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Disgraced PUP diplomat appointed head of PSC

HeadlineDisgraced PUP diplomat appointed head of PSC

“The place for the disgraced former diplomat Moises Cal is not the chair of the Public Service Commission but perhaps a chair in jail,” a UDP press release issued today states. 

BELIZE CITY, Mon. July 25, 2022

On July 1, with no fanfare at all, Moises Cal was appointed to be the Chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC) with the blessing of Prime Minister Hon. John Briceño. Cal, a former career diplomat and one-time Belmopan standard bearer for the People’s United Party (PUP) was caught in 2007 with approximately a million U.S. dollars in undeclared cash in his checked baggage at an airport in Panama—suggesting involvement in money laundering or some drug-related transaction—and that incident brought an end to his time in public office. Or at least it had appeared that way, until last week, when it was revealed that Cal, who had remained active in PUP affairs, had been appointed to be the head of the PSC.

A UDP press release issued Sunday, July 24, referred to Cal as a fugitive who is perhaps still wanted in Panama for attempting to transport across borders a very large sum of undeclared cash, which was said to have traces of cocaine on its surface. The funds were suspected of being the proceeds of a drug transaction, and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Panamanian officials had reportedly been on Cal’s trail for some time—with Cal first coming under the radar of officials after he reportedly made up to 14 trips to Panama in a 3-month period.

As a result, when he arrived at Panama’s Tocumen Airport in 2007, and the undeclared stash of cash was found in his personal luggage, he was seized by law enforcement, notwithstanding his possession of a diplomatic passport which he was using to travel even though he had left his post at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was a political candidate at the time. Panamanian authorities have also claimed that Cal bribed customs officers in Panama with $100,000 USD when he was taken into custody. Cal reportedly fled from the country—leaving the cash behind.

Cal, who reportedly constructed a mega 3-story complex in Belmopan during his time as ambassador, had been victorious over then-senator Anthony Chanona in his bid to be the PUP standard bearer for Belmopan. Cal, a PUP stalwart, is the brother of former PUP standard bearer Ismael Cal. Both brothers are originally from Yo Creek, Orange Walk.

Before his fall from grace, Moises Cal served as an ambassador for the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and was Belize’s representative in the Central American Integration System (SICA) during the Musa administration. He also served as an ambassador to Nicaragua and Costa Rica for Belize before resigning from his ambassadorial roles to vie for a seat as area representative of the Belmopan division. He would soon be forced to resign from being standard bearer as well.

“It is baffling how Prime Minister Briceño could deem Cal a person of ethical and moral character worthy of leading the public service board when he has such an ignominiouspublic record,” the release from the UDP stated.

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