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PUP threatens Barrow with lawsuit

“To write-off $40,474.88 owed by Joshua Perdomo as  a loan to the Government of Belize is legally indefensible and morally bankrupt,” Leader of the Opposition told the Prime Minister

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Oct. 16, 2019– The United Democratic Party government of Prime Minister Dean Barrow could be in for a legal battle over the Joshua Perdomo student loan write-off, according to statements issued today in a letter addressed to PM Barrow from the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) leader, Hon. John Briceño.

The optics of the Perdomo write-off from the perspective of the man in the streets is that government’s generosity is only extended to chosen UDP families. The write-off has reverberated across the country and the political blowback has been immense, especially because the write-off motion was not debated in the House of Representatives and also because of the spectacular failure it suffered when it was voted down in the Senate by a 7 to 6 vote, with only government senators voting in favor.

In his letter, Hon. Briceño told Prime Minister Barrow that his government’s decision “to write-off $40,474.88 owed by Joshua Perdomo as a loan to the Government of Belize is legally indefensible and morally bankrupt.”

Briceño castigated PM Barrow for his public pronouncements that the matter has become “statute-barred.”

“The Hon. Kareem Musa has exposed this as legally wrong. Your statement was plainly false and surprising coming from a Senior Counsel. You misled the Belizean people apparently based on bad legal advice from your Attorney General,” Briceño’s letter said.

Briceño also took Barrow to task for asserting in his motion on October 4 in the House of Representatives that efforts to locate Perdomo proved futile. “This is untrue. You therefore misled the House when you so informed the honorable House,” Briceño said in his letter.

In his letter, Briceño pointed out the whereabouts of Joshua Perdomo, saying that his home address can be obtained from his father, Cabinet Secretary, Carlos Perdomo, and that he resides in Irving, Texas, “where he is a licensed Forensic Biology Screening Analyst, license number 000806.” “Mr. Joshua Perdomo is employed at Southwestern Institute of Forensic Science, which is located at 2355 N. Stemmons Freeway in Dallas, Texas,” Briceño told Barrow.

Briceño told the Prime Minister that government has made no effort to contact Perdomo’s sister, Sylvia Perdomo, who resides in Belize, and “backed Mr. Perdomo’s obligation to the Government of Belize…”

The Leader of the Opposition ended his letter saying, “Prime Minister, this obscene decision rammed through the House of Representatives where the Speaker stifled debate, and defeated in the Senate, cannot and should not stand. Belizeans roundly condemn it as nepotistic and corrupt. It is yet another case of malfeasance by you as Minister of Finance.

“I call on you to immediately reverse this decision. If you fail to publicly announce that you will take steps to do so, the People’s United Party will initiate legal action to have this blatantly ill-conceived write-off declared unlawful and set aside.”

It remains to be seen how Prime Minister Barrow will respond to the Leader of the Opposition’s letter, or if the PUP will have to initiate court action seeking an order of mandamus against the PM Barrow in his capacity as Minister of Finance.

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