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Tuesday, January 25, 2022
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From the Publisher

(Pub. NOTE: I found this story in our 1975 archives while doing some research, and I’m sure you will find it interesting. It seems the story was originally published in THE REPORTER, and reproduced in the Friday, May 30, 1975 issue of AMANDALA. By the way, don’t you think the archives of Belize should be returned from Belmopan to Belize City, where the majority of our students would have access? The 1975 story follows.)


Fugitive Rhett Cadenhead, the former County Tax Assessor charged on more than a hundred and twenty counts of embezzlement, was arrested by Louisiana Police as he stepped off a SAHSA Airlines flight on Sunday, April 17 at New Orleans Moissant Airport. He and his wife were trapped into going on to New Orleans by a piece of double-dealing which left double-dealer Cadenhead flabbergasted.

Cadenhead and his wife left their sanctuary in Belize to take a trip to the land of Pepe Figueres in Costa Rica to “check things over” and took the SAHSA flight back to Belize. On landing they found to their dismay that they were not permitted to disembark in Belize. Cadenhead, who holds a Belize residence certificate, found out that some higher political power had moved against him. Being unwilling to jump out of a moving aircraft, he had no choice but to remain in the aircraft until it landed him into the arms of waiting police deputies at New Orleans.

Cadenhead arrived in Belize on or about March 14 and immediately struck up a close relationship with the Hon. Louis Sylvester, Minister of Power and Communications. Within a matter of weeks, Cadenhead obtained residential papers — a procedure which normally takes twelve months, and took on residence at the isolated Sylvester Farm situated in the village of Democracia at Mile 31 on the Western Highway.

Staff writer Tom Butler of the PENSACOLA JOURNAL, who journeyed to Belize last month to track down Cadenhead, wrote a report for his newspaper charging that Cadenhead was being shielded by “local Police authorities.”

Wrote Butler: “Since being granted an official Belizean residency permit on April 8 or 9 …. Cadenhead has been living in the homes of Louis Sylvester, Minister of Power and Communications in the government of Prime Minister George Price.

”Sylvester,” the newspaper story continued, “has a Belize City residence at the corner of Albert and Dean Streets and a farmhouse about 30 miles out of town on the road to the capital of Belmopan. As recently as Tuesday (April 23) Cadenhead was staying at the farmhouse with his wife, Sue, and his stepson, Randy”. Cadenhead is said to have paid out as much as $50,000 in protection money to Sylvester and other officials, the writer stated.
“Referring to ‘the Belize connection,’” writer Tom Butler quoted lawyer Said Musa as saying: ‘If he’s (Cadenhead) got money to pay, he can buy all the influence he needs to protect himself right here.’”

Because of the Cadenhead incident, Belize has been getting a lot of bad publicity as the country where high officials of the government can be bribed.

For Cadenhead to obtain residence papers, his application would have to be processed through the Ministry of Internal Affairs and have the approval of the Minister, Mr. Lindbergh Rogers. But it is generally conceded that it was Mr. Rogers who moved against Cadenhead by month’s end and forced him to overfly his destination and land in New Orleans.

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