BELIZE CITY, Mon. Sept. 28, 2020– Serious allegations of ministerial corruption were raised by Leader of the Opposition, Hon. John Briceño, against Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez, Minister of Human Development, Poverty Alleviation and Social Transformation.
The allegations, raised by Briceño during an adjournment at the last sitting of the House of Representatives, are that payments for various rental properties were made from Martinez’s ministry to his family members and himself.
Briceño says $1.5 million dollars in total, over a five-year period, was disbursed to the Martinez family from government coffers.
Briceño said that the transactions were discovered in documents from within the Ministry of Human Development.
“Yesterday I got a bunch of payments that have been issued by the Ministry of Human Development. Payments made to the Minister and to members of his family total 1.5 million dollars.” Briceño had said.
He added,” I see one member of the Minister’s family getting 90 payments for rent of $7,760 [and] $5,335, 90 payments in just a little over a 5-year span. What I find most interesting though, Madam Speaker, is that the Minister also got 86 payments for rent totaling $568,859.85; the other family member got $586,329.55.
“What I find strange in the payments from the Ministry, it is all for rentals. What buildings or what it is, it doesn’t state.”
One of the buildings being called into question is believed to be the government office building near the roundabout on Cemetery Road. Briceño said that in a previous interview, Martinez had confirmed that the building in that location was owned by his daughter.
At the time, Martinez also said that the rental of the property would be temporary.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow, however, pointed out that the documents which were the basis of Briceño’s allegations should have been tabled to the House and brought as a substantive motion before being used against a member of the House.
The Speaker of the House upheld Barrow’s point.
An animated Martinez rose in response to the allegations made by Briceño, and completely denied all the claims made by the Leader of the Opposition.
“Let me set the record straight; I, Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez, rent no building and collect no money from no ministry,” he said.
He added, “There is no record of the Ministry, or Government paying me any money for any rental of premises. So, they better get that out of their head, because when you di talk about corruption, me nor none of my family members gone da prison for drugs,” Martinez commented.
Briceño advised the Prime Minister to look into the financial records at the Ministry of Human Development.