After his name was thrown into the Visa Scandal, The Honorable Minister of State in the Ministry of Works and Transport Edmund Castro is making headlines, but the news is not good for the Rural North Area Representative or his Government for that matter. Castro arrived back in country from Miami over the weekend and just like the Prime Minister, he dodged the media making no comment on the latest scandal.
He did issue a statement today though, rejecting and condemning, quote unquote “the viciously false and malicious story concocted about him by Channel 5 and its agent, and aired three consecutive nights last week.”
That story alleges that Castro collected a whopping 400 thousand dollars for 200 Visas he facilitated for Chinese Nationals. And while that story placed Castro on the hot seat, once again putting his integrity in question and bringing much scrutiny against him, Castro’s release states that “the allegation is a lie” and that he, “was never engaged in any visa ring, and never collected a penny from the woman now turned self-proclaimed whistleblower.”
In his statement, Minister Castro pretty much mentions the same thing he told Channel Seven News in an over the phone interview he did while in Miami. He states that he wrote a letter for a woman “recommending consideration of five visa applications that she was going to lodge with the Department of Immigration.”
Because he knew the woman and her husband, Castro states he wrote what he describes as “a generic letter to the Department asking for consideration for the five visa applications.”
Castro says he is upset and angry that the woman in question “to whom he tried to show courtesy and helpfulness as a citizen of Belize, should now turn around and lie so shamelessly on him.” We understand that Castro has retained legal counsel and is launching a lawsuit demanding a retraction, apology and damages from both the woman who made accusations against him and from Channel 5.
It is interesting to note that in November of 2010 Castro was fired from his Government duties due to evidence brought forth against him involving a land scam, where he was found swindling monies from a Belizean-American woman. In March 2012 Castro was reinstated as Minister of State again.
As previously mentioned, the Prime Minister is yet to speak on this latest scandal surrounding his Government. Unconfirmed reports to our news center are that the PM will leave the country next week for back surgery. That is, after he attends a House Sitting on Friday which we are sure will be quite interesting. Information also suggests that the whistleblower has made an official report to the Ombudsman and has also become in contact with representatives of the United States Embassy.
All in all, as the information keeps surfacing, there is surely a black cloud over Castro’s head which seems will not clear up anytime soon.
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