By Alexis R. Milan
Minister of State Edmond Castro, who recently withdrew a defamation claim over allegations of involvement in an immigration scam, will remain in the Cabinet, despite calls from the Opposition for him to be removed. There is no cause for his removal, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said.
“What happened in court is that he withdrew his defamation suit. How on earth would that be a basis for his removal from Cabinet? That’s nonsense! I’m not prepared to dignify that any further…”, Barrow said.
After a document surfaced, in which Castro and newly elected Dangriga area representative, Frank Mena’s name appeared along with Elvin Penner’s, making Visa recommendations for nine Chinese nationals, some had suggested the government would be distancing itself from Castro.
Barrow added that the case was not about Castro being charged and that it was he who brought a defamation suit against people that he said libelled him. Any suggestion that some investigation should take place was puzzling , Barrow said.
Barrow said he wasn’t aware of Castro’s reason for withdrawing the claim, even though some have viewed the withdrawal as Castro conceding that there was not a strong enough case to dismiss allegations made by “whistle-blower”, Alvarine Burgess.
He added, though, that Castro was a huge winner in the convention in Belize Rural North.
According to Barrow, that margin of victory strikes him as an endorsement and a vote of confidence, where his voters are concerned. And that is the basis of his decision regarding Castro.