Minister of State Edmond ‘Clear the Land’ Castro seems to be in the middle of one scandal or the other. Just a couple years ago, Castro was fired by Prime Minister Barrow for his involvement in a land hustle. He did political penance and was welcomed back into the fold – and then was named in a diplomatic incident accused of making unwelcome advances to a Taiwanese chaperone while on an official visit to that country. Shortly after, he was accused of large scale and very lucrative visa facilitation by an individual who allegedly paid him two thousand dollars per visa. And in late 2013, documents surfaced showing that Castro was recommending visas for Chinese nationals on a weekly basis. Now Castro is under fire again, this time for checks paid out by the Belize Airports Authority. Mike Rudon has the story.
Mike Rudon, Reporting
The Belize Airports Authority operates under the Department of Civil Aviation, which is listed under the Ministry of Transport, run by Minister of State with responsibility for transport, Edmond Castro. When we checked the official website, the BAA is said to be responsible for managing aerodromes, or small airports, for public use. So why is the BAA writing checks to Edmond Castro? And why is the BAA writinig checks which a reliable source says are to pay debts incurred by Castro?
Nine checks have surfaced so far. Two are to Bowen and Bowen. The first is for five thousand dollars and the second is for five thousand, three hundred and twenty-one dollars and sixty six cents. According to the source, both checks were used to pay for beverages at political functions hosted by Castro.
Then there are three checks made out to Edmond Castro – one for four thousand dollars, one for nine hundred dollars and the last for five thousand, one hundred and fifty-six dollars and fifty-five cents. The last of those, it is alleged, was given to Castro to defray expenses for the burial of a family member.
And then there is a check made out to David Coye Funeral Parlour in the sum of three thousand, three hundred and thirty-seven dollars and fifty cents, which we are told is related to that very same burial expense. And one made out to Ordonez Bike Shop for one thousand, nine hundred and thirty-seven dollars. Edmond Castro manages a cycling team, and our source claims that was to pay for repairs to bicycles, which he picked up himself from the bike shop.
And then there is a check to the Dental Center for two thousand and forty-dollars. It is alleged this one is to pay for dental work for one of Castro’s special friends. And finally there is a check for three thousand, two hundred and twelve dollars and seventy-nine cents which, we are told, paid for turkeys given away at Christmas.
We actually talked to General Manager of the Belize Airports Authority Kenworth Tillett. He told us that he is not going to say anything about any checks, and we can write what we want. We also spoke to Minister of State Edmond Castro, who told us that he didn’t write the checks, so he can’t tell us anything about them, even the ones written directly to him. He claimed that if we wanted answers, we would have to go to the BAA.
The checks listed, and we are told there are many more, amount to the fleecing of the bank account of the authority. And while Castro refuses to comment, there are plenty who are willing to do so.
Source: News Five.
- In Your Face Hustling – Edmund Castro again (fiwebelize.com)