove tumor?”

Middleton: “I was put under anesthesia, Sir.”

According to Middleton, he was on medication. However, it was for high blood pressure. He told the committee that he was never on medication as a result of the surgery.
For the most part of his testimony, Middleton appeared as hostile until he revealed that he was in fear for his life as he stood before the committee.

Senator Mark Lizarraga: “I need to ask you this question and I need for you to think seriously about it before you answer it. Have you been threatened, Mr. Middleton, by anybody?”
Middleton: “No, Sir.”

Lizarraga: “Nobody has threatened you in relation to your coming before this committee and speaking before this committee?”

Middleton: “No,, Sir.”

Lizarraga: “Are you scared for your life, Mr. Middleton?”

Middleton: “Yes, Sir.”

Lizarraga: “Is there something you would like to tell us?”

Middleton: “No, Sir.”

Lizarraga: “Is there something you would like to tell the committee off record?”

Middleton: “No, Sir.”

Lizarraga: “But you are scared for your life?”

Middleton: “Yes, Sir.”

Senator Rocke: “Why would a simple inquiry like this to find out truth on allegations that were made about you make you scared for your life?”

Middleton: “Nothing is as simple as it seems, Sir.”

Salazar: “Issue that causes you to be put in fear for your life has to do with your testimony before this committee or is it some other reason which is unrelated to this committee hearing?”

Middleton: “It’s related to the hearing…it’s difficult to explain. I just have seen strange cars following me before that I’ve never seen since this….”

Salazar: “What we’re trying to ascertain is, it isn’t a result of a direct threat?”

Middleton: “I’m not at liberty to say at this point.”

Lizarraga: “Have you shared any of the concerns that you have for your life to the police or the authorities?”

Middleton: “Not necessarily, because I believe I heard a statement that the police cannot protect you.”

Lizarraga: “Where did you hear that statement?”

Middleton: “I can’t recall.”

The committee had scheduled three witnesses to appear in front of the committee today. However, following Middleton’s testimony, the committee suspended the hearing. The Senate inquiry will resume following the Easter vacation break and Middleton will be required to return for more questioning.

Before the hearing was suspended, Middleton was warned that if he was found guilty of perjury he could face ten years in prison.

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