(CMR) Former Belizean Minister John Birchman Saldivar and his immediate family have been ‘designated' by the United States due to his involvement in significant corruption. This means Saldivar and his family have been barred from entering the US and are not allowed to do business with the US.
According to a statement from the US Department of State, Saldivar accepted bribes for the improper acquisition of Belizean immigration documents and interfered in public processes for his personal benefit during his tenure as a government official.
Section 7031(c) provides that officials of foreign governments and their immediate family members about whom the Secretary of State has credible information of direct or indirect involvement in significant corruption, or a gross violation of human rights, are ineligible for entry into the United States, the statement added.
The Department further stated that corrupt acts such as these undermine the integrity of Belize’s democratic institutions and fuel perceptions of corruption and impunity, diminishing confidence in governance.
As part of this action, the Department is also designating Saldivar’s immediate family members, Darlene Karen Saldivar, Johnelle Saldivar, Jevoughn Saldivar, and his minor child.
These designations reaffirm the commitment of the United States to combat corruption, which harms the public interest, hampers countries’ economic prosperity, and curtails the ability of governments to respond effectively to the needs of their people, the Department stated.
The United States said it continues to stand with all Belizeans in support of democracy and the rule of law and will continue to promote accountability for those who abuse public power for personal gain, regardless of their position or political affiliation.
Meantime, Saldivar said the actions of the United States Department of State to designate him as a corrupt official due to bribery in immigration matters was baseless and malicious.
“As a minister of government, I have conducted myself with absolute probity and integrity. I am at a loss as to why the State Department would want to target me and my family and without providing absolutely any evidence to explain their conclusion,” he wrote in a post on Facebook.
He added, “No due process has been observed, no contact has been made with me, no evidence has been provided to me, but the mighty United States has chosen to impugn my character and malign my reputation.”