By Marion Ali
Arthur Saldivar, the PUP’s standard bearer in the Belize Rural North constituency is suspended and faces possible expulsion from the party if ongoing ongoing investigations prove that he is culpable of taking monies that belonged to one of his clients.
PUP Leader, Francis Fonseca, told reporters immediately following a meeting with Saldivar at the party’s Independence Hall headquarters on Wednesday that the PUP is not prepared to say if Saldivar is a liability to the party since it is still awaiting the outcome of an investigation that a committee it tasked to carry out the inquiry is still out. Fonseca did say that following the completion of that investigation, which will include statements from all relevant parties.
“The entire National Executive of the Party will make a determination on this matter and will make a final decision”, said Fonseca. “Mr. Saldivar…is being interviewed as a part of the investigation, as well as other witnesses on his behalf are being interviewed so there is due process, but we understand and appreciate that the Belizean people expect that we act deliberately and decisively when matters like this come up.”
The suspension and investigation arises out of an allegation by Melonie Coye, who Saldivar represented during a case with the government over money laundering charges. Coye won her case at the appeal court-level and alleged that on the day when Saldivar accompanied her to count the money that the government returned her money at the Central Bank, Saldivar took just over $900,000 and left with it and has not returned it.
Aside from this, there are other complaints made against Saldivar that are before the General Legal Council, which the PUP is following before making a decision over Saldivar’s involvement with the party.
Saldivar has claimed since the allegation arose that Melonie Coye and her family owe him $1.6 million for having represented them in the case. On Wednesday he spoke briefly to the media, indicating that he will talk “when the time is right.” He did give an exclusive interview to 7 News in which he expressed support for Fonseca as leader and the party.
“I’m always upbeat, I’m fully confident in the leadership of our great party. I believe we have an honourable man who’s worded his bond, I certainly am giving my undivided and undaunted loyalty to my party and it’s leader, Honourable Francis Fonseca”, Saldivar stated.
Meanwhile, Saldivar’s campaign team has reportedly taken the suspension with less show of diplomacy than he as there have been Facebook postings calling out certain PUP heavyweights and indicating that the fight is not yet over. They have also indicated that the PUP’s constitution does not authorize the party’s national executive to suspend a standard bearer.