When will Area Representative Andre Perez return to Cabinet?

Sunday, January 21st, 2024


Area Representative for Belize Rural South (BRS) (Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker), Honourable Andre Perez, was granted a leave of absence from Cabinet and consequently from his Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation in August 2023 following allegations against him from a woman. An investigation was to occur before his return to Cabinet. Almost five months have passed, and the BRS representative remains out of Cabinet without a ministry. On Wednesday, January 17th, Prime Minister Honourable Dr. John Briceño told the media that no decision has been made regarding Perez’s return to Cabinet and his ministerial duties.

Honourable Andre Perez

The Prime Minister now oversees the Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation in Perez’s absence. Perez was to be investigated, and the office of the Attorney General advised the government regarding the accusations of harassment through sexting; however, no updates are available on this probe. As such, Prime Minister Briceño said his return to Cabinet remains uncertain. “That’s a matter that first we need to be able to decide on whenever I believe the time is appropriate,” he said. “If we decide to do it, then we’ll do it.” He avoided speaking more about the topic and switched to the upcoming municipal elections.
Briceño said that the March 6th municipal elections are crucial to his government. Perez is key in ensuring that the San Pedro Town Council, under his party (People’s United Party), is reelected. “So, our concentration right now is March 6th, but Perez has always been active; he never stopped working after asking for a leave of absence from his ministry,” said Briceño. “He has been very active in his constituency; he’s doing his primary job as an area representative.”

Attorney Wendy Auxillou

The accusations
Caye Caulker’s attorney, Wendy Auxillou, made accusations against Perez for predatory behavior and sexual harassment. Perez’s legal team released a seven-page press release on August 18, 2023, that started with the following quote. “I am most remorseful for the shame and pain I have brought on my wife, my children, and you, the people who voted for me and supported me, and I ask your forgiveness and that all attacks be levied against me, but not my family nor my party.”
The statement spoke about their relationship, in which Perez claims the woman first made sexual advances on him. The release said that the next step in the relationship saw the accuser demanding that Perez use his ministerial power to obtain a liquor license and land documents. The release said the relationship ended when this request was not met. However, they remained friendly. The minister reportedly accuses Auxillou of trying to extort him and claims he has an audio recording of her asking for land.
The Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs were to advise the prime minister on whether there had been any actionable wrongdoing. This has reportedly not happened, and the case continues. In the meantime, Auxillou allegedly left the country fearing reprisals and remains in exile.


 

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