FrontPage

Castro disciplined, BAA board fired!

By Benjamin Flowers Staff Reporter
This week Cabinet fired the entire board of directors of the Belize Airport Authority, and stripped Minister of State Edmond Castro of his Civil Aviation portfolio.
Responding to the This week Cabinet fired the entire board of directors of the Belize Airport Authority, and stripped Minister of State Edmond Castro of his Civil Aviation portfolio.
Responding to the highly publicized controversy, which found the BAA board writing cheques to Castro for his personal use and in furtherance of his political career, Cabinet issued a release on Tuesday saying that the entire board of the BAA was required to resign, including BAA Chairman, Barbara Miller.
The release went on to say that the portfolio of Civil Aviation, which includes the BAA, will be removed from the Ministry of Transport and returned to its original place within the Ministry of Tourism.
The release adds: “Cabinet was much assisted in its discussion by an informal report submitted to it by the BAA.
“Cabinet learned that only three cheques were issued in the personal name of Minister Castro. One of those was for per diem in the course of the Minister’s official travel on BAA business, another was for assistance in burying the Minister’s mother, and the third was to pay for assistance with sports in Belize Rural North.”
Cabinet also pointed out that the other cheques, which did not bear Castro’s name, but were to help the Minister in his constituency, “did not amount to even a quarter of the seventy alleged by the Opposition.”
The release went on to state: “After due consideration, including hearing from Minister Castro himself, Cabinet was of the view that while there was nothing illegal in the actions of either the BAA or the Minister, there was poor judgment leading to a perception of abuse of authority on both sides.”
The Solicitor General and the Financial Secretary will also meet with all Statutory Bodies to review operational protocols and advise on proper administration.
In December 2013, the Belize Times published a copy of a cheque valued at over $4,000, used for Castro’s mother’s funeral expenses. Since then the paper has published 9 cheques, three of them made out directly to Castro totalling $10,000, and the others to businesses such as funeral homes, poultry shops, beverage companies, and bike shops totalling $15,000 – allegedly for his work as Belize Rural North Representative.
The release also noted that Prime Minister Dean Barrow, in his capacity as Minister of Finance, has instructed the Financial Secretary to require every area representative, “upon pain of losing the stipend, to account for the $2,300 monthly allocation provided for constituency office rental and secretarial services.”

Comments are closed.