Saturday, July 22, 2017

Barrow’s Cross to Bear

Thursday, June 22, 2017, 15:12
This news item was posted in Editorial category and has 0 Comments so far.
In October, 2016, Dean Oliver Barrow rewarded Edmond Castro, always a Cabinet bridesmaid and never a bride, with the portfolios of Transportation and NEMO. The unexpected anointing of the integrity-challenged UDP representative was the result of tumultuous times in the UDP. Two of Mr. Barrow’s go-to Ministers, Gaspar Vega and John Saldivar, had seen their stars blown out of the sky by explosive charges of corruption, and even with the liberal use of Senators at his disposal, the PM had no more tricks to pull out of the hat.   But Mr. Castro has a problem, and his problem has long created problems for Mr. Barrow who dearly loves to pontificate about his double-sided machete even though he hasn’t laid eyes or hands on that rusty old implement since 2008. The man from Maskall, who is now remembered for all manner of things other than clearing the land, is known as a very shady fellow. And perhaps because of his ‘roots’ personality, he does not bother to hide his shadiness behind any cloak of class. He doesn’t speak fancy or even intelligently, like his boss. He doesn’t pretty up the pig with bright red lipstick before he rolls around with that sucker in the mud.   Barrow’s bad back notwithstanding, he has shouldered Castro’s cross, since 2010 when Castro was caught in a land hustle, milking a Belizean American woman out of money for land which was not his to give. Barrow has carried that cross when Castro used monies from BAA to pay his personal and campaign expenses. Barrow has carried that cross when Castro was accused of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars to facilitate Visas for Chinese nationals. Barrow has shouldered that cross through the humiliation of Castro being told by the Court that his character had not been defamed because he had no character to defame.   Barrow has borne that cross in stoic fashion when Castro was accused of sexual impropriety in Taiwan while on an official trip representing the government of Belize. He has borne that cross when Castro was caught up in a sugar-cane scandal which resulted in the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association being decertified. And he has borne that cross while Castro’s shadiness was revealed in all its putrid glory in the Senate hearings just recently. Barrow has even borne that cross when the US revoked Castro’s Diplomatic and Tourist Visas, a major black eye for the UDP Minister and for the country.   Mr. Barrow, cross on back, has weaved every imaginable fantasy to excuse his Minister’s proclivities. Perhaps the most interesting was the old ‘distasteful but not corrupt’ line used to dodge the BAA check bullet. Then again, it might have been the ‘Ali Baba and the forty thieves’ used to describe Castro’s involvement in Visa facilitation.   Now Castro is a full Minister in an aging Cabinet where a very weary Prime Minister sits as a toothless paper tiger. His family members, as ‘roots’ as he is, as arrogant as he is and apparently as integrity-challenged as he is, have become new crosses for the Prime Minister to shoulder.   Castro’s sons, Jafari and Wasani, are accused of assaulting two Police officers and breaking multiple laws. According to an official Police statement, one of the brothers punched the officer at the Police Station. Both officers recorded their statements, which is proper procedure. Both requested Court action against the Castro brothers. And one officer even recorded in his official log of activities that one of the brothers was read his charges, handcuffed and then detained. Miraculously, both Castro brothers and a man in their company when they were arrested, were able to leave that Police Station without any charges being levied against them. Amazing, isn’t it?   Just hours after, the same two Castro brothers were caught with 89 cases of Corona beer in the back of their pickup, no plates and no license – the same pickup in which they had been arrested in Belize City hours earlier. In regards to that contraband bust, Customs has refused to disclose details of the deal that was struck, but the men allegedly paid some amount of money arrived at in a closed-door meeting and they were then free to get their vehicle and go.   This matter will not go away, even though the cop in charge of the Southside is insistent that it is absolutely normal that these men who allegedly broke multiple traffic laws and assaulted Police officers were able to leave the Police Station without charges. He says it has nothing to do with the fact that they are a Minister’s sons, and claims to be totally unaware that one of the officers logged that one of the men had been charged and then the charge or charges disappeared. We are to believe that there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of that.   It is our belief that Mr. Barrow will have nothing to say about the young criminal Castros, apples who have not fallen far from the tree, by all indications. He will say that the matter has been handled by the Police and by the Customs Department, so he does not need to speak. But Mr. Barrow has miscalculated the weight of the Castro crosses. The people are watching, and the rancid arrogance and criminality of these persons is distasteful, and corrupt. So too is the fact that our systems have failed us completely because they are managed by persons who dance when politicians sing. But like all else, the songs will come to an end…and then what?
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