BELIZE CITY, Fri. Oct. 18, 2019– Late yesterday evening, Thursday, the Government Press Office released a response from Prime Minister Dean Barrow to a letter that Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) leader, Hon. John Briceño, had written to him in his official capacity as PUP leader.
Briceno told PM Barrow that the Joshua Perdomo loan write-off was legally indefensible and morally bankrupt and that if he does not reverse his decision, the PUP would begin legal proceedings to have the court set aside the write-off.
Joshua Perdomo, the son of Cabinet Secretary Carlos Perdomo, signed a bond with the Government of Belize that he had failed to honor when he went on study leave from his post at the Ministry of National Security to pursue a Master’s degree in Forensic Genetics.
The government apparently had not made a sufficiently visible effort to collect the over $40,000 debt, which had become the responsibility of Cabinet Secretary Perdomo’s daughter, who had signed the bond on behalf of her brother.
In his response to Hon. Briceno, PM Barrow characterized Briceno’s letter as a “weaponization of falsehoods, unsustainable conclusions and downright dishonest.”
To the Prime Minister of Belize, the Leader of the Opposition’s letter was “ a crass and opportunistic screed designed to score points off the public outrage that followed the discovery that Joshua Perdomo is the son of the Cabinet Secretary.”
Attorney Eamon Courtenay, S.C., the PUP’s Legal Advisor, speaking to Amandala and Channel 5 outside the Supreme Court on Friday, October 18, responded to Prime Minister Barrow’s letter as follows: “To be quite honest, I was surprised, but I guess I should not be surprised. The letter was unbecoming for a Prime Minister. The letter was personal, low, unnecessarily, caustic but I guess we should expect that from him when he’s confronted with truths and when someone speaks truth to his power.
“The fact is that he, as the Minister of Finance, has an obligation to collect that money and as the Leader of the Opposition says, he is in breach of his duty and responsibility to all Belizeans. From a purely moral perspective, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of Belizean students and others who are paying back loans and honoring their obligations to the Government of Belize.
“Joshua Perdomo, only because of his name, his family connections and his political protection provided by the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, is being given special treatment. The Party Leader had said very clearly, and he has instructed it, that we are going to commence legal action to have this all set aside.
“The fact of the matter is that a write-off by the National Assembly, where no one has attempted to collect it from Mr. Perdomo, is wrong. The Prime Minister, in his letter, doesn’t say anything about attempting to collect it.
“What efforts were made? They want us to believe that they have made efforts; they have made none. It is protection that they are giving to Mr. Perdomo. What about the surety who is right here [and hasn’t paid]? What about the decency of the Perdomo family, his father who is enjoying a very high-paying job in Belize and doesn’t care that his son is being exempted from paying back forty thousand dollars, which he solemnly swore to do?
“This type of rot and corruption must come to an end and the People’s United Party is going to bring a claim to have this declared unlawful and to compel Mr. Perdomo to honor his obligation, and if he doesn’t do it, then his surety will have to do it, like everybody else who is dragged before the courts when they fail to uphold their obligation.”
“There should be no exemptions for politically connected persons like Joshua Perdomo,” Courtenay said.