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Moises Cal has been “a good citizen,” says the PM

HeadlineMoises Cal has been “a good citizen,” says the PM

By Khaila Gentle

BELIZE CITY, Wed. July 27, 2022

The Opposition and several others, including the Public Service Union, have rejected the July 1st appointment of disgraced former diplomat Moises Cal as the Chairman of the Public Services Commission (PSC). Despite this, Prime Minister Hon. John Briceño has fully supported Cal’s appointment, and today he told the media that everyone deserves a second chance, including Cal, who he says has been an active and a “good” citizen, despite his being accused of bribery and money laundering by Panamanian officials.

“It’s none other than the Leader of the Opposition that is always asking for a second chance. We all make mistakes in life, and you can reform your life. Whether Mr. Cal did or did not do it—it was allegations. It has never been proven in court. He was never arrested,” said the Prime Minister.

And while it can be said that Hon. Moses “Shyne” Barrow has spoken of the importance of a “second chance,” it is also true that the current administration has never missed an opportunity to remind the Leader of the Opposition of his past misdeeds that led to his incarceration and deportation from the US. When this was brought up to the Prime Minister, however, he bristled at the topic.

In 2007, Moises Cal allegedly flew to Panama with a briefcase containing one million U.S. dollars in undeclared cash and a diplomatic passport, despite no longer being a diplomat after leaving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be a PUP standard bearer seeking to represent Belmopan. According to Panamanian authorities, Cal, after being detained, reportedly paid over $100,000 to Panamanian officials to bribe his way out of the country before he could be questioned by police. Prior to his detainment, he had reportedly come under scrutiny by Panamanian authorities after reportedly making 14 trips to that country in a 3-month period.

The allegations faced by the PUP stalwart are serious ones, and ones that he has not addressed up to today. But the Prime Minister has maintained that Cal’s good deeds in Belmopan make him fit for the position of PSC Chairman.

“He, I believe, has been an active citizen in Belize, in Belmopan, and has been, I believe, a good citizen. He is always assisting people, and—many people don’t know this, but—helping poor people. For Christmas he helps several families and children with food. So, I believe he has the qualities to be able to be the Chair of the Public Service Commission,” he said.

Prime Minister Briceño did state, however, that the Government plans to take into consideration the mounting concerns that have been raised by those within the public service.

“We will take a look. We’ll listen. We don’t believe that we have all the answers,” added Hon. Briceño.      

This is not the first time that the current administration has come under fire for placing a controversial political figure back into a seat of power. In November, 2020, the Government was harshly criticized for the re-appointment of Amalia Mai as the CEO of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after she was one of the persons seen as responsible for not ensuring that BZ$40 million from a Venezuelan grant was properly accounted for.  

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